2020 Best Undergraduate Professors: Parveen Gupta, Lehigh University

Parveen Gupta of Lehigh University is a 2020 Poets&Quants Best Undergraduate Business School Professor

Parveen P. Gupta

William L. Clayton Distinguished Professor of Accounting

Lehigh University College of Business

Parveen Gupta is an award-winning professor of accounting at Lehigh University. At Lehigh since 1987, it might be easiest to list the awards Gupta has not won. In 2019, Gupta received the College of Business’s Mentorship Excellence Award. He’s received awards for undergraduate advising, teaching, and mastery of his area. Gupta has received awards from the College of Business, Lehigh University, and statewide accounting organizations.

Outside of the classroom, Gupta’s current research is fascinating.

Currently, we are studying to understand whether certain social responsibility disclosures (i.e., use of conflict minerals from Africa) mandated by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Law mitigate or exacerbate the information asymmetry in the U.S. equity markets,” Gupta says. “The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) produces the most minerals used in products manufactured by the tech industry. These minerals are mined using women and children forced to work under dangerous and life-threatening conditions.”

After graduating with a law degree in civil law from the University of Delhi in India, Gupta came to the U.S. to earn a Ph.D. in Business Administration with an Accounting Concentration from Penn State University

Current age: 21 years (I wish) 

At current institution since what year? 1987

Education: Ph.D. in Business Administration with Concentration in Accounting, Penn State University; LL.B (J.D.) in Civil Law, University of Delhi, India

List of courses you currently teach: Introduction to Financial Accounting; Intermediate Accounting; Governance, Risk and Control. 


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… Being a business school professor was never part of my so-called “life’s plan.” It is completely serendipitous that I made my career in academia and love it. I tell my students all the time that they should keep an open mind because sometimes you don’t even know yourselves what you like! 

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? Currently, we are studying to understand whether certain social responsibility disclosures (i.e., use of conflict minerals from Africa) mandated by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Law mitigate or exacerbate the information asymmetry in the U.S. equity markets. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) produces the most minerals used in products manufactured by the tech industry. These minerals are mined using women and children forced to work under dangerous and life-threatening conditions. Since the militia controls the mines, the revenue from the sale of these minerals actively funds the conflict and war in this region leading to a serious humanitarian crisis. In the hope of disrupting the link between mineral mining and the ongoing violence in DRC, the U.S. Congress required the public companies operating in the U.S. to disclose the sourcing of these minerals in their annual filings through the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) financial reporting system. Normally, more disclosures through this system facilitate higher transparency in capital markets that reduces adverse private and social consequences which, in turn, promotes equity and fairness. We discover that congressionally mandated social responsibility disclosures using SEC’s financial reporting system, in fact, exacerbate information asymmetry in the U.S. equity markets thereby imposing unnecessary costs on the investors in the form of higher adverse private and social consequences let alone higher compliance costs on the U.S. businesses.     

If I weren’t a business school professor, I’d be… Who knows? Maybe an actor (or a partner in a public accounting firm).

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? Teaching is not a transaction to me; it is the beginning of a life-long relationship with a student who would later become a colleague and a friend.

One word that describes my first time teaching: Excited and Scared!

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: I wish someone would have told me how impactful this profession is. My sentiment is captured in this quote by Christa McAuliffe, the teacher who perished in the space shuttle Challenger disaster: “I touch the future. I teach.” 

Professor I most admire and why: Many have inspired and supported me throughout my life and I am grateful to all of them. But I have the most admiration and love for Professor Mark W. Dirsmith, my Ph.D. advisor. He taught me many things but most importantly he taught me “No guts, no glory” which until today continues to inspire me to get out of my comfort zone. I am still in touch with him. I am like one of his kids. 


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? I enjoy most their intellectual curiosity, big dreams, boundless energy and one-on-one interaction in and outside of the class.  

What is most challenging? Keeping pace with ever-changing technology and integrating it into curriculum and my classes. 

In one word, describe your favorite type of student: A good listener (Sorry, three words)

In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Someone who habitually misses classes and the classwork.

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Tough but fair and always available and willing to help them succeed.


What are your hobbies? Being a DJ for “Music of India” at radio station WMUH 91.7FM once a month; Playing with my grandchildren as often as I can; Traveling during summers; and Enjoying new and different types of cocktails over the weekend made by my son (a Lehigh grad) who plays robotic surgeon during the day and bartender by night. 

How will you spend your summer? Quarantined at home-reading and writing

Favorite place(s) to vacation: Turks and Caicos

Favorite book(s): Moby Dick by Herman Melville and Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe 

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? I have many favorite movies. One that comes to my mind is a 1981 movie “Victory.” It is a movie about allied prisoners of War, who accept the challenge of a soccer game from a German National Team. The game is to be played in Nazi-occupied Paris with plans for the team’s escape. But the team abandons the scheduled plan to return to the game after half-time with determination to defeat Nazis in the game to spectators’ delight who break the barriers to rush into the playing field to help the team members escape. I like this movie because it shows the desire to excel even in the face of adversity. A great lesson for life.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? I am originally from India. Thus, I still enjoy Bollywood Music, which has elements of all genres—classical, rock, pop, hip-hop, folk, blues, country and of course singing. I like this music because it seamlessly integrates romance and tragedy, happy and sad, acceptance and rejection and all other myriad of emotions that we experience in our lives. 


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… Student-faculty interaction outside of the traditional classroom environment to engage with the students in discussing things that they are interested in and are excited about.

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… De-bureaucratizing themselves to unleash the individual entrepreneurial spirit to solve societal problems confronting us in innovative ways.

I’m grateful for… Everything and to everyone in my life with whom my path has crossed. It has been a tremendous journey so far. I would hope that in my academic career I have been able to positively impact, at least one life, if not more.  

Faculty, students, alumni, and/or administrators say: 

“I can say with confidence that Professor Gupta has made a profound impact on not only my 4 years at Lehigh University or my future career as a consultant but on who I am today. The lessons he has taught me in the classroom have helped to shape me into the intelligent, quick-minded, confident woman I am today. Professor Gupta never gave me the answers – instead, he taught me how to find them. However, it isn’t just me who feels this way about Professor Gupta. Nearly every single Lehigh student you would talk to would likely tell a similar story on the tremendous impact Professor Gupta has had on our lives, and on the culture and accounting department of Lehigh University. I couldn’t think of a better person to win this award. Professor Gupta is the embodiment of what every single University should look for in a Professor: someone who is passionate about their subject matter, has a love for both teaching and research, and most importantly, puts his students above everything else. I feel extremely thankful that I had Professor Gupta during my sophomore year as my into to intermediate accounting, and that he will remain both a career and life mentor throughout the rest of my life.”

“I first met Professor Gupta when I joined the Lehigh in Prague program my sophomore summer. As my professor he went above and beyond working with me on my final project. He would take the time to meet every week and discuss research that I had found and bounce ideas off of one another. He never treated us a lesser than. He treated us as an equal, someone who wanted to learn from his students and also wanted to share his own knowledge. He gained so much respect from me and my classmates as he shared his life story, research, achievements, and accounting knowledge. Something I admire dearly about Professor Gupta is he put forth effort to stay in touch even after the Lehigh in Prague program ended. He has been someone I go to for help in other accounting classes that he isn’t even teaching, CPA advice, and even life advice. He even took the time to come to one of my track meets during my athletic career at Lehigh. He goes above and beyond for everyone around him and puts others before him and that is why I believe he is very deserving of this award.”

“As a Lehigh University faculty member, 1972 to 2018 and chair of the Accounting Department for almost 20 years, I nominate a colleague, Professor Parveen P. Gupta. Parveen’s excellence as a superb teacher is recognized by several awards, including (1) national recognition: winning the 2005 Innovation in Accounting Education Award, (2) Lehigh’s 2009 Robert and Christine Staub Faculty Excellence Award for undergraduate teaching, (3) Lehigh’s 2014 Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Award for Excellence in Teaching, University-wide, (4) 2016 Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants Outstanding Accounting Educator Award, and (5) Favorite Business Professors of the Class of 2020, Poets and Quants. Parveen relates to students with both introductory and upper level courses. When there are multiple sections of a course, in which he is the instructor, students rush to sign up with one of his sections. This occurs although Parveen is considered a very challenging professor with rigorous homework assignments, class questioning, and tough exams and grades. It is interesting that Parveen’s courses have attracted considerable media attention. He is a highly sought-after speaker at conferences and regularly comments in the media on ethics, governance, risk and control related issues. As chairperson of Lehigh’s Accounting Department, I saw the student evaluation scores for faculty courses, and Parveen’s were excellent, yet he was very challenging. Parveen has won several teaching awards. In addition, his extensive professional involvement has also enabled him to supplement the classroom textbook material. He is nationally well-known in this field, as evidenced by the various invitations for him to share his research with the PCAOB and the SEC. To me the one most significant aspect of his teaching has been his ability to find the time to do all the items mentioned above and also have time for his students outside of class. Whether his formal office hours or not, Parveen is readily available for students.”

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