Pioneer Spotlight: Syed Moiz
After growing up in a large family and tutoring his siblings for years, Syed Moiz, an associate professor in the School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, knew his future lay in an academic setting. With 15 years of academic experience and an additional seven years in public accounting, Moiz has taught business courses in auditing, income tax, accounting, financial statement analysis and more. Outside of higher education, Moiz enjoys traveling with family, staying involved in his community and participating in volunteer activities.
What inspired your work in an academic setting?
I’m the sixth out of nine siblings. There was a rule in our household that the older children would help and tutor the younger ones in their studies. I helped my three younger siblings – especially my two younger brothers – with their studies and later on in life I gave them career advice. My father, who graduated from the University of Florida in 1957, was a professor of entomology and zoology and that also influenced my decision.
Your primary area of business is in accounting. When did your interest in the subject begin?
When I was a child, I was interested in engineering. With the passage of time, I gradually developed a deep interest in economics with the view of how to improve the economic conditions of the country and its citizens. After I did my first MBA, I got a job at a multinational company in its accounting department. I was always good with numbers and that helped me in advancing my career in accounting.
Before you started teaching, you worked in public accounting for more than seven years. How has this experience helped you in the classroom?
In public accounting, you deal with so many aspects of accounting, including audit and income tax. The practical experience that I gained in public accounting combined with many years of industry experience enables me to integrate the real-life application of accounting concepts with those discussed in class. The real-life experiences help my students understand the concepts with practical examples. They also realize how the time spent in class and the resulting learning prepares them for their respective career paths.
What do you hope students take away from your classes?
In all the accounting and related classes that I teach, there is always a lot of emphasis on the “why” of things. I encourage my students to be curious and to be able to identify and connect the dots so that they can see the complete picture. I also try to inculcate in the belief that learning is a continuous process and is not just limited to class time and course assignments. For example, when I explain ratios, I hope that they realize that various financial ratios merely point to where they should focus their analyses. It’s not just one ratio, but a combination of ratios for many years that would help them understand a company’s performance and the related risks the entity is facing. I also underscore the importance of analyzing ratios given the environment that the entity is operating in. In my tax classes, my expectation is that students understand the rationale of various tax laws and critically evaluate them. They can then use this knowledge in tax planning for clients.
In addition to lecturing in the classroom, you’re also part of the distance education program. How is this different than traditional classroom lecturing?
I find distance teaching more challenging than the classroom lecturing. In the classroom, I can always adjust my teaching on a real-time basis based on the feedback received by looking at students’ facial expressions. However, this can be challenging with distance learning. On the other hand, it’s often easier to explain practical examples to distance-learning students as they themselves have real life-experience. I think that distance education is a great learning platform for adults who are really motivated to enhance their career opportunities.
Interview conducted by Amanda Bertolozzi, Writer/Editor, Communications. To nominate someone for the Pioneer Spotlight, contact email@example.com.
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