Brand Story – Chen brings a global, real-world view of finance to undergraduate and MBA students.
Fan Chen, Ph.D., has a passion for finance that fuels his teaching as well as his research on corporate bond and energy futures markets. At Pacific University, he teaches economics, finance and accounting to undergraduates and MBA students, with a focus on real-world applications. Chen’s work has been celebrated with awards for conference papers and teaching excellence, including the 2023 Pacific University Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching.
Pacific University’s 15-month MBA program has nearly doubled in size over the past few years and includes a healthcare management MBA and options for dual degrees with the College of Optometry and School of Pharmacy. Aimed at working professionals, the program offers an alternating weekend schedule at the university’s Hillsboro campus, along with synchronous remote access for students across the country. In addition to corporate landscape tours at Oregon employers, such as Nike and Stoller Wineries, a seven-day international travel experience brings students to a variety of companies.
“Dr. Chen’s excellence in teaching contributes to the strength of our MBA program and to the entire College of Business,” said Dean Jennifer Yruegas. “He not only helps prepare students for the complexities of an ever-changing business landscape but also offers mentorship that students can depend on years after graduating from Pacific.”
Born in China (in a village so small, he says no one here has heard of it), Chen went on to study finance and economics in Xiamen, Fujian Provence, China, and the Republic of Singapore before moving to the United States and earning a finance Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma. He has taught in Oklahoma and New York, as well as Oregon, and joined Pacific University in 2018. Students not only benefit from understanding different geographies, he says, but also from having a global view of economic and political changes—both to help them succeed in business and in managing their personal finances.
Chen infuses his classes with practical insights and uses current events to demonstrate economic concepts. For example, this year’s regional U.S. bank failures led to discussions on what happened: in part, sizeable corporate bond investments decreased in value as the Federal Reserve raised interest rates. And Russia’s unpredicted invasion of Ukraine prompted a look at global currencies and how international companies can make smart use of derivative contracts.
“Economies are dynamic, and one thing I’m trying to teach is how to identify the uncertainty of an economy and help a company manage its risks,” says Chen.
Pacific University’s small class size lets Chen get to know students well and, in the case of undergraduates, watch them grow and gain new knowledge and skills over the years.
“My parents never went to high school because they couldn’t afford to,” Chen says. “But I was really lucky because my parents understood the value of education. I want to show students a passion for learning and let them know how powerful education and knowledge are.”
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