Faculty Interview: Finance Professor Emery A. Trahan

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Listen to Professor Trahan talk about the research he incorporates in his curriculum to help graduates achieve a comprehensive understanding of finance. He discusses value-based management, performance metrics, and the cost of capital.


Hi my name is Emery Trahan. I am a professor of finance at the D’Amore-McKim School. I was the department head in finance for the last five years or so and recently moved into the dean’s office as the senior associate dean of faculty and research.

A couple of research areas that I try to bring into my teaching, one is I’ve done work on value based management. And in finance, we typically assume that the objective of running a company is the maximize the value of that company to the shareholders, but then how do we operationalize that objective and really help companies work toward achieving that objective? So, I’ve done work on different performance metrics that we might use to evaluate and reward people and companies and how those performance metrics relate to that overall objective.

One of the important imports that you need to make financial decisions is the cost of capital for a company. So, in the early course we talk about conceptually what a cost of capital is and then the mechanics of how you would go about estimating the cost of capital for a company. And we do a case study in that course with a real company.

And in the second course, we build on that. So, in the valuation course, we would assume you’ve been through the early work on cost on capital. There, I go on and do a more advanced exercise where we estimate cost of capital for different business units within a company. Our courses are over five weeks, so they’re fairly compressed and we try to keep them organized, but you have to be doing something almost every day on the course. So, the students wanna inform themselves coming in, I think, what the structure of the program is and how it works and can they work in that kind of structure.

Almost all education is going to have some online component the way it’s going. So, even the traditional on the ground courses are going to have some online component to them. I would say that there’s a lot of enthusiasm for this program, I think, on the part of the faculty and the administrators running it and we’re committed to having a good program and to continuously improving the program. Overall, it’s been very rewarding for me to be involved in this program and I hope rewarding for many of my students.

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