Bryan McKinney is the Dean of the AACSB Accredited Hickingbotham School of Business, where he also
serves as the General Counsel to Ouachita Baptist University.
A native of North Little Rock, Ark., Bryan is a second generation Ouachitonian. His
parents, older brother and spouse all graduated from Ouachita. He keeps a photo in
his office of the six-year-old version of himself sitting atop the tiger statue when
his parents brought him to campus to begin indoctrinating him on Ouachita as a child!
Before returning to Ouachita, Bryan worked as a private practice attorney for McMillan,
Turner and McCorkle – one of the oldest continually existing law firms west of the
Bryan and his family are active members of Park Hill Baptist Church in Arkadelphia
where he serves as a deacon and has been a Sunday School teacher for 25 years. Bryan
also has served as the president of the Arkadelphia Promise Board of Directors since
its founding in 2010.
What do you like most about your field?
The law is relevant and always adapting. Those two characteristics make the study
of law interesting to me. I also appreciate that students can enter law school from
any discipline, so I often have the opportunity to engage with students of all majors
as they ponder whether or not a legal career might be a path worth pursuing.
Why did you enter the teaching profession?
Outside of my parents, some of my college professors were among the most influential
people in my life. I enjoyed the private practice of law, but I had a constant tug
that I wanted the opportunity to make the kind of difference in people's lives that
those professors made in mine. When the opportunity to return to Ouachita presented
itself, I jumped at the chance. I've immensely enjoyed the chance to work alongside
wonderfully talented and caring colleagues as we've sought to invest in the lives
of our students.
What is a favorite moment of working with students at Ouachita?
There are so many favorite moments. There are certainly big moments like watching
our Enactus team advance deep into National Competition or celebrating a team finishing
1st, 2nd or 3rd place in the statewide Governor's Cup Business Plan Competition. But
over the years, I've come to appreciate the simple moments I get to experience with
students. Seeing the "aha" moment when a student grasps a difficult concept in class,
or the after-class question from a student who is going beyond what we discussed in
class, or the office conversation about how a student might integrate his/her faith
into the workplace, or connecting a great student with a great employer – there are
so many small victories worth celebrating every day. And what I think is truly unique
about Ouachita is that many of my favorite interactions are with students I taught
years ago. The relationships are real, and they last far beyond the four years we
spend together on campus.
If you were anything other than a professor, what would you be and why?
Some years ago, my wife and I were at a conference and we had an interesting conversation
about what we might go back and do differently if we could. I told her I had an interest
in medical school. I've always wanted to be in the business of helping people, and
I surely admire the doctors who do that well. Through the years, I've learned that
the help I render to students in the business school might not be as urgent or even
apparent, but I have become convinced that I'm very much in a business that helps
people. So at the end of the day, I wouldn't go back and change a thing.
What is your favorite place on campus and why?
My favorite place on campus is wherever good people are having meaningful conversation.
And, thankfully, that happens all over the place! I must say, though, I'm pretty partial
to Hickingbotham Hall. It's a wonderful place to work, study, learn and thrive.
Areas of Expertise
Featured Courses Taught:
- Legal Environment of Business
- Senior Seminar
- Deacon and Sunday School teacher, Park Hill Baptist Church Arkadelphia
- President, Arkadelphia Promise Board of Directors (2010 - present)