The Elucidator

SCHOOL OF BUSINESS PROFESSOR SHREESH DESHPANDE IS A MASTER OF STEP-BY-STEP PRECISION.

Mergers and acquisitions, capital budgeting, bond and stock valuation, leverage. The vocabulary of corporate finance is enough to confound the average person. But University of San Diego business students must become well versed in the nuances of these complex topics. Fortunately for them, Corporate Finance Professor Shreesh Deshpande is there to illuminate the path and lead them to understanding and even enlightenment.

A key faculty member at USD’s ac-claimed School of Business Administration since 1988, Deshpande teaches multiple sections of corporate finance, a required course at both the undergraduate and MBA levels. He’s often one of the first instructors business majors meet. And, as it turns out, one they’re most unlikely to forget.

Why? One reason is that students consistently give Deshpande high marks for his expertise in demystifying accounting terms and formulas. In class lectures and generous office hours, he presents each concept with step-by-step precision, and patiently answers every question raised.

“We have to make some assumptions when forecasting future cash flows,” Deshpande tells first-semester MBA candidates learning how to evaluate potential business opportunities. “I’m going to give you guidelines on how to make reasonable assumptions.”

He turns to the whiteboard and divides the cash-flow question into three components, each expressed by a formula and each presented clearly enough for non-business majors to understand.

Deshpande’s characteristic clarity is a big reason he’s won numerous teaching awards over the years. His repertoire also includes MBA courses in investments and advanced corporate finance, plus an undergraduate class in personal finance that covers such useful topics as consumer credit, tax planning and investing for retirement.

To keep his lectures fresh, Deshpande makes a point of maintaining connections with San Diego’s business leaders.

“I really listen to what finance executives in San Diego are thinking about, and I bring that to my students,” he says. “They appreciate it. It’s interesting for a lot of them to hear real-world examples.”

Deshpande’s research agenda, like his teaching, focuses on corporate finance, with additional attention devoted to derivatives and international finance. He’s currently completing a three-year study on employee ownership in private companies, funded by a major grant from the San Diego-based Foundation for Enterprise Development.

Deshpande didn’t set out to become an expert in corporate finance. As an undergraduate in India, he studied mechanical engineering, and he relished his first job in the field. But while pursuing an MBA at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., the young engineer fell in love with finance.

“It was very logical,” he explains. “It made a lot of sense to me.”

So much sense that Deshpande went on to earn a PhD in the subject at Penn State. He took an initial teaching position at Concordia University in Montreal before moving to San Diego, where both he and his wife, an environmental scientist, saw better career opportunities. The position at USD fit Deshpande well, and still does.

“I like it here,” he says. “I’ve always had good students, and over my 23 years, the quality has continued to grow by leaps and bounds. Word is getting out that USD is a good great place to get an education.” — Sandra Millers Younger

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