Our faculty has significantly impacted the world of business. Each faculty member expertly integrates knowledge with practical application and competitive insights. Their experience is drawn from superior academic backgrounds, coupled with real world business experience.
PhD, MBA, BS, UCLA
Bob Turrill specializes in organizational behavior and design. He has won numerous awards for his teaching, including a Golden Apple Award and the Evan C. Thompson Award for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching.
MBA, University of Southern California; BA, UCLA
Scott Abrams specializes in corporate finance, portfolio management, financial analysis and valuation, and microeconomics. He teaches these subjects in both the graduate and undergraduate programs at USC Marshall. In addition, Professor Abrams is the co-instructor for the MBA and Undergraduate Student Investment Fund classes. He is the 2016 Golden Apple Teaching Award Winner for the Full-Time MBA Core Program. Professor Abrams received his MBA from USC Marshall and is an alumnus of the SIF Program (2004). Prior to joining the faculty at USC Marshall, he worked in corporate finance at Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. In addition, he is an alumnus of Deloitte and is a licensed CPA.
MRED, University of Southern California; BA, Reed College; B. Arch, Southern California Institute of Architecture
Robert Bridges specializes in real estate feasibility and urban economics. As a consultant, his clients include investment and development firms, and international and domestic investors. His editorials have been published in the Wall Street Journal, and has been cited by the Los Angeles Times and National Public Radio, among other outlets. Professor Bridges received USC's Steven Sample Award for Teaching and Marshall's Award for Community. He is a licensed architect who has received awards from the LA Business Council, the Ray Watt Foundation, the Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute and the American Institute of Architects.
PhD, University of Southern California; MA, University of San Diego; BA, Claremont McKenna College
Stephen Byars has received the Outstanding Assistant Lecturer Award from the Writing Program at USC as well as the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award from the School of Religion at USC. He also nominated in May 2010 by the USC Parents Association for its Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring Award. Since joining USC full-time in 1997, Professor Byars has spent considerable time in the teaching and administration of different versions of Writing 340, including Advanced Writing for Business.
PhD, MA, University of Rochester; BS, Fudan University
Baizhu Chen studies macroeconomics and international economics, with an emphasis on China. His work has been published in the Journal of Peace Research, European Journal of Political Economy, China Economic Review, Applied Financial Economics, Social Choice and Welfare, and Journal of Macroeconomics. He is Senior Researcher at the Institute of Finance and Banking at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, chief economist of Sino-Century Capital, a VC firm in Shanghai, and former president of the Chinese Economists Society. He is academic director for Marshall's GEMBA program, and a recipient of the Golden Apple Award.
PhD, University of Southern California; MPA, BA, BS, Brigham Young University
Michael Coombs specializes in strategic management, individual and organizational development, globalization, and negotiation. He is the recipient of the Outstanding Young Man of America and of the U.S. Navy Achievement Medal. He has consulted for a variety of organizations, including ARCO Transportation Company and The Aerospace Corporation.
Ph.D., Stanford University
Nathanael Fast studies the factors that facilitate and hinder effective leadership. His research examines the determinants and consequences of power and status in groups and organizations as well as the interpersonal processes that lead people, ideas, and practices to become and stay prominent. He is also interested in the psychological underpinnings of social networks as well as the individual and organizational implications of the adoption of new technologies. His findings have been published in top-tier academic journals and are featured regularly in popular media outlets. He earned his Ph.D. in organizational behavior at Stanford University and has received numerous awards for his teaching and research.
JD, Chapman University; BS, University of Southern California
Kevin Fields teaches business law and real estate law to Marshall’s undergraduates. Professor Fields is a practicing attorney specializing in business litigation and representing clients in business and real estate transactions. He has tried real estate, employment and real estate business cases in state and federal courts and administrative forums. He is also a licensed California broker. In 2012 he received Gamma Sigma Alpha’s Professor of the Year Award. He is a co-author of Contemporary Real Estate Law, a real estate law textbook for undergraduate and graduate business schools scheduled for national release in 2013.
BBA, Loyola Marymount University; MBA University of Southern California; MSBA University of Southern California
Christopher J. Harrer is a successful entrepreneur and educator with over 30 years experience in the finance, real estate, and service industries. He is an Adjunct Professor at the USC Marshall School of Business and has been teaching at the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies since 2002 and has won the student-voted Golden Apple Teaching Award.
An accomplished entrepreneur in the hospitality and information management industries, Harrer was the founder of United Document Storage LLC and Pacifico’s LLC prior to successfully selling both companies.
MBA, BS, University of Southern California
Knapp is the Academic Director of the Master's of Science in Entrepreneurship and Innovation and an Associate Professor of Clinical Entrepreneurship in the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. His teachings encompass all facets of entrepreneurial studies including Venture Management, Feasibility Analysis, Business Planning and Launching. Knapp developed the “E”-Challenge and a new course for students involved in a family firm: Entrepreneurial Family Business. A three-time Golden Apple Award winner for outstanding teaching as voted on by the student body. Knapp is founder of Club Sportswear and Honolua Surf Co, an Action Sports Industry leader, and partner in Blue Jay Bay Ventures a real-estate investment firm.
MBA, University of Southern California; BS, California State University, Fresno
Rex Kovacevich specializes in the direct marketing of retail and small business financial products. He is a recipient of the Golden Apple Award and the Faculty Award for Innovation in Teaching and created Marshall's first online undergraduate core course. While in the corporate world, he progressed through different product management and sales management positions with a major California bank. He has also done consulting work for several small and large organizations in the financial services industry.
PhD, MS, UC-Berkeley; BS, UC-Davis
Kyle Mayer studies how firms govern relationships with other firms, with particular attention to the contract and its role in establishing a framework for the relationship. His research has been published in Organizational Science, Academy of Management Journal, Management Science, and Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization. He served on the editorial board of Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, Academy of Management Review, and Strategic Management Journal. He received a Golden Apple Award in 2003, Marshall's Educator of the Year Award in 2006, and a Mellon Mentoring Award from USC in 2006.
MBA, University of Southern California; BA, Loyola Marymount University
Julia Plotts specializes in financial analysis and valuation, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate finance. She is the author of several valuation case studies and contributed to Valuation: The Art and Science of Corporate Investment Decisions. Professor Plotts has been teaching corporate finance and financial analysis and valuation in the EMBA, GEMBA, MBA.PM, IBEAR, and undergraduate programs since 2002. She has received the Golden Apple Award for Teaching Excellence nine times and the Evan C. Thompson Teaching & Learning Innovation Award for Teaching (2011) and Mentoring (2012) and the Dean’s Award for Community (2010). Prior to joining the faculty at USC, Plotts worked within the investment-banking group of Banc of America Securities LLC, where she was involved in the execution of mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyout/recapitalization and capital raising via private/public offerings of equity and debt. She has consulted on shareholder value and corporate strategy for a variety of firms.
Ph.D., Stanford; B.S., University of Michigan
Smrity Randhawa is an Accounting scholar whose area of expertise spans financial accounting, managerial accounting, valuation, disclosure and corporate governance. Smrity holds a PhD in Business from the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University. In her research, she has studied the effect of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act on small public companies. At Marshall School of Business she has taught classes ranging from Introductory Accounting for undergraduate students to Financial Statement Analysis for graduate students. In addition to her faculty duties, she also provides consulting services related to: bankruptcy analysis; fair value accounting measurements and valuations; and provides opinions on the analysis of other experts.
Violina Rindova teaches and studies strategic innovation -- how firms create value, intangible assets, and new market opportunities through unconventional strategies across a variety of industry contexts. Her work has been published in the premier management journals and has been covered frequently in the business media, including the Economist, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. She is the recipient of multiple grants and awards, including the “Thought Leadership” award from the Entrepreneurship Division of the Academy of Management (2009), and the award for outstanding scholarly contribution from Strategic Organization (2012). She served as an Associate Editor of the Academy of Management Review and is currently part of the leadership team of the Behavioral Strategy Interest Group of the Strategic Management Society.
PhD, MS, Utah State University; MS, BS: Lebanese American University
Abbass Sharif’s specialty is in the field of statistical computing and data visualization. Professor Sharif has developed and published new multivariate visualization techniques for functional data and currently he is developing visualization techniques to study brain activity data collected via the near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) technology. Professor Sharif teaches statistics courses that range from introductory statistics to data analysis for decision-making through to advanced modern statistical learning techniques.
MBA, UC-Berkeley; BA, CSU-Hayward
Kendall Simmonds is a two-time receipient of the prestigious Marshall School of Business Golden Apple Excellence in Teaching Award. He has served as Director of the Marshall Undergraduate Honors Program and is currently the Director of the Leventhal School Summer Leadership Program (SLP). He is a member of the National Association of Financial Planners, National Association of Accountants, National Association of Black Accountants, and American Accounting Association.