Roy C. Smith: Kenneth Langone Professor of Entrepreneurship & Finance, NYU Stern School of Business

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Roy C. Smith has been a professor at Stern for 27 years, during which he has taught several different courses in Banking and Finance, Entrepreneurship, and Markets, Ethics and Law to MBAs and undergraduates.  Prior to joining the Stern faculty in 1988, he was a General Partner of Goldman, Sachs & Co. (and President of Goldman Sachs International Corp.), where he worked for 23 years.

Altogether, Prof. Smith has participated in and closely observed the ever-changing and complex world of finance and markets for fifty years.  He has authored or co-authored a dozen books, and many articles and opeds on financial topics. He has a blog too.

What Do You Do Best?

I am good at explaining financial ideas, transactions and misadventures to those with little prior understanding of them, a group that includes most people.

What Makes You the Best?

If I were to be “the best” it would have to be because I adapted to a changing world and kept up with it. If all I knew about finance was what I brought with me to Stern from Goldman Sachs, I wouldn’t be able to teach any of my courses.

How Will You Stay the Best?

By recognizing that the markets are vast and the world of finance is totally global, and that, not only do we have to learn from what we have been through to get to where we are now, we also have to understand what we are going through now to get to the future.

Biggest Success?

Several of my students who went on to successful careers in finance have retired and gone on to teach in universities around the world. Some say they were inspired by my example.

What Are Your Aspirations?

My aspirations are expiring, but I have always been motivated by teaching what I know to others who want to know it.

Most Challenging Moments?

There have been many momentary challenges to keep ordinary things from turning into disasters, but a challenge that recurs is having to hang in there with your ideas and conclusions despite popular opposition. Another is to admit when you are wrong and move along.

Favorite Motto:      

“Be optimistic”

Favorite people:     

People who are interesting because they are still growing in one way or another.

Favorite Places:       

New York City, Cape Cod

Favorite Products:    

Apple stuff

Current passions:    

None really, but I like golf, WWII spy thrillers, cooking outdoors