Crummer Connections: Getting to Know Dr. Brian Walkup
Dr. Brian Walkup brings an entrepreneurial spirit and a unique perspective to Crummer.
Crummer Associate Professor of Finance Dr. Brian Walkup is a practical guy.
In the classroom, everything he teaches is with the intention of real-world applicability. With less of a focus on theories and formulas, Dr. Walkup prefers teaching his students how they can apply their financial knowledge to the work environment.
Initially, his desire to cut through the abstract and find real-world applicability had him questioning why he was studying math when he was in undergrad.
Enjoying calculations from a young age, Dr. Walkup naturally gravitated towards a math major. But as he moved through the curriculum, he realized he was moving further away from the numbers and more into theories. He took his concerns to his faculty advisor, wanting to find practicality for all the proofs and derivatives he was studying.
“I remember telling my faculty advisor, I’m doing well, but I don’t know what I can do with this once I graduate,” said Dr. Walkup.
His advisor knew of Dr. Walkup’s talent and wanted him to find an outlet that would allow him to see the application of quantitative tools, so he suggested he explore business finance courses.
“He recommended I take finance business courses, because the applications will be there,” said Dr. Walkup. “You get to see the output to a real-decision making product.”
Seeing all of the math click into real-world business environments opened the floodgates for Dr. Walkup’s passion in finance and eventual pursuit of a Ph.D in Finance.
Growing up in Venice, FL, Dr. Walkup is an early millennial.
While some of the younger millennials grew up with technology fully integrated into the zeitgeist of our society, it wasn’t until around college-age that smartphones started becoming prevalent for Dr. Walkup.
“I didn’t have a tech-driven childhood with information at the ready like some later millennials did,” he said.
Instead, Dr. Walkup’s childhood was filled with business all around him.
Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, his grandfather started a port-a-potty business called Little John that delivered portable restrooms to construction sites (that company was later acquired by a larger competitor).
His father was also an entrepreneur, first building the port-a-potty’s and then starting a fiberglass business, creating fiberglass patio furniture and skimboards.
After that, his father saw another need in the community and started a charter bus company.
“Lots of times we’d be cleaning out the busses late at night, picking up trash and getting them ready for trips the next morning,” recalled Dr. Walkup.
His experiences like cleaning busses taught him about the blood, sweat and tears that go into making a small business successful.
“Once you recognize the risks, you have to be ready to put in the work. It’s not easy and you have to work long hours and accept that there are going to be ups and downs, especially in the early stages,” said Dr. Walkup.
Although Dr. Walkup found his passion in academia, the perspectives he gained from his entrepreneurial upbringing are directly translated into the classroom.
In his class, you can expect to learn how finance ties into overall business function.
“While I teach finance, one of our goals is to teach how all aspects of a business works together, and nobody really understands that like an entrepreneur does,” said Dr. Walkup.
Finding His Purpose
A graduate of the Crummer Early Advantage MBA program himself, Dr. Walkup had the opportunity to take courses with professors he now gets to call colleagues.
He gained corporate business experience working at CNL Financial Group, but always had an itch to stay in academia.
“The Crummer faculty was part of that,” he said. “I saw the love between the faculty and what they were doing. It sparked my interest to stay in academia and replicate what they are able to do.”
When the chance arose for Dr. Walkup to teach at his alma matter, he jumped at the opportunity.
“I can say with certainty I’ll never regret my decision to get into academia, I genuinely enjoy it,” he said. “I get to interact with students, research topics, and have lifelong learning.”
Getting to see the students he teaches go on to succeed themselves makes it even more rewarding.
“I love getting to live vicariously through the students and see how they are using material they learn in class throughout their careers,” said Dr. Walkup.
He always urges his students to stay in touch, and if they ever need help identifying the NPV of a project at work or displaying cash flows, he’s there to help.
“I always tell my students, this isn’t the end of our journey. I want to be available to you throughout your careers. Always feel free to reach out,” said Dr. Walkup.