Professor Spotlight: Dr. Shefali Patil (MAN 336H)

For both online and in-person classes, Dr. Shefali Patil takes the Canfield Business Honors management curriculum to the next level. Dr. Patil teaches Organizational Behavior (MAN 336H) where she employs her research on decision making and operating in high-risk environments. Her passion for research stemmed from her own honors program at NYU Stern, where she pursued research in her senior year.

After graduating from Stern, Dr. Patil earned her PhD at Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Patil said she wanted to continue her work at a research-driven university. 

“I wanted to start off my junior faculty years at a very strong research-based institution,” she said. “UT was definitely on my list and, luckily for me, they offered me a job.”

Throughout her six years at UT, Dr. Patil has examined various behavioral questions by working with over 15 U.S. law enforcement agencies, the U.S. Army, and emergency medical rescue/healthcare organizations. For the past three years, she has been a professor for Canfield BHP. While introductory management courses are often critiqued for being overly theory-driven, Dr. Patil goes above and beyond in her curriculum development. Continue reading

Professor Spotlight: Jared Murray

As a statistician, Dr. Jared Murray is no stranger to uncertainty. In fact, he teaches STA 371H, which focuses on using probability, statistics, and data science to learn about the world and make decisions in the presence of uncertainty. In today’s climate, in which uncertainty seems to be a major theme, Dr. Murray emphasizes that he and his students must look for solutions, rather than problems, in the classroom and beyond. 

“The biggest thing, given everything that’s going on, is trying to have the attitude that we’re going to look for solutions, not problems, in this new format,” he said. “There are some things that I want to do that are just not going to be possible. There are some sort of modes of instruction that just don’t work anymore.”

For the past three years, Dr. Murray has been an assistant professor in the Department of Information, Risk, and Operations Management. Prior to teaching at UT, he worked in the Department of Statistics at Carnegie Mellon University and earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in Statistical Science at Duke University. Continue reading

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.  Continue reading

Professor Spotlight: Dr. Robert Prentice (LEB 323H)

After teaching at The University of Texas at Austin for over 40 years, Dr. Robert Prentice continues to enjoy his work. From teaching classes on ethics to leading UT departments, Dr. Prentice has a host of experience and knowledge to share with Canfield Business Honors Students. 

Dr. Prentice came to UT to take on a teaching job, but has embarked on much more since then. Currently, he is the Chair of the Business, Government, and Society department, Faculty Director of Ethics Unwrapped (an ethics educational video project), and former Faculty Director of the Canfield Business Honors Program. Throughout all of his endeavors, Dr. Prentice strives to facilitate the long-term happiness of UT and Canfield BHP students. 

“The more ethically you’ve acted, the more you can look back on your life and be able to credibly tell yourself, ‘I made a difference. I helped people, I made the world a better place,’” Dr. Prentice said. “That (reflection) is going to be the most important thing in terms of individual happiness, so that’s something I try to stress to my students.” Continue reading

Faculty Spotlight: Shiva Agarwal, Management Capstone

Written by Megan Tran-Olmsted

Dr. Agarwal teaches the capstone class that all Canfield Business Honors students must complete to graduate. Because the class serves as the final honors class for many students, it is designed to equip students with the necessary skills to become future business leaders. The class heavily emphasizes the importance of business strategy and successful execution. Dr. Agarwal often emphasizes the fact that “good strategies can quickly become bad strategies” if they lack proper implementation techniques. Because of this pitfall, the Management Capstone class seeks to help students become successful by implementing good strategic practices and avoiding common mistakes.

Dr. Agarwal’s background is multifaceted. She first began her career as a software developer for Microsoft after completing her undergraduate degree in computer science. It was here that she had the opportunity to explore a rapidly growing and changing business in the personal computer space. However, after several years with Microsoft, Dr. Agarwal decided to make a pivot into the business strategy space by completing her MBA. From here, she joined the Boston Consulting Group as a business associate. Here, she was able to utilize her analytical problem-solving skills gained from both her prior work experience and her MBA classes.

Ultimately, Dr. Agarwal felt a continued yearning to dive deeper into business analytics over a longer time frame than consulting allowed. Because of this drive, she pursued a Ph.D in Management at the Wharton School of Business. Here, she had the opportunity to build on her experiences at Microsoft by exploring technological innovation, platforms and business ecosystems, and how those concepts related back to strategic management and corporate strategy. After completing her Ph.D in 2017, Dr. Agarwal began her research and teaching career at the University of Texas at Austin. Now Dr. Agarwal focuses on how firms within their larger respective industries interact with each other, rather than focusing on a single firm.

Dr. Agarwal is a strong believer in the case method of teaching. She believes that this is particularly important in fields such as management where class concepts are largely theoretical, as opposed to formulaic. In her classes, students analyze how corporate giants like Apple, Amazon, and Coca-Cola have designed and adapted their strategies over time to remain competitive in a dog-eat-dog world. Furthermore Dr. Agarwal has seen time and time again that there is a common misconception about business strategy. She says that many people believe that there is “one path to success,” when in fact, each business requires a different and adaptable strategy depending on many market forces.

Since Dr. Agarwal has previously spent several years as a software developer, a business consultant, and now a prominent researcher, she can offer a unique perspective to students interested in entering the tech space, the consulting world, or even academia. She recommends that students test the waters prior to diving into a set career path. She tested several avenues before deciding that the academic world was what she desired to pursue. She fondly recalls how she developed strong relationships with her professors and was fascinated by their research and publications, which fueled her interest to join academia.

When she’s not exploring the next big move in the technology space or teaching CBHP students in the classroom, Dr. Agarwal enjoys spending time with her three-year-old daughter. Even at home, her interest in technology still shows as Dr. Agarwal thinks about the impact of technology on the younger generation. While she teaches this class on creating successful business strategies, Dr. Agarwal says that she would love to know what the ultimate successful parenting strategy looks like.