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Kevin Brady Visiting Professor, Finance

Kevin Brady

Bobcat Quick Hit:

Favorite Author: Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner for the "Freakonomics" series

Favorite Movie: "Wall Street"

Favorite Quote: "The first rule in making money is not to lose it."

If you could have a dinner party with two people, living or dead, who would it be? And why? "Warren Buffett and Carl Icahn, because they are two successful investors who have very different strategies and personalities."

After more than a decade working on Wall Street, Kevin Brady headed south and enrolled in graduate school at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). The Brooklyn, New York, native earned an MS in economics, but he also set out on a whole new career path.

"I became interested in teaching because I was offered an assistantship when I went back to get my master's degree," Brady said. "Part of that was holding mock lectures for a Quantitative Methods of Business course. I fell in love with teaching."

Brady graduated from State University of New York at Oswego with a BA in economics in 1996. He started his career as a financial analyst for a private bank, Brown Brothers Harriman, before moving into trading.

"When I was trading on Wall Street, at one point, I was starting to make money and living in my parents' basement," he said. "A group of traders was opening a branch office of the firm I was at in Boca Raton, Florida. It was a perfect time to leave. Also, I saved on the state and city tax in New York: There's no state tax in Florida."

Now, Brady is a bona fide Floridian.

He is in his first year as a St. Thomas University faculty member teaching International Finance and Banking, Personal Financial Planning, and Financial Management. He will also teach Investments. Brady also taught six different courses at FAU, where he is months away from graduating with a PhD in finance.

"I was adjunct at first, and then they hired me full time in the economics department after one year," Brady said. "I decided I wanted my PhD [because] once I went back to school and had that assistantship, I realized teaching was what I wanted to do in my next chapter."

Q: What will students learn in each course that you teach?

A: The Financial Management course covers estimating the weighted average cost of capital for a real firm. It looks at how a firm thinks about risk and return. The purpose of a firm is to purchase assets and generate sales. You need to finance those assets. In that course, you will think about how investors and creditors determine how much they are going to charge or what they require as a return for a firm to raise that money. Then, we look at all kinds of capital budgeting. How do we analyze which projects companies invest in? We'll do things of that nature.

In Investments, we'll talk about all different types of investments—stocks, bonds, mutual funds, options, securities … [and] optimizing a portfolio. Once we have a selection of securities we want to include in our portfolio, how do we allocate the money among those securities? If you have 10 securities and split it 10% each, that's not the best way to do it. A lot of what we do is projects.

Q: Have you taught online before now?

A: Not a fully online course, but I taught a Money & Banking course at FAU where it was recorded and beamed live to other campuses. The Finance for Non-Financial Managers course I am teaching now is kind of a mix. I'm live for two hours, but then I'm monitoring discussion boards [and] online assignments ...

Q: What advice do you have for the online learner?

A: You have to be disciplined to be able to log in when you need to and absorb the material. It's at your pace and your time, but you need to have the discipline to do it.

Q: How do you make sure you stay connected to your distance learners?

A: Every review I get is that I respond to emails almost instantaneously. The thought there is that if the student is actually sitting there doing work and comes up with a question ... those kinds of policies where "I'll get back to you in 24-to-48 hours" just kill the learning experience. Having everything where I can get to a phone and answer right away has really served me well.

Q: Do you think your online learners differ from your face-to-face learners? If so, how?

A: I think they just may have other responsibilities. They are interested in furthering their education but have different things they are doing, so they want online. I don't think the quality of the student is any different.

Q: When the adult learner brings professional experience to the classroom, how do you think that impacts or changes your teaching?

A: In a discussion forum, being able to speak about your own experience with topics that are being covered is valuable to everybody in that learning space.

Q: What are some of your career highlights?

A: Getting a job teaching, which is what I love to do. I've also published academic papers.

Q: What made you successful in college?

A: The main thing was reading the material before the lecture. Whatever we were covering in the syllabus, I tried to at least read it quickly beforehand, so I knew some of what was going to be talked about. And the things I didn't know, I would be able to ask questions intelligently right away. Also, I just did the work. That was the key.

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