Incoming Professor Anna-Leigh Stone Focuses on Banking
Anna-Leigh Stone has spent the last nine years at the University of Alabama obtaining four degrees in finance and economics. She completes that journey this spring when she receives her Ph.D. in finance and then begins another journey by moving north to Massachusetts to become an assistant professor in the Accounting & Finance Department this fall. A particular emphasis in her teaching and research is banking.
Why banking as a field of interest?
“I did not have an interest in banking when I entered college; I wanted to go to law school. That quickly changed when the finance department chair started encouraging me to go to graduate school for finance. One of my finance professors, Benton Gup, really introduced me to the banking field. I took his class, Banking Administration, as a master’s student and really enjoyed it. One of the things that I find very interesting about banking is it seems to be constantly changing, which provides the opportunity to research new areas.”
Do you have any professional experience in banking?
“I worked for a local credit union as an intern before my junior year of college. Working at the credit union gave me the opportunity to shadow several individuals and experience jobs across the entire credit union. Prior to working at the credit union, I only thought of the operations of the financial institution that I was familiar with, such as the role of bank tellers. However, there are so many other things going on behind the scenes. I worked with a branch in their efforts to go paperless, I conducted research on cell phone banking, and I assisted the CFO in creating reports for Board of Directors meetings. It was also very interesting to experience firsthand how financial institutions deal with collections and fraudulent charges.”
How do you bring this topic to life in the classroom?
“I feel that hands-on experience is a great learning opportunity for students. At the beginning of the semester, I have students choose a large bank that they will research throughout the semester and analyze in a series of written assignments. They use publicly available data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to analyze the bank and apply in-class topics to real institutions. I believe that it is very important for students to get experience using real data.”
Are you a lifetime ’Bama fan? Will it be hard to leave the Crimson Tide behind?
“Being from the South, football is a part of my life. I was an Alabama football fan long before I became a student there. It will be hard not being able to attend the games in person, but I know I will still enjoy watching the team on Saturdays. My husband is a graduate of Auburn University (The University of Alabama’s biggest rival) and is a huge Auburn football fan. It’s like a Red Sox-Yankees marriage.”
What appeals to you about Merrimack College?
“The students and the environment. When I visited campus, it was very obvious that Merrimack was a place that the students, faculty, and staff love and care about. To have the passion for learning that the students seem to have is the best thing that any professor could ask for.”