2018 Top 50 Undergraduate Professors: Jacqueline Garner, Georgia Institute of Technology (Scheller)

Jacqueline Garner


Georgia Institute of Technology, Scheller College of Business

Jacqueline Garner’s professional claims to fame attest to both her expertise as a finance professional and her record as a top rated business school professor. Before she entered the classroom as an instructor, Garner’s positions held include a financial analyst and later a financial economist for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Since entering academia, Garner has taught within three different business schools, accumulating several “favorite professor” designations along the way. More recently, at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business where she currently teaches, Professor Garner was dubbed the college’s “transcendent teacher” for her passion for innovation such as calculating the value of a company using finance and football. Students say this top professor makes learning enjoyable by getting to know students on a personal level.

Age: 55

Education: PhD, Finance, Georgia State University; MBA, University of Alabama at Birmingham; BSBA Concentration Finance, Samford University

At current institution since: 2016

List of courses you currently teach: Financial Management (Introductory Finance course), Financial Modeling, Financial Markets: Trading and Structure

What professional achievement are you most proud of? Winning a University-wide teaching award while at Drexel University (Lindback Award)

“I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when…” I taught an adjunct class while I was working as an analyst…and loved it!

“One word that describes my first-time teaching…” Exhilarating

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? Examining compensation contracts of NCAA football coaches and the relation between pay and performance.  We find that “overpaid” football coaches are the best performing coaches.

What is your most memorable moment as a professor? When a co-author read the letter from a journal editor about our paper being accepted for publication….my first pub!

Since you first started teaching, how has business education changed? All the online resources for students were not available when I first started teaching.  Also, the classroom was more “lecture-based” and now there is a great deal of active learning (experiential learning).

“If I weren’t a business school professor, I would be…” A College Football Coach, perhaps a defensive coordinator (fantasy job); Investment banker (more likely)

“Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a professor”: How some papers take YEARS to publish!  

Name of the professor you most admire and why: Dr. Marlene Reed (now at Baylor); she was one of my undergraduate professors, and she inspired me to be a professor.  

What do you enjoy most about teaching undergraduate business students? The joy many of them have to learn.  Since they are still “exploring” what they want to “be”, they are very open to learning!

What’s the biggest challenge? Keeping all the students interested!

What is the most impressive thing one of your undergraduate students has done? Too many to name.  Many have gone on to have successful careers in finance.  

What is the least favorite thing one has done? Did not perform to their true potential

What does a student need to do to get an A in your class? Be able to join finance theory with practice.  

Since you’ve been teaching, how have students changed over the years? Not very much.  I’ve always met hard-working, bright students (at all the universities at which I have been employed).

“When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as …” Fair.  Provides detailed feedback.  

If your teaching style/classroom experience had a theme song, what would it be? Happy, Pharrell Williams

Using just one word, describe your favorite type of student: Curious

Using just one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Apathetic

“If my students can think about real-world problems and apply finance theories to them, then I’ve done my job as their professor.”

Fun fact about yourself: Have taught football classes at universities and to small groups.  Have been known to write down every offensive and defensive play/formation from a game.  

What are your hobbies? Distance running

How did you spend your summer? Worked a good bit but did go to New York with a friend and we saw a Broadway play, co-produced by another friend.  

Favorite place to vacation: Anywhere I can have fun, relax and run!

Favorite book: Too many…any book which is inspirational or uplifting.

Favorite movie and/or television show: Remember the Titans

Favorite type of music and/or favorite artist: R&B: Lots of favorites, but my all-time favorite is Brian McKnight.  

Bucket list item #1: Finish visiting all states in the U.S.  

What’s the biggest challenge facing business education at the moment? Tuition!

“If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this…” Active learning

“And much less of this…” Lecturing without student interaction

Looking ahead 10 years from now, describe what “success” would be like for you: Teaching students!  I hope to be doing this for a very long time.  I am very grateful for having a job I simply love!

Students say…

Dr. Garner truly is a one-of-a-kind professor. She goes the extra mile to make sure that her students are not only comfortable with learning material, but also applying it to real-world situations. Beyond this, to the benefit of her students, Dr. Garner’s passion for teaching is demonstrated clearly by her positivity and enthusiasm in the classroom.” 

Professor Garner is an incredible professor. She cares so deeply about her students inside and out of the classroom. She encourages student interaction in every class and makes learning finance fun!”

It isn’t coincidence that my favorite business course, Financial Modeling, was taught by my favorite professor, Jacqueline Garner. She provides students with tangible skills to directly apply to future careers.”

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