Get To Know: David Ha (MAcc ’09), Professor and MAcc Co-Director

With the start of the fall term, our community is getting ready to return to campus, and so it is a great time to be introduced (or re-introduced) to some of our faculty and staff. Candid, enlightening, serious, and not-so-serious, our Q&A series allows the personalities of the faculty and staff members who make up the School of Accounting and Finance community to shine.

This week, we interview David Ha (MAcc ’09), Professor and MAcc Co-Director, who has been with the School for ten years. Fun fact: At Grad Ball when Ha was a university student at Waterloo, he was voted by his class as most likely to become a professor one dayguess they were spot on in their assessment! 

Do you have a favourite memory from your time in university? 

I loved hanging out with friends at the Student Life Centre  (SLC) in between classes, and fun evenings at The Bomber (former campus pub). And of course, finally graduating - I really cherish the memories of celebrating with family and friends at the Accounting and Financial Management (AFM) and Master of Accounting (MAcc) convocations after such a meaningful personal and professional journey at Waterloo. 

David Ha MAcc grad portrait

Looking back, what did you wish you knew as a student at Waterloo? Would you have changed anything? 

Remember to be kind and patient with yourself, and this applies whether you’re in your first year, master's, or beyond. You’ll make mistakes along the way. Perhaps it’s encountering a setback with some plans or getting a “bad” grade on an assignment. It may sting at first but recognize what you can learn from these experiences and how you can positively react to move forward and constantly improve. Embracing a growth mindset can help you be resilient to navigate any challenges that university or life throws your way.

Fall 2021 will look and feel different than previous years. What advice do you have for students?

With a mix of on-campus and online classes and activities, build a schedule that works for you. Set days and times to work on certain courses and to enjoy campus life, and find your balance. Carve out time to relax, recharge, and get a good night’s rest each day! Also make sure to fit in some workouts or fitness classes into your routine, as they’re great ways to support your physical and mental wellness. 

In addition, don’t be afraid to ask questions as you try to manage everything–reach out to your classmates, TAs, professors, and staff on campus whenever you need some advice. Chances are, someone else has also wondered about the same things and would be happy to help.

Have you adapted how you teach/and or your courses? What can a student expect from one of your lectures? 

While we all can’t be in the large lecture halls together just yet, we can still have meaningful connections online. In my AFM 132 Business Stages class each week this fall, you’ll review some course materials and videos in advance of synchronous online sessions and coffee chats where we take a deeper dive. To further explore topics, we also have activities like online discussions which are such rich environments to share research and perspectives, make connections, and to teach and learn from each other. 

David Ha holding Faculty Excellence in Teaching award

What is something you’ve missed about the university campus? 

I have missed walking around campus on breaks and catching up with colleagues over coffee. I even miss seeing all the “friendly” geese, chubby squirrels, and other fun critters that hang out on our beautiful campus!

When you feel comfortable, where do you want to travel next? Why? And what’s on your bucket list there? 

I love to hike and explore and have had the pleasure of doing so on adventures across Canada.  Visiting Manitoba and Nunavut are next on my list, then I can say I’ve visited all of Canada’s provinces and territories! 

Now that we will be returning to campus, what is your top spot for grabbing a bite on campus? 

The Grad House. It’s a great place to catch up with colleagues or to connect with students over some nachos and drinks.

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