Although Mike Drake was raised in Nevada, he calls BYU home. He spent three years at the BYU Marriott School of Business as a student, where he made lifelong memories, including meeting his wife, McKenzie; he then returned to the school as a professor out of a desire to feel at home again. He has taught in the School of Accountancy for 11 years and hopes to continue teaching there for the rest of his career.
“When asked where I’m from, I simply say, ‘I grew up in Reno, but I’m from BYU,’” Drake says. He has spent as much time at BYU as any other place he could call home. Drake first arrived at BYU in 1996 as an undergraduate studying accounting; he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2002 and a MAcc in 2003, both from BYU Marriott.
While working on his master’s degree, Drake decided he wanted to be a professor one day. He had the chance to teach a few classes as a teaching assistant for former BYU Marriott accounting professor Norm Nemrow. “I loved being in a classroom with students,” Drake says. After completing his PhD at Texas A&M University in 2009, Drake began to live his teaching dream as an assistant professor of accounting at The Ohio State University.
Although he enjoyed his time at Ohio State, in 2011 Drake jumped at the opportunity to teach at BYU Marriott. “Returning to BYU Marriott was a simple decision. I can teach what I love and enjoy, bathed in the gospel of Jesus Christ that I love and enjoy,” he says. Drake finds natural ways to share gospel principles in the classroom, where he currently teaches MBA and executive MBA classes.
Drake uses a case vignette approach to teach accounting to non-accountants pursuing an MBA degree. “I love making accounting digestible and interesting to non-accounting audiences,” he explains. “I find those classes the most challenging and rewarding.”
Outside of the classroom, Drake enjoys the opportunity to conduct research. He has published a variety of articles, covering everything from the effect of March Madness on financial markets to companies’ earnings announcements going viral on social media. “In a 1975 talk at BYU, President Spencer W. Kimball [then president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] expressed his hope that out of BYU ‘there will rise brilliant stars in all the scholarly graces,’” Drake says. “One way I believe I help fulfill this hope is by not only doing my best in the classroom to train the next generation of bright young professionals but also by getting them involved in research efforts.
“I am engaged in research nearly every day,” he continues. “I am grateful that BYU Marriott provides me with the resources and time to engage in top-quality research.” Drake enjoys answering difficult problems through data analysis and is grateful BYU Marriott always provides access to technology and databases that facilitate his research.
In 2020, he was appointed to the K. Fred Skousen professorship. “Having a professorship at BYU Marriott is an honor, but I am particularly honored that I have the Skousen chair because of the history he has at the Tanner Building,” Drake says. Skousen is a former dean of BYU Marriott and later served as advancement vice president for BYU.
In 2021, Drake hit the 10-year mark of his time as a professor at BYU Marriott. The milestone led him to reflect on his journey and his love for BYU. “Once I arrived on campus, I never wanted to leave,” he explains. “This university helps me in all of the important areas of my life. BYU strengthens my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, helped me find my wife and career, and now allows me to work in my dream job.”
Writer: Mike Miller