In 2014, Brandon Julio was working at the London Business School, where he had been working as an assistant professor of finance since 2007. Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, Julio had always planned on returning to the United States. It was former colleague and longtime friend Z. Jay Wang who suggested Julio look into joining the Lundquist College of Business at the University of Oregon.
“The department is collegial and very research active, and it’s a nice part of the country,” Julio said. “I came to visit and liked what I saw.”
Though admittedly a researcher at heart, teaching Lundquist College students has proven gratifying for the corporate investment expert. Julio also studies politics and finance, capital structure, and international finance.
“I found I like teaching a lot. I enjoy interacting with the students,” he said. “I love research, but if you are lucky, a few hundred people are going to read your papers. But with teaching, you are teaching methods these students are going to use in real life. I often think my largest social contribution is training students well to work in financial markets. And financial markets are incredibly important for world development.”
When teaching a very complicated valuation model, for example, Julio said, “I see students work really hard and get it, figure it out, and sometimes even excel it.”.
And whether in class our outside of class, Julio enjoys discussing and debating financial issues. Those discussion sometimes even lead to new research.
“Debating topics gives birth to new ideas,” Julio said.
In fact, the germ of Julio’s article “Political Uncertainty and Corporate Investment Cycles ,” with economist Youngsuk Yook for The Journal of Finance, grew out of a friendly debate with a colleague while enjoying some buffalo wings and beer.
Just how political uncertainty affects a firm’s decision making proved ripe for analysis during the 2016 U.S. election process. On the eve of a new presidency, should a firm build a new manufacturing plant? How about hire new workers?
“You don’t know what regulation is going to look like. Heightened political uncertainty will give stakeholders pause. They will—very rationally—delay investing,” Julio said. “It’s very costly to make mistakes. Once they know the policy, there is a huge resolution of uncertainty, they can adjust to the new status quo and make decisions.”
Yet, although uncertainty can delay some types of decision making, it also tends to spur research and development, noted Julio, who, along with assistant professor of finance Stephen McKeon, earned the James E. Reinmuth MBA Teaching Excellence Award for 2016. The awards are based on nominations and voting by MBA students.
His colleagues are also appreciative. “Professor Julio is a passionate researcher and his work has made a valuable contribution to our understanding about the relationship between political uncertainty and corporate investments,” said Z. Jay Wang, associate professor of finance. “He is always willing to accommodate the departmental teaching needs. He added an extra course to his teaching load last spring after a surprise surge in student demand. He is also actively involved in advising PhD students, leading and supporting a reading group using his own time beyond the normal teaching and research loads and covering the expenses out of his own pocket.”
In 2017, Julio for the first time will be teaching students at all levels: financial analysis and valuation for undergraduates, corporate finance evaluation for MBA students, and a PhD seminar in corporate finance. In the longer term, Julio said he hopes to publish research regularly and for those publications to have an impact on the research community. He also hopes the Lundquist College will continue its ascent in standing.
“This school is going through a huge transition. I’m excited to be a part of the growth happening at the Lundquist College,” he said. “We are very highly ranked in some specialties, and I see all areas moving in that direction. I want our students to have a lot of options. I want them to compete with all the top schools. And I think we have the potential to compete very well.”