Aug. 4, 2022

UNLV's Executive MBA Program would have been much different, and perhaps may not have come into existence, without Dr. Robert Chatfield. 

One of UNLV’s longest-tenured faculty members, Dr. Chatfield joined the University in 1988 after beginning his academic career at the University of New Mexico and Texas Tech University. He played an integral role in the development of Lee Business School as a research-oriented institution with its first Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation.

In the late 1990s, following his term as chair of the finance department, Dr. Chatfield chaired the committee tasked with developing an Executive MBA program. The plan he and his colleagues drafted was accepted and used as the blueprint for the EMBA, which accepted its first cohort in the summer of 2002.

Now, with retirement looming, Dr. Chatfield is looking back on the last 20 years with pride and a sense of accomplishment similar to the one felt by so many cohort members that have moved on to become alumni.

“There Is nothing more satisfying than the knowledge a student has learned something valuable from me or they have received a great job offer or job advancement due to what they have learned in one of my classes,” he says.

Evolving With the Times

In the 34 years that Dr. Chatfield has been with the University, he’s played a role in the advancement of the EMBA from a startup program to an essential, career-elevating credential that’s come to attract students from all areas of industry. This year’s Cohort 21, for example, is among the most diverse yet, with professionals from the fields of medicine, marketing, construction, finance, IT, and public service, to name a few. 

“This network of successful professionals has been a huge positive for the Lee Business School as well as for the alumni themselves,” Dr. Chatfield says of the EMBA cohorts that he’s met throughout the years. “Once the world gets back to normal, post-pandemic, this EMBA alumni group should prove very helpful in growing the program.”

While he has watched the curriculum evolve in the two decades since, Dr. Chatfield says some things will always remain the same.

First, the two primary lessons of finance do not change.

“No. 1, the time value of money,” he explains. “This is a topic every adult should understand for their personal financial life, as well as for making proper business finance decisions.

“No. 2, capital budgeting analysis, which is just a fancy name for the analysis of business investment decisions. Capital budgeting decisions are the most significant finance decisions facing most business firms, going hand in hand with this is the Net Present Value Rule.”

And the second thing that stays the same? The desire that cohort members share in becoming lifelong learners.

“A truly educated, intelligent person never stops learning, formally or otherwise,” Dr. Chatfield says. “There is so much to learn in our world and the universe, far more than any single person can ever take in during a lifetime.

“Why would you ever want to stop trying?”