The Augsburg Podcast

The Augsburg Podcast

Marc McIntosh: From Wall Street to Cedar-Riverside

June 12, 2018

Marc McIntosh, Professor of Finance, views finance as an ethical, humane tool for improving the public good. He works to promote financial literacy and equip his students and community with the means to create positive change through responsible, community-focused financial understanding.

Marc McIntosh: We're all this incredible melting pot now, and it's really an incredible opportunity to get the American dream right.

Paul Pribbenow: I'm Paul Pribbenow, President of Augsburg University. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. It's my great privilege to present the Augsburg podcast, one way you can meet some of the faculty and staff I'm honored to work with every day.

Marc McIntosh: My name is Marc McIntosh, and I'm a professor of Finance, and I'm co-chair of the uh, Business Administration department, here at Augsburg. I grew up on the south side of Chicago. I majored in Accounting, uh, got my CPA, and then went to, uh, Harvard Business School, straight out of college. Because I was probably the youngest in my class, because most students at Harvard have significant years of business experience, uh, Harvard has a way of, whether you like it or not, increasing your confidence, and your ability to speak publicly, and your ability to debate, and the- the ability to manage, uh, several different things, uh, during that very, very intense, competitive academic environment. So it taught me a lot of lessons within the school that allowed me to have a successful career in, uh, on Wall Street. Received my doctorate in 2007, and almost immediately after receiving my doctorate, I came to Augsburg, and so I've been at Augsburg for about 10 years now.

I've always wanting to explore financing the impoverished. How do you, as a small business owner in a developing country, in Africa, or Asia, or South America, how do you raise the capital to have a successful small business? And so my research, uh, steered me towards, uh, what's called microfinancing. How do these poor entrepreneurs in particular, how do they become empowered to live successful lives, not only themselves, but their families and their communities. How can microfinancing be a tool, an effective tool for poverty alleviation? Augsburg University is a great place to explore poverty alleviation because a big theme, if you look at the sign outside the Hagfors Center, is serving your neighbor, and giving back to the community. We have a finance lab now, at the Hagfors Center, and when you see the finance lab, you think, well, it's a vehicle to bring alive the stock market, and the bond market, and currencies, and commodities, and investing. But it's really more than that, uh, my vision in particular for that finance lab is not only to be a tool, uh, for experiential education for our students, but also as a vehicle to serve the surrounding community.

So how does a finance lab serve the surrounding community? Well, one of the huge problems in our communities is the lack of financial literacy. And it creates huge wealth disparities between in particular, people of color and people, uh, and- and white people, frankly. And so, one of the ways that you can play a role in- in narrowing that gap, is to improve financial literacy among the- the poor. Um, par- particularly our neighbors in the Somalian communities, and the Eth- Ethiopian communities, and the [inaudible 00:03:18] communities, and the native communities, where there's high poverty rates and a real need for financial literacy. So we're gonna turn the finance lab into a- a space where we can offer, maybe a financial literacy classes, and bring people in from the community. This is a real opportunity for us to teach our students, not only about the capital markets and Wall Street, but also, it's a very healthy vehicle to give back to the surrounding community through- through financial literacy.

Finance is such a, it's- it's kind of a ruthless major. Our focus is on wealth, wealth creation. And I have to teach skills that allow you to maximize your wealth, your clients' wealth, your company wealth, so it's very kind of, money capitalistic oriented. But I infuse my classes with not just kinda, the capitalistic [inaudible 00:04:14] finance, um, but also, uh, a lot of ethical, uh, training. Because probably more than any field out there, there's so many ways to, uh, do bad things. Because you're dealing with peoples' money, and the people get greedy, and all kinds of unethical things can occur. It's great to see someone learning about the stock market, and- and then they get great jobs at banks, at companies, but I'm not here to train you to solely think in terms of making money. I want you to approach it in an ethical way, and in a- in a humane way, and have that balance, because it's a great responsibility you have when you graduate with finance skills, and people are hiring you for your finance skills to make money, and there' just so many ways to, uh, run astray. And- and history is littered with that.

When I see them graduate, and you see that glow in their eyes, that they're, you know, that- that they have this dual purpose of being successful business people, but also doing it in an ethical, uh, more Augsburgian way, if you will. That's really great to see.

I think what's really noticeable, for me, especially being a person of color, is the- the numbers of people of color you're seeing, just coming down the halls. And it's- it's- it's amazing. It's really thrilling to see that Augsburg is actually, when they do say their- their intentionally diverse, they, (laughs) they are intentionally diverse. I can't think of another institution, maybe in the entire United States, particularly private colleges, where you have such a diversity along so many aspects of life, ethnic, religious, sexual.

Paul Pribbenow: That was Marc McIntosh, professor of Finance in the Business department, at Augsburg University. Thanks for listening to the Augsburg podcast. I'm President Paul Pribbenow. For more information, please visit