Ergen Professor of Business
University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Thinking of becoming a CPA, but wondering what your real-life experience would be like? Bruce Behn could give you a full-on simulation.
As the Ergen Professor in Business and a professor of accounting at the University of Tennessee, he shows students how to analyze financial statements as well as manage costs, and if you’re a junior in UT’s Master of Accountancy Program, he’ll even put you through the semester-long “Marketplace” simulation.
Picture yourself running an entire virtual business. You’re responsible for developing the business model, producing the product and even paying your employees.
Sound challenging? It is, but it also gives you the kind of hands-on experience job recruiters are looking for. And Bruce really enjoys mentoring students as they learn the ropes of business. “I love my job,” he says. “Every day I get to work with very smart, gifted people.” It must be doubly nice to know he’s helping make those gifted students even smarter, just as he was helped – Bruce was the first person in his family to go to college. That surely planted the seeds for a love of teaching. In addition, the pay is good, stability excellent, and the flexibility is, “priceless,” says Bruce. “And I never wear a tie.”
“Every year my family and I get to travel for at least a month,” he says. “We have spent time in Spain, England, Australia and the Netherlands,” he says, “And we’re going to Italy this year.”
That sounds like a simulation just about anybody would be up for. Here’s Bruce’s analysis: “Getting an accounting degree and becoming a CPA were what opened the doors,” he says. “If you want a job that is exciting, pays well and lets you make a difference, the CPA path is the way to go.”
“The pay is good, stability excellent, and the flexibility is, riceless." And I never wear a tie.”
Years as a CPA: 34
Best job: My current job
Worst job: Foundry (shoveling sand under shaker)
Hobbies outside of work: Hunting and fishing
Pets: 2 pugs named Frank and Tex
Words to live by: "Work hard, play hard and make a difference."