Berry’s inspiration to become a professor grew out of being a student at DePaul
University. While earning his MBA in finance, a space opened in the graduate
assistant program that allowed him to see the learning environment from the
“I got to teach a class and I loved it,” he explains.
“Everyone said, ‘Well, go get a PhD and you can do this,’ and so I did.”
his MBA here and completing his doctorate at the University of Missouri, Berry returned
to DePaul in 1981and has been here ever since. “I believe in the mission and
the people here have always been really great to me. Why leave?” he says. “I
think DePaul’s mission and the urban setting help make us unique. Particularly
for someone in the business field, being in the middle of Chicago’s business
center is great.”
been recognized multiple times through the years for his passion for teaching. He was presented with the Excellence in Teaching Award last fall at DePaul’s 117th Convocation, an award he has won four times before. In addition, he received the Lawrence Ryan Award for outstanding undergraduate teaching three times and was named to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Professors in 2002.
“It’s nice to have the recognition. There are a lot of good teachers
here, so if you win anything, you’re thrilled,” says Berry, who also is the
Driehaus College of Business’s academic director for finance.
Teaching Beyond the Book
undergraduate and graduate classes Berry teaches vary from financial theory and
corporate finance to managerial finance and decision theory. “The most
challenging course is the undergraduate introductory course because you have a
large group with very mixed levels of interest and motivation. For that reason
it’s my favorite,” Berry explains.
diverse student body creates a classroom environment that Berry appreciates. “Some
of the DePaul kids are pretty savvy from having worked with major companies,”
he explains, citing a recent class in which a student had worked at the Chicago
Mercantile Exchange and could ask advanced questions. “It’s great when a
student in your class knows a lot about a particular thing. It helps the others
realize this isn’t just in a textbook.”
practical approach to teaching carries over to his research, where one of his
favorite areas to explore is behavioral finance. “It takes us out of the purely
mechanical, rational world that was always assumed in economics, in which that
everybody does economically rational actions all of the time. Instead, human
behavior means that people do things that maybe don’t always fit that model,”
years in the finance field have also allowed him to track how the industry is
changing. He says lately he has been seeing more awareness of social issues by
firms. “I also see greater numbers of students who have a strong interest in
combining social goals with business,” he says. “In some ways this is already
shaping the business world—products, marketing, and so on—and I think it will
get more important over time.” Berry has written papers on the topic, including
“Socially Responsible Investing: An Investor’s Perspective,” which appeared in
the Journal of Business Ethics in 2013.
Keeping Things in Perspective
course of his career Berry has conducted credit and valuation seminars and
taught courses in Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Russia and
Spain. Most recently, he has been teaching in Bahrain through DePaul’s partnership with
the Bahrain Institute of Banking & Finance, going back each fall to conduct
classes on corporate finance and finance in emerging markets. He says he enjoys
the perks of teaching on two distinct campuses. “The culture’s so different,
the place is so different and it’s a great change of pace. Plus, it’s hot there
when it’s cold here!” says Berry, who will return to Bahrain this autumn
teaching obligations, Berry stays active outside of the classroom. He spends
time with his family, including his 5-year-old daughter, while enjoying museums
and dance performances in the heart of Chicago. Professionally, he participates
in numerous industry organizations and has served on the board of directors for
groups including the Academy of Finance, the Financial Management Association,
the Midwest Finance Association and the Academy of Financial Services.
work with students is what keeps him going as an academic. “When kids figure it
out, that’s the reward. It’s a little thing, but it means a lot,” Berry says. “Working
with students is great, and I remain friends with many former students.
Watching them succeed is what makes this the best job I can imagine.”
more about degrees within DePaul’s Department of Finance.