Benjamin Ayers, director of the J.M. Tull School of Accounting in the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business, is a big UGA sports fan. When he’s not cheering on former bulldog athletes, Ayers helps to oversee students pursuing degrees in the finance and accounting industry.
Ayers was named the new dean of Terry College of Business, to succeed Charles B. Knapp, UGA president emeritus, who has served as interim dean since July 2013.
He sat down with The Red & Black for a question-and-answer session to shed some light on the person behind the position.
The Red & Black: What is a typical day like for director of the J.M. Tull School of Accounting in the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business?
Benjamin Ayers: Very busy. In this role, I wear a lot of different hats of overseeing our undergraduate program, our master’s program and our Ph.D programs. Tha involves a lot working with employee, staff, and students to make sure that the day and the semester runs smoothly. I also work a good bit with our alumni and our employers, reaching out to them. Making sure students have the very best opportunities available, it’s an important aspect as well. I also have the pleasure of teaching in our graduate program as well as conducting research. No two days are ever like. It’s always energizing.
R&B: How often do you directly interact with students?
A: Daily. Obviously, in the classroom that happens all the time. I am in constant contact with our Ph.D students, and to a lesser degree our BBA students. It’s important that students are having good experiences and know that there is leadership that wants the very best for them.
R&B: You said it yourself that you’re a very busy guy. How do you stay energized?
A: I am a coffee drinker. I start the day with espresso every morning that I make at home. And I usually have an espresso in the afternoon as well.
R&B: Do you have a favorite coffee shop?
A: There’s probably is not a coffee shop that I do not like. I’m a fan of Starbucks, Jittery Joe's and Ike & Jane.
R&B: You’ve been at UGA since 1996. What is your favorite memory at UGA?
A: There are tons of good memories that I have. I am very proud of the accomplishments of our students and of our program. This year our [Master’s of Accounting] students earned the number one ranking among public schools in passing the CPA exam. That ‘s a source of tremendous pride. I am also a UGA sports fan. Obviously, the successes that our sports team have had in the past couple of years, those are fun memories outside of work. The best things that I remember from the past 18 years that I’ve been on the faculty, are the successes of the students that we had and the faculty. Knowing that we made a difference n their success and their lives, that’s what means the most to me.
R&B: What’s your favorite UGA sport?
A: It would have to be football. I’m also a big UGA basketball fan as well. We’ve obviously had lot’s of talent in other areas, but football would be my favorite.
R&B: You’re an expert in taxation. What’s one piece of financial advice that you would give to students?
A: Always be wise in your spending and make sure that you budget. Make sure you’re spending habits don’t exceed your income and be a wise steward of your money.
R&B: If you could had one hour a day to slip out of your office, what would you do?
A: Exercise. I would either run, play tennis or play golf. I’ve run some 5Ks. I typically run on treadmills, most of my running is indoor. Exercise really does help productivity and mood, so I try to stay as active as I possibly can, given my schedule.
R&B: Did you watch the Masters?
A: I sure did. I’m a huge Bubba Watson fan.