Professor Spotlight: Eric Chan (ACC 312H)

Dr. Eric Chan spent the majority of his academic life in the northeast. He earned his undergraduate degrees in Accounting and Finance at the University of Maryland, College Park, his Ph.D. in Accounting from the University of Pittsburgh, and has family roots in Washington, D.C. Soon after graduating Pittsburgh with his Ph. D., however, his journey brought him to the south. Upon being hired, Dr. Chan was offered a position to teach either MBA or honors students– for the past five years he’s taught Managerial Accounting (ACC 312H) to Canfield BHP students.

“I remember when I first came, they asked me to either teach a masters level class or the undergraduate honors students. To me, it was a no brainer. I think I connect better with younger students and an intro class is very important for whether (students) enjoy and end up pursuing accounting,” Dr. Chan said.

Aside from being able to teach honors students, Dr. Chan felt that the University of Texas was the best choice for him because of the research opportunities as well. The faculty and McCombs resources, including the McCombs Behavioral Lab, both played a major part in his decision. 

“I study people’s decision making– how they respond to certain interventions, whether there’s an incentive or rewards scheme that we implement, or how they react to certain feedback. Without the lab we wouldn’t be able to do our research, so that’s an important resource,” he said. “I also have four other colleagues who do experimental research and all of them are just fantastic. Many of them are doing top research in their respective fields. Being able to learn from them is very important for me.”

Dr. Chan applies his academic and personal learnings to the classes he teaches by linking case studies with recent research studies to inform his students. 

“The case studies help (students) apply their knowledge and techniques, but the research is also important to see, ‘Hey, there’s actually more to this than just applying the techniques,’” Dr. Chan said. “It’s actually a lot of tradeoffs and understanding of how people think and respond to actions. Bringing in research can help students see the bigger picture and also help see the cutting edge or new frontier in terms of accounting. For a lot of people, it’s hard to imagine what that might be, so I want to expose students to that”

In addition to connecting research studies to traditional case studies, Dr. Chan accelerates the lecture aspects of his class to ensure time for discussion. Dr. Chan said Canfield BHP students tend to be engaged and willing to speak up and share ideas. He said it’s one of his favorite things about Canfield BHP students because the discussion helps people connect the class to real life. Dr. Chan said that the conversation Canfield BHP students generate allow him to learn as well.

“(Canfield BHP) students are willing to ask questions that are not just about a specific idea or a process or a learning objective. They ask, ‘How does this apply to the big picture of what’s going on outside the room?,’” Dr. Chan said. “On the first day of class I got (a question) about how accounting applies to the real world where AI and machine learning are taking over many jobs. I appreciate students being able to ask those big picture questions, because I learn something from hearing those questions and thinking through them.”

Student Spotlight: Victoria Bennett

Name: Victoria Bennett

Major: Canfield BHP, Economics, Health and Society

Previous internship: McKinsey and Company

Topics of Interest: Healthcare, service, economic policy, the color yellow

For UT students interested in the intersection of healthcare and business, Canfield BHP junior Victoria Bennett is living proof that a career path from these industries can be paved. In addition to Canfield BHP, Victoria is studying Economics and Health and Society. While juggling her three majors is no small feat, Victoria says that her passion for healthcare paired with the community and opportunities Canfield BHP offers makes it all worthwhile.

Victoria actually didn’t know that she wanted to focus on healthcare and business until after an internship she had with McKinsey and Company after her freshman year where she was put on a healthcare project.

“The (summer healthcare project) inspired me to apply for the health and society major and shift the direction of my academic career to focus on the business and economics of healthcare,” Victoria said. “I really had no idea that that was something I was so passionate about until that summer experience. Now, I really want to specialize in healthcare consulting after I graduate.” 

Before attending UT, Victoria attended a small school in Dallas. She said she initially felt intimidated by UT’s size, but that Canfield BHP made all the difference in finding both an initial community and the internship that helped develop her passion for healthcare. 

“I actually went to the same school my entire life. From ages four to eighteen I was with the same people and my class size was a little over a hundred people, so I was nervous about attending UT,” she said. “I expected it to be a place where I could easily get lost in the crowd, but when I came and realized (Canfield BHP) was a real community I had that experience of an actual home base. It was really so surprising for me. (Canfield BHP) made me feel comfortable in college so quickly.”

Victoria said her classes in the program make her feel at home even if her immediate friend group isn’t there. 

“One of my favorite things about Canfield BHP is that I can come into class and I don’t even think about whether or not my best friends are going to be in that class,” she said. “I know that I can walk into a class and like find a group of people who are going to be super sweet and super nice to me and we’ll have so much fun even if I only see those people in class.”

The community in Canfield BHP stretches beyond class, however. Victoria said students in the program also have each other’s backs when it comes to recruiting. In fact, she would never have been introduced to healthcare if not for a fellow Canfield BHP student. 

“I know the main reason I am working at (McKinsey) is because my freshman year a senior in Canfield BHP who I kind of knew just sent me an application to the freshman leadership program, which I had no idea about previously,” she said. “It’s really cool how much people in Canfield BHP look out for each other and just help everybody in any way that they can,” she said.