After a decade of working in public finance, Luby became more interested in the processes underlying these operations than in the contracts themselves.
“I got tired of working on deals and transactions,” he says. “I was more interested in the policy end of public finance where it intersects with public management. A lot of my experience was in consulting with debt managers, and I was interested in why they made their decisions—what their influences and incentive structures were.”
Luby started searching for the best institution at which to pursue this type of research, and was blown away by SPEA faculty members like Craig Johnson, John Mikesell, and Kurt Zorn. He was also thrilled to discover that SPEA, unlike any other school he found, offered courses in his interest area of debt finance. With two children at home, he couldn’t quit working to enroll in the program, but he was determined to get the best education possible. So, for several years, Luby commuted from Chicago to Bloomington to attend SPEA. At SPEA, Luby focused on debt management within state and municipal governments, specifically examining the sale of bonds to generate capital.
Luby’s out-of-the-box thinking earned him faculty positions at the Ohio State University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Indiana University. He is an assistant professor at DePaul University’s School of Public Service, where his research focuses on the various motivations and impacts of different public sector financial management practices as a means of better understanding both public managers and public organizations. Luby also serves as a consultant to the Office of Inspector General for the United States Department of Transportation on their analyses related to public-private partnerships, the Task Force on the State Budget Crisis chaired by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and former New York Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch, and the City of Chicago Office of the Chief Financial Officer.
“I wouldn’t do anything differently,” he says. “I can’t speak highly enough of SPEA. It was an intense few years balancing everything, but it was the right choice, definitely.”