Name: Dr. James Simmerman
Title: Assistant Professor of Finance
Please tell us a brief bio of your career – how long have you taught Finance, what courses do you typically teach, what are your research interests, what is your educational background, etc.
I was raised in the Chicago area (yes I grew up a Cubs fan) and then moved to Missouri to attend Truman State University where I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting (and was converted to a Cardinals fan). After moving to Springfield, I completed a Masters of Business Administration in Finance from Missouri State University. I enjoyed learning about Finance so much that I took more graduate courses in Finance and Economics at the University of Mississippi. I finally stopped taking classes last year after I completed my Ed.D in Educational Leadership from the University of Missouri-Columbia, but I still love learning new things.
When I was not in a classroom, I was working to earn money and to gain real world experience. My industry experience includes various accounting and finance positions including nearly seven years as a Financial Examiner reviewing the financial condition of insurance companies across the United States. I hold a CFE (Certified Financial Examiner) designation and I have completed over half of the requirements for my CPCU (Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter) designation.
My most recent experience has been in education where I have been teaching (along with other administrative duties) at Missouri State University since fall of 2005. My primary teaching responsibilities included courses in corporate finance, personal finance and risk management. These topics all coincide with my research interests, but I am most fascinated by the topics of financial education and financial literacy. Due to the financial culture in America and current economic trends, it is imperative that everyone learns financial responsibility. My passion is to learn what can be done to ensure that that everyone gains financial knowledge and more importantly they use that knowledge to make wise financial decisions.
Do you have any favorite memories from your recent teaching experiences?
Most of my favorite memories from class are those in which I have learned something and one of my favorites is a lesson in humility. About three years ago, I was teaching in a large lecture hall (about 150 students) and I noticed a guy in the second row texting like the end of the world was near and it was a little distracting. Rather than just asking him to stop, I thought I would teach him a lesson. So I sat on a desk in the front, got out my phone, ignored the class and began texting my daughter…needless to say the students started mumbling among themselves wondering what this crazy guy was doing. I looked up and said “Oh…I probably should not be texting huh???” To which the class said a sarcastic “No”. So I said “Okay I won’t as long as you all don’t either”. I felt like patting myself on the back for being so witty while teaching that student a lesson. Later, when class was over, several students came up to me apologizing for texting (none of them was the guy who I saw in class). So here I was thinking I was teaching this student a lesson for not paying attention, when in reality several people were ignoring me and the one student I caught wasn’t even worried about it. Yup...that time and the time I taught a whole class with ketchup on my cheek are probably my favorite “memories”...because they are over.
What advice would you offer to a new student beginning their course of study in the Breech School of Business?
Two suggestions I would make are to get involved and to trust the process. I remember when I was a student I just wanted to be finished with school and only wanted to learn what I thought was vital in order to obtain a job. It was not until years later that I realized that everything (and every class) has its purpose. When faculty and staff encourage students to get involved in extracurricular activities, take classes that you feel are a waste of time or learn information that you think is useless, trust the process. Have faith that it all has a purpose down the line and although you cannot see how everything “fits” right now, someday you will.