BOONE, N.C. — “You’ll see me here again.” Those were the words graduate student Brandy Hadley ’09 ’11 left with her audience as she spoke at a Walker College of Business (WCOB) donor event at Appalachian State University in 2011, just prior to earning her Master of Business Administration degree.
As she shared her Appalachian Experience at the event, Hadley told the group she planned to return to App State to teach and to encourage students to chase their dreams — just as the university’s faculty did for her.
True to her words, in 2017 Hadley became an assistant professor in App State’s Department of Finance, Banking and Insurance after earning her Ph.D. in finance from the University of Tennessee, then teaching for two years in her hometown at California State University, San Bernardino.
When she came to App State in 2006, Hadley was a first-generation, nontraditional student: A 20-year-old mother working multiple jobs to support her two young children — and far from her family on the West Coast. During her undergraduate years, she went through a divorce and struggled financially, she said.
“Although my classroom learning experience was exceptional, what impacted me most was how the Appalachian Community surrounded me and taught me to believe in myself. The support and mentorship from the faculty made my educational experience transformational,” Hadley shared.
Hadley also emphasized the importance of scholarship support to overcoming financial barriers. She said App State Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Heather Hulburt Norris, who was then the assistant dean for undergraduate programs in WCOB, helped her identify and apply for scholarships. Dr. Randy Edwards ’77 ’78, then-dean of WCOB, also encouraged her, she said.
Now, Hadley said she has come full circle as she guides her own students at App State. “Hurdles and difficulties are an important part of the learning process — and who we become is built by the challenges we overcome,” she said.
‘Math for the real world’
Hadley said she was drawn to finance because it is a topic relevant in life and valuable regardless of a student’s major. “I like to refer to finance as ‘math for the real world,’” she said. “It is a challenging field of study, but it is going to make a difference in each student’s short-term and long-term future, regardless of their major.”
In addition to teaching, Hadley’s involvement at the university includes:
- The lead adviser for the Elbert V. Bowden Investment Group (BIG), a group of students selected based on their academic standing and interest in investments to manage a real stock portfolio and gain hands-on experience in financial analysis and portfolio management. The 2020–21 academic year was the first year Hadley served as lead instructor of the group, after the retirement of Dr. Delbert Goff, who helped form BIG as an experiential learning opportunity in 2000.
- The faculty adviser for the Broyhill Fellows team, who compete in the annual Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute Research Challenge. This global competition tests students on their ability to value a stock, write an analyst report and present their recommendations. In 10 out of the past 13 years of the competition, App State’s team has advanced to the Americas Regional round. The team was named an Americas Regional Champion and a Top 5 Global Team in 2021.
- A member of the Center for Analytics Research and Education (CARE), through which Hadley was part of the 2019 Chancellor’s Innovation Scholars team that, assisted by students, worked with the United Nations on a project to develop and distribute global best practices for beekeeping.
- A co-leader of the Women in Financial Services Initiative, funded in part by the 2019 Chancellor’s Innovation Scholars program. This initiative offers female finance students opportunities to explore potential career paths, build skills for success and connect with women industry professionals.
Sam Crouse ’21 — a 2020–21 Broyhill Fellow who graduated summa cum laude from App State in May, earning his Bachelor of Science in business administration (BSBA) in finance and banking — said Hadley’s passion for her students is evident to him.
“She dedicates so much time to helping each individual student, and her work ethic and enthusiasm create an effective learning environment and set an example for her students,” Crouse said.
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About the Department of Finance, Banking and Insurance
The Department of Finance, Banking and Insurance develops leaders for business, government and education by offering a Bachelor of Science in business administration in two specializations: finance and banking, and risk management and insurance. Learn more at https://finance.appstate.edu.
About the Walker College of Business
The Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University delivers transformational educational experiences that prepare and inspire students to be ethical, innovative and engaged business leaders who positively impact our community, both locally and globally. The college places emphasis on international experiences, sustainable business practices, entrepreneurial programs and real-world applications with industry. Enrolling approximately 3,000 undergraduates in 10 majors and 175 graduate students in three master's programs, the Walker College is accredited by AACSB International – the premier global accrediting body for schools of business. Learn more at https://business.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 20,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.