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Faculty & Staff

Faculty Spotlight: Mark Beasley

Get to know Professor Mark Beasley, including what inspired his career, what he values most about working with students and what his life looks like outside of work.

Mark Beasley speaking at the 2023 ERM Roundtable Summit

What inspired you to pursue a career in accounting and academia?

Several “life coaches” have inspired my career. My parents inspired me to pursue accounting (they knew there were jobs in the field!); my auditing professor at Auburn introduced me to auditing career opportunities in public accounting; my boss in the Auditing Standards Division of the AICPA in New York inspired me to pursue an academic career; my dissertation chair at Michigan State inspired me to invest heavily in my teaching and in research to have an impact on students and the profession; and the COSO Board inspired to explore the emerging business paradigm of enterprise risk management. What can you learn from my experiences? Find amazing individuals and listen to what they have to say. They may open doors to opportunities you can’t see or envision. 

Share a memorable teaching moment or experience that significantly impacted one or more students.

There have been many. Each spring semester, I am privileged to lead graduate students in the ERM Practicum course, where students do hands-on consulting work, helping C-suite executives and boards of their client organizations identify and prioritize risks that might impact their organization’s business model and strategic success. At the beginning of each semester, students are often overwhelmed and somewhat intimidated by the prospect of sitting across the table interviewing CEOs, CFOs and board members (who are the ages of their parents and grandparents) about risks to their businesses. It is rewarding to observe those same students at the end of the semester standing in their client’s boardroom, explaining to the executives and boards the top risks their organizations may be facing. Seeing the executives lean in to hear what the students are sharing and listening to those executives dialogue with the students as if they were high-paid consultants is amazing to see and experience. Observing the students’ pride in what they have accomplished and sensing their new-found sense of confidence in their professional capabilities is hugely rewarding.

It is rewarding to observe students at the end of the semester standing in their client’s boardroom, explaining to the executives and boards the top risks their organizations may be facing.

How do you stay current in your field and bring that knowledge into the classroom?

Staying closely connected with the business community is key. The strong engagement of risk executives who serve on our ERM Initiative Advisory Board exposes me to real-world challenges these leaders face as they try to enhance their management of all the risks on the horizon for their organizations. The ERM executive education workshops we offer help fine-tune my abilities to teach and explain ERM processes, given those executives ask tough and challenging implementation questions. The advisory and consulting work I do to provide hands-on ERM coaching and consulting keeps me grounded in real-world realities when trying to implement high-level conceptual concepts in an applied manner. For example, I recently spent time leading all-day workshops with the ERM team at the United Nations. The complexities of the UN and the risks they deal with on a day-to-day basis (e.g., peacekeeping in Afghanistan, Ukraine, Gaza) forced me to think “out of the box” about how to implement ERM in one of the most risk-facing organizations in the world. Finally, serving on task forces and boards of thought-leadership organizations, such as the CAQ and COSO, keep me abreast of emerging issues on the horizon. 

What advice do you have for students interested in pursuing a career in accounting?

Engage, dive in, and learn as much as you can with the opportunities you are given. There will be more opportunities available than you have the bandwidth to try. Take advantage of opportunities that may seem risky but intriguing. Give your work your best, and doors that you can’t envision today will open tomorrow. You have several decades of a career ahead of you. So, don’t sweat the small stuff – keep the big picture in mind and take a long-term view of your career. Give things a try – you can tweak and adjust along the way.  

Outside of teaching and research, what hobbies or activities do you enjoy?

Spending time with my growing family (which now includes grandchildren!) is my primary hobby, whether that be a fun hike with them in the Colorado mountains, a walk along an NC beach or a great meal around our dining room table. Seeing life through my children’s and grandchildren’s eyes keeps me energized and alive. I also love to run and travel the world (eating all along the way!). Most importantly, my faith is core to what gives me hope and a future. So, investing time in strengthening that is a daily priority and enjoyment for me.