Introducing the E. J. Ourso College of Business's New Faculty Members

August 14, 2023

The E. J. Ourso College of Business welcomes seven new faculty members for the 2023-2024 academic year. The new additions bring diverse expertise across the college in a variety of areas, including accounting, economics, finance, management, and marketing.

“ I am pleased to welcome an exceptional group of educators with diverse backgrounds to the E. J. Ourso College of Business. Each new hire brings unique industry, research, and educational backgrounds, enhancing our commitment to delivering a world-class learning environment that prepares our students for lifetime success in today’s ever-changing global economy, said Jared Llorens, E. J. Ourso College of Business Dean.  ”


Meet the New Faculty

Maria Paola Ugalde Araya headshot

Maria Paola Ugalde Araya
Assistant Professor
Department of Economics

Assistant Professor Maria Paola Ugalde Araya comes to LSU from Arizona State University. While earning her PhD, she served as an instructor and teaching assistant for various in-person and online classes, including Principles of Microeconomics, Intermediate Microeconomics, Economics of Education, and Economic Development. She received a PhD in Economics from Arizona State University in 2023, an MS in Economics from Arizona State University in 2021, and a BA in Economics from Universidad de Costa Rica in 2013.

Araya’s teaching interests include applied microeconomics, specifically focusing on labor economics, the economics of education, and gender economics. Her research focuses on the educational experiences of underrepresented groups like women, racial minorities, and low-income and first-generation individuals. This is motivated by her broader interest in understanding the sources of welfare inequality.   

This fall, Araya will teach Intermediate Microeconomics Theory, and her main objective is for her students to understand that economics is present in every situation because, at its core, it studies human decision-making processes. She hopes to teach her students how to think as economists and apply economic principles to real-life situations.

Viktor Jarotschkin headshot

Viktor Jarotschkin
Assistant Professor
Department of Marketing

Assistant Professor Viktor Jarotschkin brings a refreshing mix of academic and industry experience to the Department of Marketing. In addition to his time at ESMT Berlin as a research associate and an instructor, he also worked as a data science freelance consultant and in business development for Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s train network. 

Jarotschkin earned his Dr. rer. pol. (German PhD equivalent) from Free University of Berlin, his Master’s from Free University of Berlin with an exchange in Russia, and his BA from Humboldt University of Berlin with an exchange in Turkey. 

His teaching interests include strategic marketing and sales, contextualized within the evolving technological landscape. Concurrently, Jarotschkin’s research centers on technology development and diffusion, strategic management, and the transforming role of sales in the face of technological change.

This fall, Jarotschkin will teach Intelligence Based Marketing Decisions, a course designed to provide students with the necessary tools and insights to leverage data in making strategic marketing decisions. He hopes to instill in his students a profound appreciation for the value and importance of data in business decisions. Whether they aspire to be employees or managers, understanding how to navigate and apply data will undoubtedly be a crucial skill in their careers.

Seyed Kazempour

Seyed Kazempour
Assistant Professor
Department of Finance

Assistant Professor Seyed Kazempour comes to LSU from Rice University, where he taught financial management to undergraduate students while working on his PhD. Kazempour earned a PhD in Finance from Rice University in 2023, an MS in Electrical Engineering from Rice University in 2017, and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Sharif University of Technology in 2014.

His research interest is empirical asset pricing, where he focuses on questions about how people communicate in financial markets. Additionally, he enjoys teaching classes related to investments. 

This fall, Kazempour will teach Financial Analytics, a class where students learn how to retrieve, manipulate, and visualize financial data. He hopes to teach his students how to use modern computing tools to make accurate financial decisions. 

Mike Morgan headshot

Mike Morgan
Department of Accounting

Instructor Mike Morgan arrives at LSU with an extensive background in academia and industry work. For the past nine years, Morgan was a  Professor of Practice at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he taught Entrepreneurial Finance, Personal Finance, and Corporate Finance. Prior to academia, he served as the CFO of several technology companies.

In addition to being a CPA, Morgan holds an MBA from Mississippi College, and performed additional graduate work at the University of West Florida. He also earned his BS in Accounting from the University of Mississippi.

This fall, Morgan will teach a variety of accounting courses and is excited to infuse his industry experiences into his classroom teaching.

Timothy Rakitan headshot

Timothy (T. J.) Rakitan
Department of Economics

Instructor T. J. Rakitan was a faculty member at several institutions, including Bates College, Grinnell College, and Valparaiso University, before he found his way to LSU. He received a PhD in Economics from Iowa State University in 2017, an MS in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California at Davis in 2009, and a BA in Economics from the University of Puget Sound in 2007. 

Rakitan’s teaching interests include economics of energy, environmental and resource economics, and economics for the business community. He will teach Environmental Economics, Money and Banking, and Principles of Macroeconomics in the fall. He hopes to give his students an appreciation for the tools of economics, along with the practice of applying these tools to any subject area of their interest. 

Zhixiu Yu

Zhixiu Yu
Assistant Professor
Department of Economics

Assistant Professor Zhixiu Yu worked at a variety of high-profile institutions before arriving at LSU. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a visiting research fellow at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School. She has also been a member of the Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group Markets at Becker Friedman Institute, University of Chicago, since 2021. Yu received her PhD in Economics from the University of Minnesota in 2022, a BS in Economics (with honors), and a BA in Mathematics from the University of Washington in 2015. 

This fall, she will teach Aggregate Economic Analysis, which studies the factors determining the aggregate level of national income, employment, and prices. Her research interests include broad theoretical and empirical research focusing on macroeconomics, labor, and public finance, including topics like taxation, digital currencies, aging, and inequality.

Throughout the academic year, Yu hopes to encourage her students to use tools of macroeconomics to study various macroeconomic policy problems in-depth and derive insightful policy recommendations.

Cyril Tae Um headshot

Cyril Tae Um
Assistant Professor
Rucks Department of Management

Assistant Professor Cyril Tae Um previously taught strategic management to undergraduate students at Purdue University. He received his PhD in Strategic Management from Purdue University, an MS in Strategic Management and International Business from Seoul National University, and his BA in Business Administration from Seoul National University.  

His teaching interests include a variety of management areas, such as core strategy, entrepreneurship, and corporate governance. In addition to time in the classroom, Um’s research interests lie at the intersection of interorganizational relationships and entrepreneurship. He is particularly interested in understanding how entrepreneurial ventures and external market constituents (e.g., venture capital firms and alliance partners) interact and how such interactions create value. Particularly, Um focuses on the governance issues between the ventures and VCs through investigating the design of the contract.

This fall, Um will teach Strategic Management. He aims to teach students that even though there is no universally applicable solution in the realm of business, the primary objective of strategic management should be to nurture critical thinking skills. By the end of the semester, he hopes that students will be equipped with the tools necessary to navigate diverse challenges in the business world.


About the E. J. Ourso College of Business

Since its establishment in 1928, the LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business has served as the flagship business college of Louisiana, playing an essential role in uplifting the economy of the state and the well-being of its citizens. Through its undergraduate, master's, and doctoral degree programs and professional educational offerings for the business community, the college is committed to preparing future business leaders for success. The college's dedicated faculty engage in innovative research that directly and positively addresses the ongoing and emerging concerns of our state, national, and global economy. For more news and information about the E. J. Ourso College, visit

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