A Love For Research and Parables
PROVO, Utah – Jun 29, 2022 – When Brian Boyer was an undergraduate finance student at BYU, a pivotal conversation with one of his professors started him on the path to his future career. Now, as an associate professor of finance at the BYU Marriott School of Business, Boyer witnesses firsthand how his roles as a mentor and teacher can positively influence the direction of his own students’ careers.
“I enjoy working with students who are ambitious, who want to do good in the world,” Boyer says. “I stay in contact with my students, and many of them now have successful careers. Knowing I played a small role in their lives is gratifying.”
Boyer joined the BYU Marriott faculty in 2004 and currently teaches both undergraduate finance and MBA courses, including MBA 629: Silver Fund, a class where students manage a real-dollar stock portfolio. In the class, students learn how to value companies and develop an investment thesis, skills that are valuable for students interested in asset management, private equity, and investment banking. The class involves students from finance, accounting, economics, mathematics, and computer science programs and is jointly taught with BYU Marriott adjunct professor Brandon Bates and assistant professor Ian Wright.
Boyer hopes his students can benefit from his classes in the same way he benefited from working as an undergrad student with Jim McDonald, Clayne L. Pope Professor of Economics Emeritus at BYU. “McDonald was an incredibly inspiring teacher and scholar,” says Boyer. “He brought rigor to the classroom, demanded top performance of his students, and is also one of the most kind, loving, and compassionate individuals I have ever known. Because of him, I decided to pursue a PhD. I hope to follow his model of teaching and scholarship in some small way.”
After graduating from BYU with his undergraduate degree in economics, Boyer worked as a research assistant at the Federal Reserve in Washington, DC, where he worked in the Division of International Finance. “Most of the time, we had flexibility to work on long-term research projects that involved big questions and took a lot of slow, careful thinking,” says Boyer. “However, sometimes Alan Greenspan, chair of the Federal Reserve, would come to our offices and want immediate answers to something very specific, such as, ‘How solvent are banks currently in Indonesia?’ We would drop everything and rush to find the answers he wanted.”
While in DC, Boyer coauthored several research papers, which further fueled his interest in a research-focused career and prompted him to earn a PhD from the University of Michigan. After his graduation in 2004, he was hired by the finance department at BYU Marriott as an assistant professor. Since then, Boyer’s research has been published several times in top finance journals, including the Journal of Finance and the Review of Financial Studies. He also helped launch an annual academic finance conference with Keith Vorkink, advancement vice president of BYU, and Tyler Shumway, professor of finance. The conference, referred to as the BYU Redrock Conference, is in its eleventh year and brings together some of the best finance academics across the world to present and discuss finance research.
Inside the classroom, Boyer tries to convey to his students what he knows about not only the finance sector but also God’s merciful nature. “I love the parable of the talents because the simple story provides a variety of lessons on many different levels that can take on different meanings for different people,” says Boyer. “In my view, when the servant hides his talent in the earth, he shows his distrust for the master and his concerns that the investment might fail for reasons beyond his control. He worries that the master may not be totally fair and understanding.
“The master responds, ‘Thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed,'" Boyer continues, quoting from Matthew 25:26. "In other words, the master says, ‘Yes, I am a master that is unfair and unjust, not because I am arbitrary, but because I am merciful. The starkest evidence of such mercy is that large sum of money you are holding in your hand! That money was given to you freely not because you earned the money, not because the laws of justice demanded that you own the money, but because I am merciful.'
“In life, many things happen that are beyond our control," Boyer concludes. "However, with this perspective, we can move forward with faith and invest ourselves fully in God’s work, trusting that no matter the exact outcome, in the end, God is merciful.”
Outside of his job, Boyer enjoys spending time with his wife, Tanya, and their three children. Boyer maintains close relationships with his children through a variety of outdoor activities, including running, backcountry skiing, hiking, and rock climbing. In addition, Boyer leads a chapter of a worldwide finance organization, the Young Investors Society, at his son’s high school, where he extends his role as a teacher of finance to students outside of his normal classroom.
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Sarah Calvert