David Offenberg, associate professor of finance at LMU, won the Financial Management Association’s (FMA) Innovation in Teaching Award at the annual conference in San Diego on Oct. 14. This award, considered the most prestigious teaching award for finance professors in the country, recognizes inspiring educators who enhance the quality and relevance of a finance education through successful innovative practices. The FMA selected Offenberg based on the work he’s done in his “Entertainment Finance” course.
Offenberg’s innovative teaching approach – Applied Financial Modeling with Peer Critiques – was inspired by the methodology that his LMU colleague, Dr. K.J. Peters, uses to teach writing in his English courses. The award selection committee was particularly impressed that Offenberg’s methodology teaches students both the hard skills of computing the results and the soft skills of communicating the results that employers are looking for in new hires.
“The real gift of this award is that it allows me to show my peers a more effective way to teach financial modeling,” said Offenberg. “It’s so exciting to know that courses will change and student outcomes will improve as faculty adopt my way of teaching.”
Offenberg first launched the “Entertainment Finance” course at LMU in 2014. In fact, LMU is the only university in Los Angeles currently teaching entertainment finance to finance students. Most schools only offer this course to film students.
The course is results-oriented and designed around industry networking, which helps both students and entertainment executives identify qualified applicants to fill entry-level positions – a challenge according to hiring managers. In a typical semester, about half of Offenberg’s students will land jobs or internships in entertainment finance.
One of his former students, Tom Sheppard, a 2015 finance graduate who works at Lionsgate, credits the “Entertainment Finance” course for getting him a highly competitive job in an industry that’s difficult to break into.
“I had virtually no connections in the film and television industry going into the course as a senior,” said Sheppard. “And by the end of the semester, I had a job lined up at Lionsgate Entertainment – even before graduating. In my opinion, it’s the most valuable class in LMU’s business school.”
Madison Heilmann, a 2016 finance graduate who works at Marvel Studios, says Offenberg helped her build a professional network in entertainment finance.
“We’re all very appreciative of Dr. Offenberg’s continuous efforts to bring the LMU community together in this increasingly competitive industry,” said Heilmann.
“LMU has always supported my efforts to be innovative, from designing new courses and conferences early in my career, to launching our new Business of Film Certificate program now,” said Offenberg. “I’m so thankful to be at an institution that gives me the freedom to experiment.”
“David has a long history of bringing innovative ideas to LMU,” added Dayle M. Smith, dean of LMU’s College of Business Administration. “We applaud all the hard work he’s done to enhance our finance curriculum and help our students start successful careers in finance.”
LMU’s Entertainment Finance Alumni Network brings together entertainment finance professionals for networking events, career opportunities and to help students with job placement. To learn more about how to get involved, please contact David Offenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.