Many students may know Cameron Miller as a management professor at Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management, but he also spends a lot of time working on various research projects. And outside of the office, Miller enjoys spending time with his family or dedicating time to his other hobbies, like playing guitar.
“I’m not a big fan of lecturing,” Miller admits of teaching, explaining that he prefers to work on a smaller scale and get students more actively involved in the course work. “I enjoy working with students, talking to them individually or doing more hands-on types of activities. I think I’m better at that than I am at lecturing.”
Miller grew up in rural Texas, but traveled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for college. He earned his B.S. in business administration from Duquesne University and graduated in 2002, a time when many companies were laying off workers and not hiring many more. Around the time of graduation, he says, his mother became ill and he returned home to Texas for a while. However, he then relocated to Albany because his girlfriend at the time, who is now his wife, got a job there.
“I talked to some of my professors and they said I should go to graduate school,” Miller explains. He attended SUNY Albany and obtained a master’s degree in economics. “I focused on financial economics, international finance and international economics.”
After finishing graduate school, Miller received offers from various consulting firms and chose a small startup in Stamford, Connecticut called The Modeling Group.
“The Modeling Group did really heavy analytics, very econometric stuff, which is one of my areas of expertise. It’s what I’m very interested in,” he explains. “It was the kind of place where when you start, they give you a grey hoodie sweatshirt and a laptop and say, ‘okay, you’re going to be working a lot.’ And we would! It would be Sunday night, two o’clock in the morning, and we’re sitting there running models and stuff like that. I worked 21 hours straight once.”
Despite the hard work and long hours, Miller shares that the office environment was laid-back and collaborative. “It was a really fun place, and I worked there for about two years,” he says. “I really liked the market research side, I was on the R&D [research and development] group, so I helped come up with models.”
Though Miller enjoyed the work he did there, including collaborating with major companies like Procter & Gamble, there was a part of him that had always been interested in finance. He hadn’t initially gone into that field, he explains, because he graduated in December, and most finance jobs are geared towards May graduates.
However, after his time at The Modeling Group, Miller landed a job in finance. He worked for several years at Standard & Poor’s in New York City. “I went there because I was in the global fixed income research department, and the idea there was to focus on trends, bonds, loans and credit derivative markets, and general trends in credit quality across all markets, U.S. and global,” he shares. “It was a good fit for me, and it was great because the other places I could go were Bear Stearns or Lehman Brothers, of course, they both went bankrupt two years after! I’m glad I didn’t take those jobs.”
However, Miller left S&P in 2011 and moved to Minnesota, where he attended the University of Minnesota and got his Ph.D. “My interests had changed a little bit from being more pure financial economics and industrial organization to more strategy and economics, so I started looking at schools,” he explains. “Minnesota was one of the top places for research and strategy.”
Once he finished his degree and dove back into the job market, Syracuse University gave him an offer early and he decided it was the right place for him. Miller shares, “I thought this was a really good fit. It looked like things at Whitman were really advancing in the right direction, and my wife liked it because now we’re close to her family again.”
Miller is now going into his fourth year at the Whitman School. In addition to research and the class he teaches, Miller has hopes of introducing and teaching a technology strategy course within the next few years. Though it’s in very early stages, he hopes it will be something that students will want to take to better understand an area they may not be experts in.
His research has earned him recognition throughout the Whitman community and beyond, as he was recently awarded the Edward Pettinella Professorship in Business. “Cam is a bright, young researcher who, through his impactful research contributions, has enhanced Whitman’s research visibility, particularly in the technology strategy space,” says Ravi Dharwadkar, professor and chair of the management department, in an online post announcing the award.
Outside of the Whitman School, Miller spends most of his time with his family. He and his wife have two children, a 5-year-old and an 18-month-old. However, Miller also enjoys spending some free time with his dog. “Typically, in the summertime, I bring her to school,” he says.
In terms of hobbies, Miller hikes with his family when the weather allows it, and also has a small guitar collection. He used to be in a band with some friends from his days at the consulting firm, he shares and still has a passion for music.
As for other entertainment, Miller is more a fan of fact than fiction. “I don’t watch too much TV,” he explains. “I’m more into documentaries.” However, he and his family do enjoy sports, especially Syracuse University athletics as his son is getting old enough to develop a real interest in them. He shares, “My plan, once we can all be in big crowds again, is to bring them to lots of sporting events at Syracuse.”
Since live basketball games aren’t possible at the moment, Miller has started streaming past games online for his older son. “He takes it really hard when they lose,” Miller admits. “I look and make sure they won.”
Miller recalls watching some of the basketball games, even ones from nearly 20 years ago. “I watch some of them, and I remember those games! I was a big sports fan growing up, so I have a really good memory of them. I’ll remember this shot or that shot, and I wasn’t even a Syracuse fan, it was just that they were good and it was fun to watch.”
As for looking forward, Miller hopes to continue being involved with research, but is open to new opportunities that may arise in the future. “Moving into a different role, maybe an administrator at one point, would be interesting. I don’t think that’s something I’m interested in right now,” he says, explaining that his role being primarily in research allows him flexibility that he greatly values, especially as the father of young children. “But at some point, it would be interesting to take on the challenge of setting strategy for a school. But I don’t think that’ll be in 10 years—maybe way more than 10 years.”