Faculty Spotlight: Prof. Dave Hutchison, Ph.D.

Author: Sean McGee

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Dave Hutchison, who has a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois and teaches finance in the Mendoza College of Business, knows the value of staying in touch with real-world practices. In addition to teaching at universities in Washington, Michigan, and Illinois before he came to Notre Dame six years ago, he worked as a mortgage banker, senior bank treasury manager, and CFO of a small real estate development company.

“The Ph.D. taught me how to learn finance, but I learned it from the banking industry,” Hutchison says, half-joking. That’s why he appreciates the chance to teach in the ESTEEM program, encountering a perspective different from the typical undergraduate or MBA class. 

“It’s interesting to have the ESTEEM audience because the ESTEEM students come from science disciplines, which is a change from my regular business-school audience,” he says. “You come face to face with a different perspective, which is always good. Plus, I get to spend time advancing my understanding and knowledge of a startup enterprise, a small business. I teach a lot of real estate classes, and the world of private equity is important there. This is more hard-core – how do you create a small technology-based startup company, and how do you get it commercialized? It’s something that depends significantly on finances.”

At the same time, ESTEEM students are learning about a world very different from their undergraduate research laboratories.

“The course I’m teaching currently is something of a combination of accounting principles, finance principles, and finance as it’s practiced in private equity,” Hutchison says. “We cover quite a range of stuff. It’s occasionally like trying to get a drink of water out of a fire hose. You’re not in the universe where your responsibilities are those of a being a lab technician. Now you’ve got to get deals done – that’s the world of a startup enterprise finding finance, working your way through perhaps a regulatory process, negotiating with other people.

“I think what they like best out of me is when I talk about ordinary matters of managing one’s private wealth. They have no exposure to it and it’s obviously important to them. For me, it’s an opportunity to expand my horizons. One of the nice things about this is that I get to talk to people in practice. In this setting, you don’t have the luxury of falling back on the principles of finance. You have to know what the world is thinking about.”