Joe Hahn was at ARCO from 1991-2000. He transitioned to BP where he worked Commercial while he earned his MBA in 2001 and his Ph.D. in 2005. Shortly after, Joe left his role at BP to join the Business School faculty at Pepperdine. Joe is currently Director of the Master of Science in Finance program at UT-Austin McCombs School of Business.
Q: Why did you decide to go into education?
A: There are really two areas of responsibility in a typical academic appointment: teaching and research. For teaching, I enjoy helping students learn material that will help them find and be successful in a career. For research, I really like the freedom to work on problems that I think are important.
There are really two areas of responsibility in a typical academic appointment: teaching and research.
Q: Can you tell me what the transition was like moving from BP to Pepperdine?
A: I thought I would stay at BP after completing my Ph.D. program, but it was apparent after a while that the opportunities to leverage the skills and knowledge I had earned were limited. So I started applying for academic jobs, and the opportunity at Pepperdine was the first one that really peaked my interest. There were/are significant differences from a typical corporate job, in that faculty are asked to satisfy some basic requirements (e.g., teach some number of classes that their department offers, serve on a faculty committee, and have a goal of publishing some number of papers in reputable peer reviewed journals) and then they are left almost completely on their own to decide how to meet those requirements. I would imagine that the transition is very similar to starting your own consulting practice.
I thought I would stay at BP after completing my Ph.D. program, but it was apparent after a while that the opportunities to leverage the skills and knowledge I had earned were limited.
Q: How do you find your perspective differs because you have private and public sector experience?
A: It has been great to have experience in both sectors. Knowing what it is like to report to the shareholders, when the value proposition of literally everything always needs to be questioned, is something that the academic/public sector is gradually recognizing as useful and important. On the other hand, not many new breakthroughs occur without research and the time/space to think independently about problems. We really need a balance of those two perspectives, and I think that’s part of why I’ve been asked to take on some administrative responsibilities here at UT.
We really need a balance of [both private and public sector] perspectives [in academia].
Joe is currently Director of the Master of Science in Finance program at UT-Austin McCombs School of Business.