2021 Best Undergraduate Professors: Stephen McKeon, University of Oregon, Lundquist College of Business

Stephen McKeon

University of Oregon, Lundquist College of Business

“Steven teaches the basics of finance flawlessly and clearly communicates using real world examples. His personal guidance on various business endeavors has been invaluable.” – Ethan Rife, student

Stephen McKeon, 45, is Associate Professor of Finance, an Inman Research Scholar, and the academic director of the Cameron Center for Finance and Securities Analysis at University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business. He has been at Lundquist since 2011, and he has a PhD and MS from Purdue University.  

He currently teaches Alternative Investments, Advanced Corporate Finance, Masters Investment Group, and Fundamentals of Finance (Honors cohort).

His expertise includes crypto assets, private equity, and corporate risk taking, and his research has been published in the Journal of Financial Economics, Review of Financial Studies, and Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis. He previously worked with Collab+Currency, a venture capital firm, and was a chief financial officer at a winery in Napa Valley. He is co-founder of Skywar, a commercial drone software company which was acquired by Verizon.

He is the winner of the Ripple Faculty Fellowship and the Harry R. Jacobs, Jr. Professional Service Award. He’s also won several teaching awards including the Ersted Award for Distinguished Teaching and five James E. Reinmuth MBA Teaching Excellence Awards.


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I was burning out as a CFO and called a former professor for life advice.  He told me to become a professor. It turns out that I’m easily persuaded.

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? I spend all of my time on web3 (i.e. crypto).  Most people go through the same mental journey on this topic: (i) This won’t work, (ii) Maybe there’s something here, (iii) This will change everything. What I’ve learned is that it’s important to quickly migrate people from (i) to (ii), which can be done in an hour or two. Transitioning from (ii) to (iii) takes longer and is more of an individual exercise.  Here’s what you eventually discover: People think of crypto as a financial technology, which it is, but at the same time it’s a social technology.  Programmable value will certainly change the field of finance, but provable ownership of digital assets will also alter the course of culture, entertainment, and human organization.

If I weren’t a business school professor, I’d be… A web3 venture fund manager 

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? Connecting theory to application

One word that describes my first time teaching: Liberating

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: You will learn as much from your students as they learn from you.

Professor I most admire and why: Aaron Wright, for pushing the boundaries of human organization. Cam Harvey, David Yermack, and Christian Catalini for being among the first B-school professors to expose students to crypto.


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? Evolving their worldview

What is most challenging? Evolving their worldview induces cognitive dissonance

In one word, describe your favorite type of student:  Non-conformist

In one word, describe your least favorite type of student:  Whiny

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as…Someone who doesn’t like grading.


What are your hobbies? Motorcycles and tractors.  My version of thinking fast and slow.

How will you spend your summer? Finding and funding people trying to change the world.

Favorite place(s) to vacation: Costa Rica

Favorite book(s): Cryptoassets by Burniske and Tatar.  It’s out of date now, but it changed my life in 2017.

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? Pulp Fiction. Probably a common answer for people who graduated high school in 1995.

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? Those who are embracing web3 such as RAC, Kygo, Pussy Riot, and Snoop.


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… Industry engagement

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… Preparing for the change that is coming.  Web3 models often do not look like previous business models.  Many organizations will require self-disruption to stay relevant.  Empower the people in your organization who are excited by, rather than fearful of, this challenge.

I’m grateful for… Everything.  Success is not achieved independently.  There are always teammates, and there are always antecedents with dependencies.  We all stand on the shoulders of giants.

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