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Fisher Spotlight
--1999 Annual Report--
-Fisher College of Business-
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Image-"Knowledge is Power"Image-"Knowledge is Power"
Image-"Knowledge is Power"Image-"Knowledge is Power"
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Peter Easton talks with MBA student Larry Feder in a Gerlach Hall classroom.
image                  Easton talks with MBA student Larry Feder in a Gerlach Hall                   classroom.</
 

 

 

 

 

 

Research Based Teaching
Peter D. Easton

Peter D. Easton

John J. Gerlach Chair in Accounting; Professor of Accounting & MIS


The numbers alone tell only half the story.

The other half—interpreting and teaching the hidden meaning behind the numbers—is what makes the Fisher College’s Peter Easton a man in demand, both in the business community and in the classroom.

Easton, John J. Gerlach Chair in Accounting and professor of accounting and management information systems (AMIS), investigates new ways of analyzing information which reveal the hidden truths trapped inside the world of financial statements, balance sheets and earnings reports.

Easton’s innovative research into performance evaluation and economic value-added models have, in fact, been adapted in one form or another by consulting firms to every Big 5 accounting firm in the nation.

"And they’re making a lot more money doing it than I am," says Easton.

It’s that cutting-edge research that is translated directly into his Financial Information and Valuation course (AMIS 828), one of the more popular MBA electives at the Fisher College.

Another set of numbers—class enrollment—displays the course’s popularity among Fisher MBAs.

Class size has increased considerably in the three years since Easton developed the course outline. "We started with 28 students our first year. Then it was 45. Last year we had 77."

Easton, 1999 recipient of the Fisher College’s Pace Setters Graduate Teaching Award and MBA Finance Association Outstanding Teaching Award, attributes the success of the course to one factor: content.

"To the students, it’s all about relevancy. If what you are teaching is perceived as beneficial, then it’s a pretty easy sell."

After a year of core coursework, Fisher MBA students have the opportunity to branch off into specific areas of interest, choosing from more than 50 elective courses.

According to Brenda Runyon (MBA ’99), a student in Easton’s spring quarter 1999 AMIS 828 class, the relevant information—immediately useful in the job market—is the course’s main selling point. "I was able to directly apply what I learned from Dr. Easton during interviews for my full-time post-MBA job with corporations such as Eli Lilly, Arthur Andersen and Ford. The class afforded me the ability to converse with senior executives on the very important issue of financial valuation; and to actually do it from a perspective that few of them had previously been aware of." Runyon was hired soon after receiving her MBA by Eli Lilly in Indianapolis.

As Easton says, "Students come into my class with a fairly good understanding of the basics of accounting. They have a good understanding of the principles of finance, as well. What this course does is marry the two in an up-to-date way." For the future investment managers and financial analysts of the world, it’s a tangible first exposure to the power that this knowledge can hold.

"To the student, it combines the allure of Wall Street with the realization that 'this is information that I can really use’," says Easton.

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