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Dr. Ken Merchant Joins Faculty of USC Online MBA


Kenneth A. Merchant

Kenneth A. Merchant
Deloitte & Touche LLP Chair of Accountancy
USC Marshall School of Business

In 1997, the USC Marshall School of Business invited Ken Merchant to join the ranks of its esteemed faculty members, appointing him the Deloitte & Touche LLP Chair of Accountancy. He is now bringing his wealth of experience to the Online MBA program, teaching the management accounting components of GSBA-537: Managing Inside the Firm, collaborating with Kerry Fields, Pete Cardon, and Zal Phiroz.

Academic Background

Professor Merchant is a graduate of Union College (BA), Columbia University (MBA), and the University of California, Berkeley (PhD). He is a Certified Public Accountant (Texas) and a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), and he holds an NACD Certificate of Director Education.


Professional Experience

Professor Merchant began his career at Texas Instruments, Inc. and Ernst & Ernst (now EY). He has also worked as a freelance consultant/teacher for many organizations, including Amgen, Arco, AT&T, British Airways, Campbell Soup, Digital Equipment, East-West Bank, and World Bank, among others. His board service has included three public corporations, two private corporations, one mutual fund, and three non-profit organizations.


Classroom Expertise

Having taught mostly in USC’s executive and graduate business and accounting programs, he previously served as Dean of USC’s Leventhal School of Accounting and Senior Associate Dean-Corporate Programs in the Marshall School of Business. Before joining the University in 1990, he taught at Harvard and UC-Berkeley. He also has extensive experience teaching overseas, as he has presented in 31 countries.


Interests and Publications

Professor Merchant’s research interests are in the areas of management accounting, management control systems, corporate governance, and ethics. He has published 11 books and monographs, including Management Control Systems: Performance Measurement, Evaluation and Incentives (3rd edition, 2012), Accounting: Text and Cases (13th edition, 2011), Blind Spots, Biases and Other Pathologies in the Boardroom (2010), as well as numerous journal articles and teaching cases. He is currently serving as a member of the editorial boards of thirteen academic research journals.


Leadership and Board Positions

Professor Merchant has served in a number of leadership positions. For the American Accounting Association (AAA,) he served as chair of three sections—Accounting Program Leadership Group; Management Accounting; and Accounting, Behavior and Organizations—and as chair of the Professionalism and Ethics Committee. He has also served on the Research Board of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants of the U.K. (CIMA), on the board of directors of the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), and on the national Research Committee and president of the Los Angeles Chapter of Financial Executives International (FEI).

Honors and Awards:

  • He will be inducted into the AAAJ Interdisciplinary Accounting Research Hall of Fame in Melbourne, Australia, in July, 2016
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)—Distinguished Achievement in Accounting Education Award (2014)
  • AAA—Lifetime Contribution awards for contributions to the Behavioral Accounting and Management Accounting literatures (2003 and 2013, respectively)
  • Notable Contributions to the Management Accounting literature (1992 and 2007)
  • Outstanding Service Award (2003)
  • Institute of Management Accountants (IMA)—R. Lee Brummet Distinguished Award for Educators (2013)
  • James Bulloch award for Innovations in Management Accounting Education (2009)
  • Lybrand Gold Medal Award (best paper of the year published in Management Accounting in 1989-90)
  • In 2010 he was awarded an honorary doctorate in economics by the Turku School of Economics (Finland)

We are pleased to welcome Dr. Merchant to the USC Marshall Online MBA program. For more information about the faculty and for a list of course descriptions, visit the links below.


About the USC Marshall School of Business

USC Marshall is one of the premier business schools in the U.S. and internationally recognized as a home for path-breaking research that emphasizes entrepreneurship, innovation, leadership and social responsibility. The USC Online MBA from the Marshall School of Business is built to help students succeed in the digitally driven business landscape, providing a curriculum focused on the practical skills expected of today’s global leaders. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, Marshall brings undergraduate and graduate students a unique perspective on the world, including global opportunities for experiential learning. The vibrant and active Trojan alumni community includes more than 89,000 people in 92 countries.


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