It’s Back to School time, with school supplies on sale and students beginning new chapters at every turn. In this issue of Know Your Network, EmoryBusiness.com asked alumni about their experience at Emory along with ways they navigate career and life.
Lisa LaViers 11C 18PhD
Assistant Professor of Accounting
A.B. Freeman Business School
Please provide a 3-5 sentence biography covering your career and personal life.
Lisa LaViers teaches undergraduates managerial accounting, and her research focuses on issues related to performance management and control. She often does fieldwork studying companies on location and experiments examining employee behavior in a lab. In addition, she holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Emory University. She is also happily married to Mark Kim, a fellow Goizueta graduate.
What was the deciding factor in continuing your education?
After taking some doctoral-level courses at Goizueta, I decided that doing research in accounting was a great fit for my interests. In order to do that research, I need to be a professor. To be a professor, I needed a PhD. It wasn’t a tough decision because the degree was a necessary condition of my future employment. I applied to schools all over the country, but choose to stay at Emory because of the strength of our program and the character of our faculty. I felt that the faculty at Emory would train me to think for myself and not just to execute others’ ideas.
Why is returning to school still the best decision?
People outside of accounting might not know that for Managerial Accounting, the type that I specialize in, Emory’s PhD is at least a top-five program in the country. I would say it’s #1, but I might be biased. Everywhere I go, people know who Kristy Towry, my advisor, is and have the utmost respect for my training. It has opened doors for me all over the world.
Also, I’m very proud to have gone to a program like Emory, which has had a long history of promoting women to leadership positions and has females at every level of the department. Other schools I interviewed at had absolutely no females in the room. I had three female full professors on my dissertation committee and that’s nearly unheard of. This is an example of how Goizueta is not afraid to invest in women, to make them [faculty] chairs, and to grant them tenure. How much money a school invests in female professors is a very strong indicator of how much they will invest in female students. I feel the accounting department invested everything they could into my education, and I hope I’m making them proud!
Who inspires you and why?
My sister is a professor of engineering. She inspires me because of how brave her research ideas are! Nothing is too big or too difficult for her to study. I’m impressed at the interdisciplinary teams of people she puts together to study complex problems in the world.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received, in business or life?
Actress/director Mindy Kaling says, “Why not me?” When I was younger, I was scared to state bold dreams out loud. Once I flipped the script from “Why me?” to “Why not me?” it was easier to go after my professional dreams. They have to hire someone! Why not me?
What is your definition of success?
For me, my success is in the usefulness of my ideas. I hope that my work can help real businesses and the hardworking people behind them have an easier day. If I can help people be more productive and be able to go home from work an hour earlier, I’m happy.
Is there a lasting lesson, memory or skill gained from business school that you particularly remember or credit your success to? Please describe.
My best memory from Emory is meeting my husband Mark! My husband has played no small role in my success. That man would not let me drop out of my PhD program when it got hard and I was miserable. He has moved across the country for me and my job twice! Without his support, I’d be a significantly less happy and successful person.
Please describe some professional and personal goals.
I want to write a book and finally convince my husband that we need another puppy.
What is a professional moment or accomplishment you are most proud of and why?
I’m very proud of being hired at Tulane. It’s a world-class business school (second to only one!), and it’s an honor to join this group of people.
What advice do you have for today’s business students?
My biggest advice to my own students is to remember that who you were yesterday doesn’t have to be who you are today. In today’s world of social media where so much of their lives seem to be documented forever online, students feel like it’s impossible to change. Somehow they need to keep fitting whatever image of themselves is already out there on Instagram. “If I told everyone I wanted to be an accountant, I have to do that!” You are 19 years old! You are allowed to change your mind, your hair, your major, your personality, nothing is set in stone!