Monday, November 22, 2021

Professor Susan Gould Discusses Coffee, Critical Thinking, and Finance

Critical thinking is the process of evaluating information to guide belief, decision, or action. Finance students and professionals are uniquely positioned to utilize critical thinking effectively and persuasively.

To understand how critical thinking is a key element of finance, imagine it is the beginning of your work day. It’s been a busy week, you have a lot of projects you are working on, and it’s important for you to be productive today.

You think about starting work, and you consider getting a cup of coffee. What course of action will you take to get a cup of coffee, and how much will that cup of coffee cost you?

Many people will answer this query with “go to (fancy coffee shop) and it will cost $5.”  Some will say “I will go to (franchise donut shop) and it will cost me $1.50.” Others will say “I’ll brew my coffee here at home, so it will cost a few pennies.”  Still others will say “I don’t like coffee, so I will get a glass of water instead, and it won’t cost anything.”

What’s the right answer?

As with many financial decisions, there is no single ‘right’ answer. However, the process to arrive at the answer that is right for you illustrates how critical thinking is applied in finance!

In the morning coffee example, each person applied several steps to arrive at their decision. These steps involved many elements of critical thinking:

·         Creativity: what else could I drink?

·         Context and background knowledge: what does coffee cost at various places?

·         Financial acumen: is it worth it to me to spend $5 or $1.50 on a cup of coffee in this moment, and how does this impact my financial goals?

·         Ethical and social responsibility concerns: do I agree with the coffee shop’s social and environmental actions?

Once a decision is made to buy a cup of coffee, there is a financial transaction – handing over dollars and cents to the store in exchange for the product.

Many people believe that the field of finance is focused on the that last step – the financial transaction. Certainly, the exchange of money for goods, services, investments, or securities is worthy of extensive study. And, there is no doubt that finance professionals love numbers and can devote significant time and effort to analyzing numbers!

However, the field of finance is really about all the thought process that leads to the financial transaction. Additionally, the field of finance is about the long-term implications of that transaction. Thus, the ability to communicate the context of a financial decision, as well as the long-range impact of various paths considered, is a critical capability. 

Replace the morning coffee example with a company’s capital investment decision, and the process is exactly the same. Although there is (most assuredly!) quantitative analysis to consider, a manager or executive must also reflect on:

·         What other options are there?

·         What is the competitive environment, and strategic opportunity?

·         What is the cost and long-term financial impact on the company of implementing this decision?

·         Does this decision reflect the company’s mission, ethics, and values?

It is no surprise that finance professionals are experts at quantitative analysis. However, financial decisions are most successful when evaluated within the right context, and with significant consideration of alternatives and long-term impacts. Finance students and professionals are expert critical thinkers and communicators!

Professor Susan Gould Bio:

Professor Susan Gould
LinkedIn Profile
Susan Gould earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Northwestern University, and a Master of Management degree with majors in finance and managerial economics from Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. She also holds the CFA designation from the CFA Institute.  Susan is the Lead Faculty of the BA in Finance and MS in Finance programs at UAGC.


Susan worked for 20 years in corporate finance, where she prepared business valuations of privately held companies in a wide variety of industries, including natural gas, printing, construction equipment manufacturing, architecture and engineering, retail, and commodities trading. Susan specialized in representing Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) from implementation and stock purchase through sale transactions.


Friday, November 19, 2021

Professor Bill Davis Taps Into Insight Provided by Leading Industry Expert Chuck Muth (Brands and Global Marketing)

UAGC Professor Bill Davis Taps the mind of leading industry expert Chuck Muth to better understand Brands and Global Marketing.

Description of Event: 

The University of Arizona Global Campus and the Forbes School of Business & Technology welcomed Chuck Muth, the former Chief Growth Officer (CGO) of Beyond Meat. Under Chuck Muth’s guidance and leadership, Beyond Meat grew their revenues 2400%, going from $16 million in 2016 to over $400 million in 2020. Mr. Muth helped launch the brand into more than 120,000 outlets worldwide. UAGC’s own Bill Davis, who worked with Chuck in the 90s in Chicagoland when Chuck was an Executive Marketing Executive for Seagrams Beverage invited Chuck to share his insights with us. UAGC Lead Faculty Brandy Havens introduced Chuck and Bill Davis led the interview exploring sales, marketing, and the keys to brand success. Chuck brought a unique and cutting-edge perspective on hot business topics such as health, climate, sustainability, and branding. Bill and Chuck engaged in dialogue that broaden everyone’s perspective on real-world application of global marketing, leadership, operations and supply chain management. Forbes School of Business & Technology Executive Dean, Bob Daugherty, stated, “This was a terrific opportunity for our students to learn from faculty and practioner alike! Nicely done Bill, Chuck lived up to and exceeded all the wonderful things you shared about him.”  Below is the link for the full interview as well as specific links to specific parts of the interview for our leadership, marketing, global marketing and supply chain management courses and students.

About Professor Bill Davis

Professor Bill Davis

Bill Davis has extensive experience and education in all aspects of business: consultant, management, leadership, sales, marketing, strategic planning, human resources, and organizational change. He has over three decades of experience working in the beverage industry, specifically in the PepsiCo system, a Fortune 500 company, serving in front, middle management, and executive level leadership positions.

Bill is a pracademic who successfully transitioned his highly successful career into academia. He has over 16 years of extensive academic experience serving as a program chair, lead faculty, assistant professor, core faculty, instructor, instructional specialist, instructional specialist manager, and associate faculty. He loves furthering student learning and seeing student success.

Bill has received numerous local and national awards for excellence in teaching, leadership, management, community service, scholarship, sales, and marketing. Recently, Bill was recognized by the Forbes School of Business & Technology for Excellence in Service (2016), Excellence in Teaching (2017), and Excellence in Scholarship (2018). In 2016, Bill received the Distinguished Ashford University President's Award for his service to the university. In 2019, he was named Ashford University's Faculty of the Month. He has successfully taught over 200+ courses in accelerated education, developed courses and curriculum, and contributed to academic textbooks. In 2008, Bill received the Distinguished CAP Award for Excellence in Teaching from the Commission for Accelerated Programs. He was one of three educators in the nation to receive this award. He was also awarded the Institute of Certified Professional Manager's (ICPM) Managerial Excellence Award (2016). Bill is on their Board of Regents, Chair of their Bylaws and Policy Committee, and a Board Member in ADEIL, the Association for Distance Education and Independent Learning. He is Chair of their Marketing Committee. He has served and been a Board Member of numerous organizations in his community, specifically United Way and Optimist International.

Here is a local article on Bill's work in his community: Man on the run: For Bill Davis, life means getting involved

Bill has published and presented at numerous academic conferences nationally and internationally and to several businesses, community organizations, and Fortune 500 companies. Bill has published 100+ articles on business, strategic planning, marketing, management, leadership, organizational change, and adult learning and development. In 2019, he coauthored “Staying Engaged It’s Essential – Leadership Principles for Success.”

Here is a sample of Bill's body of work:

Execution and Measurement – Two Steps for Success and Relevance (B.Davis)

Stay Engaged…It’s Essential! - Chunks of Leadership Wisdom and Knowledge to Improve Your Leadership Effectiveness (B.Davis, M.McAuliffe, and C. Minnick).

Bill Davis – 2019 Ashford University Faculty of The Month (Ashford Interview/Article)


Master of Organizational Leadership from St. Ambrose University, Certified Manager Certification from Institute of Professional Managers, Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Lewis University