BBA Faculty Honor Roll Member: Adrian Ward, PhD
Keywords: Insights, Behavior, Music
Congratulations, Professor Ward, on your selection to the Spring 2016 BBA Honor Roll by the Undergraduate Business Council (UBC)!
What do you teach?
Consumer behavior in a digital world
I use methods from cognitive and social psychology, as well as insights gleaned from behavioral economics, machine learning, empirical modeling, and whatever else I can get my hands on to investigate consumer behavior and decision-making. My work is primarily focused on: (1) consumer financial decision-making, (2) how “new” technology affects the outputs of “old” cognitive systems, and (3) flexible morality and mind-perception. In each of these areas, my goal is to understand human behavior “in the wild.” I want to understand why people do the things they do, as they actually do them–and, perhaps, to help them do these things just a little bit better.
“A glass can only spill what it contains.” We can only give what we have, so while it’s certainly important to treat others well, it’s also important to take care of ourselves. A similar quote is “out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
Favorite part of teaching BBA students:
One of the greatest joys of teaching is seeing ideas “click” with students, knowing that they will leave the classroom with new knowledge and, often, a new perspective. Over the course of my (still short) academic career, I’ve had the opportunity to teach a variety of student populations (undergraduates, MBAs, PhDs) at a variety of institutions. One thing that stands out about many Texas BBA students, relative to students at both other levels and other universities, is the passion they display for not just understanding the world around them, but improving it. I’m continually impressed and excited by the ideas and applications students bring with them to class. When ideas “click” in class, BBAs don’t stop there; they continue learning, thinking, and developing as they explore the world – and I believe this mindset will enable them to have a lasting (and positive) impact in whatever they choose to do.
What advice would you give BBA students?
At every stage of life, it’s easy to get caught up in the current – to do the thing you’re good at, to take the logical next step, etc. But it’s important to come up for air and ask ourselves where we are, where we’re going, and whether or not we actually want to end up there. Many BBA students seem to already have their whole lives mapped out, and that’s impressive. However, I would challenge students to be open to other possibilities, to be okay with a little bit of uncertainty, and to think about where – and how – they want to make an impact.
Outside of teaching, what are some of your interests?
Music! I play several instruments – all poorly – but I was fortunate enough to tour locally with a few bands in my former life (pre-academia).
What’s your motto? Do you have a story to share?