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Dr. Ethan Watson

Dr. Ethan Watson, Assistant Professor

"I want [students] to leave with a thorough understanding of financial statements, where they can navigate regulatory filings and feel confident in a workplace that demands knowledge of the statements."


Degrees Held

  • Ph.D. in Finance – University of Mississippi, 2013
  • MSHA – University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2005
  • MBA – University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2004
  • B.S. in Chemistry – Mississippi State University, 2001

Career Highlights

I have been teaching at the college level since 2010 (starting during my Ph.D. program), and have enjoyed every minute of it (with perhaps the exception of grading). I am very passionate about teaching and have been named an Impact Professor by students at UNCW every semester since my first year here. In addition to teaching, professors are required to contribute to the knowledge of the field by conducting and publishing research. This aspect of the job gives me the opportunity to engage the creative side of my brain. I have been fortunate to have my research recognized in the profession by winning an Outstanding Paper Award in the Journal of Financial Research.

In which online programs do you teach?

MBA – General MBA with a specialization in International Business M.S. in Finance & Investment Management

Which class do you teach online?

FIN538: Financial Reporting and Analysis; MBA538: Financial Statement Analysis

What types of projects can online students expect in your course?

In my Statement Analysis course, I have the students do a group project where they analyze a couple of companies and get a chance to apply what they are learning in class. Hopefully, aspects of the project would be similar to what you might perform in a workplace where you have to do credit-risk analysis and profitability analysis such as identifying acquisition targets or in a lending situation.

What do you want students to learn in these courses? What is the expected learning outcome?

I want them to leave with a thorough understanding of financial statements, where they can navigate regulatory filings and feel confident in a workplace that demands knowledge of the statements.

Why did you start teaching?

Teaching runs in my blood, I guess you could say. I am third generation academic since both my father and grandfather were professors (they were in agriculture/statistics). I am not sure what that means other than we haven't done anything practical in my family for THREE generations. I say that jokingly, because I realize that providing an education (really a market for knowledge transfer if I am thinking about it as a Finance professor) is immensely practical and something that I, like my father and grandfather before me, am passionate about. I hope to pass on a skill set that is marketable and will benefit the student in their career.

What advice would you give to those considering this online program?

Online programs have pros and cons. As I see it, a downside is that you don't have to show up for class and have a time scheduled where you engage with the material. Thus, you will need some discipline to put in the required time. There really isn't a substitute for hard work, as you will find in coursework or in your careers, so put in the time.

As for the pros of online courses, I think the ability to rewind a lecture video is invaluable. There were several times as a student that I wish I could have said, "Wait, what did you just say?" With the ability to rewind, the need for that question is greatly reduced.

What is the one book you think everyone should read?

Hmmm....tough one since there are so many good ones, but for fun Finance-related reads...anything by Michael Lewis.

Tell us something interesting about yourself that your students might not know.

I enjoy spending time with my family. I have two kids who keep me busy when not at work. We probably eat out way too much, but enjoy trying new restaurants and being at various events around town. In my free time, which isn't much, I play the guitar.

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