Let's meet Minjae Kim

Earlier this year, Minjae joined the Alberta School of Business as an assistant professor in the Department of Accounting and Business Analytics.

Earlier this year, Minjae joined the Alberta School of Business as an assistant professor in the Department of Accounting and Business Analytics. He recently earned a PhD in Accounting from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. He also holds a MS degree in Business and Technology Management (with a specialization in Finance) from the Korean Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST) as well as a BE degree in Electrical Engineering and a BBA degree, both from Korea University. His research interests include regulatory disclosure, real effects, peer effects, managerial myopia, fintech and financial institutions.

How did you first become interested in business in general, and specifically accounting? What drew you to this area?

I initially pursued a major in engineering during my undergraduate studies because I was driven by the desire to solve real-world problems through technology. While working as an engineer at the beginning of my career, I discovered a deep passion for making a positive impact on people's lives. This realization led me to explore different fields, and it was during this exploration that I came across "The Big Short" by Michael Lewis. This book shed light on the enormous influence of the financial sector on the lives of individuals and the broader economy. I was captivated by the way financial systems worked and the potential for positive change within this sector.

Inspired by my newfound interest in finance, I made the conscious decision to return to academia to study financial economics. During my graduate studies, while specializing in Finance and working on my Master's thesis, I delved into the intricate world of accounting. It became apparent that accounting measurement and disclosure rules played a pivotal role, especially in the wake of the last financial crisis. This revelation solidified my commitment to this field, as I recognized the profound impact that sound accounting practices can have on the stability and transparency of the financial system.


Tell us a bit more about what you’re currently focusing on in your research.

My primary research focus is within the field of financial accounting. Much of my work focuses on the effects of information disclosure on the behavior of market participants. Specifically, I am interested in regulatory disclosure (i.e., disclosure of firm information by regulators), real effects and peer effects. I am also interested in research on managerial myopia, fintech and financial institutions.

One of my ongoing projects delves into the role of regulatory disclosure and intervention in shaping firm behaviors. In certain industries, such as banking and pharmaceuticals, firms' decisions carry implications not only for their shareholders but also for a wider range of stakeholders in the market. As a result, regulators closely monitor and scrutinize corporate policies to minimize potential negative societal externalities stemming from these decisions. However, these regulatory practices may also have unanticipated effects on firms' behaviors.

In my working paper, I aim to explore how regulatory disclosure and interventions influence firms' decisions and the potential consequences that arise from these decisions. This research seeks to provide valuable insights into the complex interplay between regulatory oversight and corporate behavior, shedding light on how regulations can impact not only the targeted outcomes but also broader economic dynamics.

What made you want to join the Alberta School of Business? What have you enjoyed most about working here so far?

There were two key factors that drew me to the Alberta School of Business. First and foremost, it was the institution's strong research-oriented environment. During my campus interview, I had the privilege of engaging in discussions with faculty members who posed sharp and insightful questions about my working papers. It was immediately apparent that the School places a high value on rigorous research and intellectual inquiry. I was not only impressed but also excited about the prospect of collaborating with such a dedicated group of scholars who share my passion for advancing knowledge in the field.

Secondly, I was deeply impressed by the collegial culture that permeates the Alberta School of Business. The warm and welcoming atmosphere, combined with the faculty's genuine appreciation for and recognition of my work, made me feel right at home. I was humbled to learn that they had not only thoroughly read my papers but also engaged in meaningful discussions about them before meeting with me. This level of engagement and commitment to scholarly exchange is something I hold in high regard and greatly value.

In my time here, what I have enjoyed most is the synergy between these two factors—a research-driven environment and a supportive, collaborative culture. It's invigorating to be part of a community where everyone is dedicated to pushing the boundaries of knowledge while fostering a sense of belonging and mutual respect. This combination makes working at the Alberta School of Business a truly fulfilling and enriching experience.

You’ve won teaching awards in the past. What is the teaching style or philosophy that you have found creates the best experience for your students?

My teaching philosophy revolves around the Latin phrase "Non scholae sed vitae discimus," which translates to "We do not learn for school, but for life." This perspective forms the core of my pedagogical approach.

I understand that some students may initially perceive accounting as a dry and uninteresting subject. However, I firmly believe that accounting is a vital discipline as it directly influences the daily decision-making processes of corporate managers. Teaching, for me, is a meaningful opportunity to convey the significance of accounting to students. In this age of big data and complex financial systems, I view accounting as a valuable tool for students to gain a deeper understanding of the economy and how financial information impacts various stakeholders. Moreover, I emphasize the long-lasting effects of adopting a real-world perspective on accounting, which can permanently shape their thought processes and decision-making abilities.

To bring this philosophy to life in my courses, I have designed my curriculum to encourage students to internalize what they learn. I structure my classes to provide students with multiple opportunities to engage with the course materials, including lectures, homework, quizzes and exams. Prior to each major exam, I offer summary lectures to reinforce key concepts and topics, ensuring that students are well-prepared. Throughout the semester, I actively monitor the amount of time students invest in the class to strike a balance that fosters motivation without overwhelming them with assignments.

Accessibility is also a cornerstone of my teaching approach. I make a concerted effort to be approachable to all students, ensuring that no one is left behind. I value open lines of communication, regular feedback and a supportive learning environment where students feel encouraged to seek assistance and clarification whenever they need it. By combining these principles, I aim to create a dynamic and engaging learning experience that not only imparts accounting knowledge but also equips students with the skills and perspectives they can apply throughout their lives.

As you’ve settled into your new life in Edmonton over the last while, what have you liked most about living here? What has been the biggest adjustment?

One of the aspects I appreciate most about living here in Edmonton is the diversity the city offers. It's not just about the presence of various cultural and ethnic groups, but rather the harmony and coexistence among these diverse communities that truly stands out. As I walk down the streets, it's common to hear different languages spoken, and it's heartwarming to witness people from different backgrounds living together harmoniously. This welcoming and inclusive culture of Edmonton has made my transition to this city a pleasant and enriching experience.

However, the most significant adjustment I've had to make over the past while has little to do with the city itself but rather a personal one. The birth of my newborn baby girl has brought about a profound shift in my daily life and routines. Balancing the demands of a new family member, work and settling into a new city has presented some challenges, but it's also been a joyful and transformative experience. The support and warmth I've encountered in Edmonton, both from the community and my colleagues, have made this transition more manageable, and I'm grateful for the sense of belonging I've found here.

What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?

One thing that might surprise people is that I used to be an avid video game enthusiast. In my earlier years, I spent a significant amount of time immersed in the world of video games. It was not only a form of entertainment but also a way to challenge my strategic thinking. While I've transitioned to other interests and responsibilities over time, my love for gaming has been a unique and formative part of my journey.

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