When you send your child to college, Jeff Rosensweig is the kind of professor you hope they might have: passionate, knowledgeable, mesmerizingly able to communicate, and well-credentialed.
Rosensweig is the director of the John Robson Program for Business, Public Policy, and Government at the Goizueta Business School of Emory University. As an international business and finance professor, he focuses on investing and the global economy.
He also specializes in financial, macroeconomic and business forecasting and is often quoted in the national business press, including Forbes, Fortune, and Bloomberg Businessweek and has appeared nationally on “ABC World News Tonight” and “Good Morning America,” the NBC “Today Show,” “NBC Nightly News,” “Nightline” and CNN.
Active in executive education, Rosensweig was recently selected by The Wall Street Journal as one of the 12 favorite professors in all executive MBA programs worldwide.
During 9/11 he was on the national news every half hour allaying fears and being honest about the future of investments.
“Since I worked there previously, I have tremendous confidence in the Federal Reserve’s integrity and being able to figure things out.” In terms of the media attention, “I have academic credentials plus the experience of having worked inside the system on a practical level. I’m very popular during the threat of a global recession. When things are stable, the news is about O.J. Simpson.”
Rosensweig grew up in a Jewish Long Island household near the Hamptons. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, summa cum laude, in economics from Yale University and a doctorate in economics from MIT. He also received a master’s degree in philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University.
He teaches both undergrads and MBA students. For the former, he said, “I like working with the seniors who are interested in global business and in exploring their own moral identity. It’s a vulnerable part of life. They are eager to learn and I aspire to be a role model. On other end, I also enjoy training MBAs, the executive MBAs who are on the fast track and whose companies think highly enough of them to sponsor. … Plus the two-year full-time MBA students of which there are 140, one of the largest classes.”
He further notes that Emory does not accept MBA students straight from undergraduate school without several years of work experience. There is still an imbalance of males over females, although there’s an effort to recruit more women for a better balance ratio.
Since Emory is among the 20 top-tier business schools, he believes that even the four-year undergrads can secure great jobs, most even before graduation, perhaps where they interned. “Many go into accounting, consulting or marketing. Emory attracts a good amount of Northeasterners – many of whom are Jewish – who lean towards finance so they can go back to New York City and get Wall Street or high powered finance jobs like in Manhattan investment banking.”
He does not find millennials to be lazy as they are sometimes portrayed. “I find them to be interested, prepared and motivated, especially if the professor is interesting like I aspire to be. They may not put in as many hours as we did, because they use sophisticated technology. They do enjoy life outside of class too! … I may be a dinosaur, but I still require class attendance. I may soon change that to watching the lecture on video, then coming to class ready to discuss.”
When asked about the subjects of modern theses, he states that most are about forecasting and trending what lies ahead. “With things like Uber, change is so rapid.”
In terms of Emory’s political climate for students to have partisan interchange, he said, “There is massive division on all campuses. Emory has an atmosphere of tolerance, and I think our president has done a good job of valuing free speech versus not tolerating hate speech. It is a delicate balance. I think it’s good that students are socially aware, but all universities are just one incident away.”
What’s the best advice you give to young folks?
“Find something you feel both passionate about and for which you have a skill. Warren Buffet parlays just the former. To me, if you just have passion and no skill, it won’t work. Nor will vice versa – skill with no passion. It’s not enough to just follow your passion. It has to be a combination. When I was president of my junior high class, I knew I possessed good public speaking skills, then added the desire to help young people. … I found my career.”