Many people say they’re determined. Eller Dean Jeff Schatzberg embodies it.
Growing up in Detroit, Michigan, Jeff was laser-focused at an early age on getting a college education. He attended an all-boys college preparatory, which is also where he developed a resolute passion for sports—particularly tennis.
A Series of Good Hits
Jeff parlayed his talent on the tennis courts into a full scholarship at the University of Iowa, where he graduated with a degree in philosophy. After earning all Big Ten honors, he played professionally on the tennis circuit in Europe—but after several months, he began to realize he was unlikely to make a sustainable living with tennis alone.
He returned to the University of Iowa for business, which turned out to be a smart move. While there, he earned the attention of Dan Collins, now the Henry B. Tipple Research Chair in Accounting and a world-class thought leader in the field of accounting, who encouraged Jeff to think of himself as a perfect fit for the Accounting PhD program, which would come with a full scholarship and paid stipend.
After three years in the PhD program, Jeff knew it would be to his benefit to gain industry experience, so he took a break from his studies and joined Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. (now KPMG) in Phoenix, Arizona, as an audit and tax accountant.
As it happened, in Phoenix, Jeff gained more than just valuable experience—he also met his future wife, Jane, in his apartment complex. The two have been married almost 40 years, raised two children and are now devoted grandparents.
But Jeff knew he had left something unfinished: his PhD. He returned to Iowa and in short order, finished his coursework, defended his dissertation and was offered a tenure-track position with the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona. He earned tenure in 1995 and was Director of the Dhaliwal-Reidy School of Accountancy from 2016-2021.
He has been a visiting professor at the College of William and Mary and Middlesex University (London, England) and has had numerous publications in the most prestigious accounting and business journals. He is also co-author of the popular managerial accounting textbook Introduction to Management Accounting (Horngren, C. T., G. Sundem, D. Burgstahler and J. Schatzberg, 16th edition, Prentice Hall.) His research and teaching interests are in auditing and managerial accounting; he primarily utilizes the experimental economics methodology in his research.
Along the way, he received multiple teaching awards as well as the McLaughlin Award for the best paper on ethics in accounting. He also has extensive experience in executive education around the world, has developed customized managerial accounting programs and has consulted with numerous companies, including Raytheon, Honeywell and Walbro, among others.
Since August 2021, he has served as dean for an interim period—his second time serving in this capacity. Jeff exemplifies determined success as we define it in the Eller College of Management, leading with clear vision, smarts and openness to untapped opportunities. Under his leadership, we continue to work every day to shape businesses, individuals, industries, academic fields and even society.
Oh, and he hopes to still compete in national tennis, determined one day to champion in his age group.