The Wisconsin School of Business welcomes Jongwoon (Willie) Choi, an associate professor in the Department of Accounting and Information Systems. Originally from Mequon, Wisconsin, Choi was an associate professor at the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh prior to WSB. He received a BSBA in accounting and political science from Washington University in St. Louis in 2005 and a MAcc from The Ohio State University in 2006. He received his Ph.D. in accounting from Emory University in 2011. Associate Professor Choi shares his thoughts on joining WSB and the University of Wisconsin–Madison community below.
WSB: How did you get into your field of research?
Choi: One of my accounting professors during my undergraduate studies, Bill Rankin, introduced me to his research after I asked him what he did when he wasn’t teaching. He uses experiments to study various management accounting topics, and I found the combination of method and topic to be really interesting.
WSB: What attracted you to UW–Madison?
Choi: Professionally, the opportunity to be on the same faculty as people whose research I greatly admire was incredibly appealing. Personally, coming to UW–Madison was a pseudo-homecoming, as I grew up outside of Milwaukee.
WSB: What’s one thing you hope students who take a class with you will come away with?
Choi: Accounting isn’t just about journal entries, T-accounts, and balancing equations. Accounting is fundamentally about human behavior—what we choose to measure, how we choose to measure, and how we choose to use those measures to make decisions.
WSB: Do you feel your work relates in any way to the Wisconsin Idea? If so, please describe how.
Choi: For the last few years, I have served as a compensation consultant for the Environmental Charter School (ECS) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The school leadership reached out to me—while I was on the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh—to assist in the revision of its compensation plan for school employees. Like the Wisconsin Idea, it seemed like a great opportunity to apply the insights from my research on compensation schemes in a tangible way, so I happily agreed to help out. ECS leadership rolled out a new plan last academic year, and the goal is to take that experience and to tweak the plan to make it better going forward.
WSB: What’s something interesting about your area of expertise you can share that will make us sound smarter at parties?
Choi: The double-entry bookkeeping system—the bedrock of modern accounting—was invented in the 15th century by Luca Pacioli. However, archaeological evidence suggests record keeping, the most basic form of accounting, goes back several millennia to the days of Mesopotamia.
WSB: Do you have favorite hobbies or other interests?
Choi: Trying to be a good husband and father, music theory and composition, playing and watching sports, Skee-Ball, and becoming a whiskey connoisseur.