Monte Swain: The Adventurous Accountant


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Swain and his wife, Shannon, and their seven children.

When there’s fresh powder on the mountains, you can expect Monte Swain to be out shredding the slopes. But the Marriott School of Management accounting professor wasn’t always so adept at carving on a snowboard.

“The first three days are ugly,” he says. “Unless you’re super agile and can bounce, you’re munching ibuprofen like popcorn. Then you break through and you’re carving. You’re either dying or you’re flying with snowboarding.”

Swain took on the sport thirteen years ago on a dare from his teenage son. After the initial pain, the Deloitte & Touche Professor of Accountancy was hooked.

“I get comments all the time,” he says. “I mean, I’m fifty-two! I’ll get on the chair with a couple of shredder dudes in their teens or early twenties, and they think it’s rad that I’m snowboarding with them.”

Swain also takes to the hills in the summertime, fishing in American Fork Canyon and backpacking through the Uintas. The father of seven kids, ages twelve to twenty-eight, says being outdoors keeps him grounded and helps him appreciate the beauty of God’s creations.

And while he admits he loves Utah’s wilderness, he enjoys traveling internationally and recently returned from a trip to Africa with the school’s MBA and MPA students.

“Being with the Marriott School there are so many opportunities to travel,” he says. “My favorite place to go is Asia. It’s just so different from what we are used to in North America.”

While abroad he finds new additions for his coin collection, which he jokes is the least surprising hobby for an accountant. He points to two coins on his wall, the classic widow’s mite and a piece of silver like those Judas received for betraying Jesus.

“I couldn’t stop myself as an accountant, and I did a few calculations to find out what they were worth back then,” he says as he motions to a piece of paper at the bottom of the frame. It lists that the one mite would trade at the equivalent of about thirty-five cents, while the piece of silver would trade at approximately $135.

“The widow gave seventy cents,” he says. “Talk about an investment. We’re still learning from that.”

Swain, who teaches strategic performance management for accounting and MBA students, knows a good investment when he sees one. Whether it’s with his family, students, or on the mountain, he’ll keep investing in what brings the most lasting dividends.