Professor Spotlight: Dr. Aaron Johnson

The University of New York in Prague is home to over 120 faculty members, who are known for their teaching excellence in an array of subjects including business, international relations, psychology, law, marketing, communications, and IT management. UNYP professors are engaged in collaborative projects all over the world, and active in more than 30 countries. The instructors who teach the UNYP MBA programs  are visionaries and global thought leaders, who proudly deliver the highest-quality education. Their industry experience fuels their teaching, bringing innovative ideas into the classroom to inspire students and get the best results. 

Dr. Aaron Johnson (who teaches economics, finance, and mathematics at UNYP) has kindly agreed to participate in this week’s Professor Spotlight. 

Where did you first study economics?

I took a few undergraduate courses at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, but was more focused on my finance major.  My main study of economics was four years of graduate school at the Walton College of Business in Northwest Arkansas.

What attracted you to the subject, and what keeps you interested? What are your areas of research?

My initial undergraduate economics courses didn’t interest me too much.  Economics seemed too abstract and theoretical, and unfortunately many introductory courses are still designed that way.  Once I had obtained as much as I could from studying finance, I considered economics to broaden my understanding of the larger field of which finance is a derivative.  I started to gain interest in subtopics such as development economics and behavioral economics, and these remain promising fields for the future. My research is focused there.

What have been the most crucial steps in the transformation of UNYP’s MBA program since you joined the faculty in 2013?

The most crucial step was ensuring that the student cohorts were continually exploring things that could be instantly applied in business.  There was a fair amount of theory presented in our courses at that time, and I made many changes that year in terms of both personnel and format, employing valuable data collected from both the alumni and the markets around that time. 

Could you please tell us about the UNYP Entrepreneurship Center?

The entrepreneurship center was an initiative started after an undergraduate student visited my office and asked what support he might receive from UNYP as he tried to start his own business. The center was meant to grow into something that would serve these needs, and after a year or so of exploring partnerships and activities with various startup entities in Prague, we realized that there was no need to invent a new center, but rather to simply connect students with existing resources.

What's your outlook for the Czech economy?

My outlook in recent years has been positive, noting the imbalances between real wages and wage growth that made the Czech Republic an attractive place for business.  Fortunately, those imbalances are improving, with approximately 4% real wage growth in 2019.  It is still a good location for business, but confidence has been falling, and for good reason.  Unfortunately, we will not be able to escape a global slowdown, which is long overdue, so while recessions cannot be accurately predicted, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see one in early 2020 with a contagion effect.  With Czech consumer debt on the rise, this has the potential to be fairly damaging. 

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