Five Questions with William Bazley
In our Five Questions series, faculty of the University of Kansas School of Business share their insights, experiences and advice for students.
William Bazley, an assistant professor of finance, recently joined the school’s Finance academic area from the University of Miami. His research focuses on household financial decision-making and incorporates aspects of behavioral, social and experimental finance.
What got you interested in your field, and what is the most rewarding part of being involved in it?
I began investing my earnings from summer jobs during high school, but I did not initially pursue finance at the beginning of my undergraduate studies. I started as a biology major. However, I recognized that finance should be my path after flipping through my roommate’s finance textbook. Looking back, I suppose I missed that early signal from my young self.
Finance plays an incredibly important role in households’ lives and welfare. Yet, traditionally, individuals’ exposure to the subject has been limited. I find the opportunity to be a part of changing that to be incredibly rewarding because acquiring financial knowledge can have substantial long-term benefits.
What made you want to pivot from working in portfolio management and consulting to teaching?
Two elements of academia attracted me. The research aspect provides a unique avenue for me to continue learning and discovering new insights about the dynamics between households, institutions and financial markets. Teaching offers a wonderful platform to share those insights, whether from scholarly activities or professional experiences, with students who may find them beneficial as they progress through life.
If you could require students to read one thing before graduation (outside of your class reading), what would it be and why?
Being a proponent of behavioral financial economics, I would suggest Dr. Richard Thaler’s “Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics.” He won the 2017 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work in the field, and this book provides many accessible insights into the human aspects of financial decision-making.
What excites you about your research?
I find it very exciting to discover new insights about the dynamics of financial decision-making. Our everyday choices are shaped by a multitude of factors, many of which may not be specifically relevant to the particular decision at hand. A similar process plays out when we make our financial choices. We are still at the early stages of understanding these dynamics, but doing so has the potential to yield options that could ultimately improve the outcomes that individuals realize from their decisions.
What advice would you give your college self?
Pursue one’s academic career seriously, but also capitalize on the unique flexibility of time that the college years can provide.
By Meaghan Boyd