Five Questions with MBA Program Director Kurt Lykins

Posted Jan 03, 2023

Kurt Lykins took the helm of Otterbein’s MBA program in June 2022. He earned his MBA from Otterbein in 2015 and holds several licenses, including a CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner), CPA (Certified Public Accountant), CFP (Certified Financial Planner), and FINRA Series 7/66 security.

We reached out to Lykins to learn more about his educational style.

How would you say you incorporate your other experiences into your educational work?

I have had a variety of work experiences to help bring the “real world” into the classroom. Whether it was working at a big eight accounting firm (yes, I’m that old), being chief information officer of an $8 billion organization, creating and selling businesses, or being on several board of directors, I do my best to relate what a student is learning academically to how it can be used in their careers. Often, it’s helping students understand the different nuances of how things are supposed to work to how things “really work.” I share my successes and, more importantly, my failures in business; I want students to understand that each of us is always learning and that failures are an inevitable outcome if you are stretching yourself.

Why are you passionate about the subjects you teach?

I’m passionate about the subject I teach because they will help a student achieve success. Business subjects are universal — everyone is involved in a business. Some students will work for a business, others will run their own business — but when we understand that anything with assets, liabilities, income and/or expenses can be viewed as a business, we realize that our own lives are businesses. When we grow our family, our personal business grows. Understanding how businesses are successful translates directly into understanding how we can make ourselves successful.

What is one lesson you want students to carry with them not related to the subject matter?

I want my students to walk away from my class with three life lessons in addition to the subject matter. First, that life is a balancing act — when we put effort towards one area, we are taking away from another; we must prioritize our goals realizing that priorities will change over time. Second, that “a goal without a plan is just wish (Antoine de Saint-Exupéy)” and the only thing we know about plans is they are wrong but that should never stop us from making plans. Lastly, respectful debates are necessary for finding the best solutions, as Henry Ford once said, “if you and I always agree, there is no need for you.”

What inspires you to teach?

I teach to help others succeed. I’m not altruistic, I’m selfish; I know that when others succeed, our society can be changed for the better which directly benefits myself, my family, and my friends.

What is your favorite part about working at Otterbein?

My favorite part of Otterbein is the students. We have a diverse and energetic group of individuals that will be the future leaders of the world. The small class sizes allow me to connect personally with students — to create individual relationships, to understand their personal definition of success so that I can be as efficient and effective in helping them achieve their goals and dreams.