UNIBusiness celebrates Deb Giarusso and her 20-year career
When now-UNIBusiness finance professor Deb Giarusso (Financial Management and Economics ’85) decided to become an adjunct instructor in fall 1998, the news came as a bit of a surprise to her family. She had worked in the corporate world — in finance at Oscar Meyer, playing a role on the team that launched Lunchables nationally in 1990 — from 1987 to 1995 but had taken time off to stay at home with her son.
Giarusso, a Cedar Falls native who graduated from UNI, was looking for a new opportunity to tackle, and teaching seemed like the right fit.
“I was very family-focused, and my family and friends were surprised, but they recognized this was a great career opportunity for me to keep family first,” she said.
That decision started a 20-year career at UNIBusiness, which will come to an end after the spring semester, when Giarusso retires from teaching.
Starting part time in 1998, she became a full-time instructor in 2007 and helped the school launch a variety of courses and initiatives. She’s particularly proud of the fixed-income analysis class she started in 2007, right when the housing crisis began — “it was the perfect real-world example,” Giarusso said. She also helped UNIBusiness gain certified financial planner (CFP) designation in 2016.
Giarusso has also made four trips to the school’s Master of Business Administration program in Hong Kong and two trips to mainland China.
“Those trips to Hong Kong were right up there at the top of the list,” she said. “It was such an experience to get to travel and work with those students. And for the family to come with me on one of those trips, it stands out.”
Giarusso is planning to spend more time in investment and portfolio management, where she has continued to work throughout her time as an instructor. But while she moves on to the next phase in her life, it’s clear she will always hold the students near and dear.
“It’s always so enriching to interact with those students who are so focused on what they need to do and what they need to learn,” Giarusso said, her voice wavering. “That’s certainly what I’ll miss the most, is the students.”