Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Keith Wade

Kettering Faculty - Dr Keith Wade
Kettering Faculty - Dr Keith Wade
Kettering Faculty - Dr Keith Wade

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Keith Wade

As Kettering University’s Online (KUO) Program Development Manager and Senior Instructional Designer, I have the pleasure of working with our Contributing Faculty members and Faculty Mentors, many of whom are subject matter experts for the courses they teach. Offering a wide range of educational, career, and geographical backgrounds, KUO faculty unite to link transformative experiential education to rigorous academic standards and real-world applications for learning that lasts a lifetime.

This time, we are happy to shine the Faculty Spotlight on Dr. Keith Wade. Dr. Wade currently teaches financial management, a course in the MBA program.

Following are excerpts from our conversation:

JL: Dr. Wade, it’s good to chat with you. Thanks so much for taking the time.
KW: My pleasure!

JL: The first question I always ask is, where did you grow up?
KW: Traverse City, MI

JL: What is your area of expertise?
KW: Finance and Business

JL: Which degrees do you have and from where?
KW: I have a DBA in Finance from Argosy University, an MBA from the University of Detroit, and a bachelor’s in business from Oakland University.

JL: When and how did you know you wanted to pursue a career in finance and management?
KW: When I was a manager at Ford in the late 1990s, I realized how finance ran the company and wanted to continue to learn more about this field. Financial Management is a multidimensional subject. It involves understanding how to effectively allocate a company's resources, manage risk, determine the cost of capital, analyze investment decisions, and plan for short-term and long-term financial goals.

JL: Currently, you teach the Financial Management course. Can you talk a bit about the core components of financial management? Also, what would you love for your learners to leave with as a result of taking your class?
KW: The course introduces students to complex topics through a mix of theoretical knowledge and real-life case studies. My aim is that students leave this course with a robust understanding of financial management concepts and how they tie together to inform business strategy. Further, I hope they learn how to apply these principles strategically to maximize shareholder value and ensure the financial health of a business.

JL: What are your favorite aspects of the course, as well as the overall MBA program, and what impact do you hope it is having on learners?
KW: I am particularly fond of the interactive nature of the Financial Management course, which drives critical thinking, problem-solving, and practical application of theories and principles. The overall MBA program at Kettering University supports this interactive learning environment by stressing both theory and practice. I hope to not only impart knowledge but to equip learners with the skills to apply this knowledge and, in doing so, transform them into effective business leaders.

JL: Speaking of teaching, what is your teaching philosophy?
KW: My teaching philosophy is rooted in active, experiential learning. I strive to create a classroom environment where students are encouraged to delve deeper into subjects, engage in thoughtful discussions, and apply learned concepts to real-world scenarios. Instead of promoting rote learning, I emphasize understanding, critical thinking, and the practical application of knowledge. This approach prepares students to successfully manage the complex business situations they will encounter in their careers.

JL: What would you say about your Kettering learners?
KW: Kettering students exhibit a remarkable blend of academic rigor, practical focus, and innovative thinking. Their diligence, curiosity, and dedication make the teaching experience rewarding. They are not just focused on scoring grades but are eager to understand how to apply their knowledge in real-world situations. This hands-on approach, coupled with their resilience, prepares them to face future professional challenges with confidence.

JL: Getting back to the business of finance, there have been many corporate scandals over the past few years. What do you say to your students about integrity and the importance of accuracy in collecting, compiling, and reporting financial data?
KW: Regarding corporate scandals, I stress to students the importance of ethical conduct and transparency in financial reporting. These are not just legal requirements; they're vital for maintaining the trust of investors, employees, customers, and the public. We examine case studies of financial misconduct, analyzing the far-reaching consequences of such actions. It is important for students to understand that any short-term gains from such actions are far outweighed by the long-term damage to their and their company's reputation and viability.

JL: Personal and corporate finance management is replete with risk. Can you talk a bit about how one can plan for and manage financial risk?
KW: Financial risk management involves identifying, assessing, and taking necessary measures to minimize exposure to risk. It's a continuous process as the business environment is constantly evolving. From potential changes in interest rates, to currency fluctuations, to credit risk and liquidity risk - a thorough risk management plan must account for a wide range of uncertainties. Strategies to mitigate risks include diversification of assets, hedging strategies, and financial derivatives. I strive to equip students with the skills to create comprehensive risk management plans.

JL: What are the best ways one can improve their financial literacy?
KW: Becoming financially literate is a continuous journey. Start by educating yourself through reliable resources - financial books, reputable finance websites, and personal finance podcasts are a good start. Consider taking a course or attending workshops. The most crucial part, however, is to apply what you've learned - start investing, even if it's a small amount, create and stick to a budget, and gradually, you'll become more comfortable with financial decision-making.

JL: What advice would you share about planning for and managing an unexpected financial event, whether personally or professionally?
KW: Unexpected financial events can be personal - like a job loss, or professional - like a sudden market downturn. When it comes to unexpected financial events, the key is to anticipate their possibility and prepare in advance. Professionally, this can involve strategies like building diverse revenue streams, maintaining an adaptable business model, and having a business continuity plan. Personally, it's advisable to have an emergency fund covering at least three to six months' worth of living expenses, diversifying personal investments, and taking appropriate insurance covers.

JL: Switching gears, what are the qualities or traits associated with effective financial managers?
KW: Effective financial managers are typically skilled in analysis and problem-solving, possessing a keen eye for detail to evaluate complex financial reports and forecasts. They have strong ethical standards, ensuring the accuracy and integrity of financial data. Furthermore, they are strategic thinkers, capable of seeing the larger picture and making decisions that align with the organization's goals. They also have excellent communication skills, as they need to explain complex financial concepts to team members, stakeholders, and executives who may not have a financial background.

JL: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
KW: I love to spend time with my family taking our horses out on trail rides.

JL: Thank you again for making time to chat. I learned a lot!
KW: My pleasure!

KUO honors and appreciates Dr. Wade for his contributions and highly regarded work with students.

If you are interested in becoming a member of our award-winning faculty, or a subject matter expert for course development, send your curriculum vitae and cover letter to Dr. Christine Wallace at cwallace@kettering.edu. Visit our homepage for more information on our online MBA and other graduate programs.