Despite the humor, her classes are no joke
2013 Silver Circle Award
Since 1966, the Silver Circle has been presented to some of UIC’s best teachers. What makes the award especially meaningful is its selection committee: the graduating seniors.
Clinical associate professor of finance
College of Business Administration
Mary Brown has more reason to celebrate this year’s Silver Circle than her four previous awards.
Brown, who began teaching after a successful health care management career, will retire in two years.
“I am so very, very honored,” says Brown, who has received at least five other teaching awards during her career. “This award is particularly meaningful.”
Brown taught her first business course in 1977. Since joining UIC in 1994, she has worked to build a connection between the finance industry and the classroom.
“I love quantitative analysis, and finance was one field where I could make use of what I learned either in academics, corporations or personally,” she says.
Because the field of finance is in constant flux, staying up to date is a challenge, Brown says.
“My lectures evolve literally from semester to semester and even week to week. The research to prepare or revise them is constant.”
Her ways of creating and delivering courses in finance have come out of her international experience teaching bank operations and management at the American University of Armenia, and teaching commercial banking for a cohort of Chinese bank employees as part of UIC’s Corporate MBA Program.
At UIC, she has developed new courses in venture capital/private equity and investment banking.
Editors at a publishing company were so impressed with Brown’s editing for a finance text that they asked her to sponsor an experimental blog on teaching methodology in finance. Each week, she wrote a short article to generate discussion by other finance faculty.
Although Brown mixes real-life examples with humor and anecdotes about her own mistakes, her classes are no joke.
“I’m known for very challenging exams,” she says. “Students are so delighted to see how they have improved since the last test. The important thing is that there is really good student-professor interaction.”
Thanks to social media, Brown tracks the success of many of her former students and the impact she’s had on their careers.
“Watching them become successful men and women means a lot to me,” she says. “You never know how something you say or do will affect a student.”