Faculty Spotlight: Scott Fine, Finance
University Communications writer Kim Palmer sat down with Scott Fine, a faculty member in Weatherhead’s Banking and Finance Department (BAFI), to discuss teaching, business and good food.
First let’s start with the basics – What is your job title and how long have you been at Weatherhead?
I’m a Professor for the Practice of Banking and Finance and have been here since the spring of 2003.
What about your life outside of WSOM?
I have three children ages 16, 15, and 12 … and a terrific dog. I’m a life-long Clevelander with a 20-year hiatus in New York City. I live in the Shaker Square area.
Tell me a bit about your pre-WSOM experience?
I was a practitioner for many years; I worked at McKinsey & Co. (the global management consulting firm), went back to Stanford to get my MBA, and then worked at Goldman Sachs in New York for about a decade. I came back to the area in 1996 to raise my family and had the good fortune of finding a great job with a former division of Reliance Electric that had just gone through an LBO.
After selling the company and becoming a partner at Morgenthaler, a private equity firm, I sort of reassessed what I wanted to do professionally and how it fit into my overall life. The answer was something I had considered very early in my career – to teach at the collegiate level.
I was fortunate to meet Peter Ritchken, Ajai Singh and Sam Thomas, all colleagues of mine in BAFI. I started out teaching two courses on a trial basis as an Adjunct Professor – one at each the undergrad and MBA level. I loved it and they seemed to like me, so it became a permanent thing.
What was your best job or job experience?
Each job, no matter how recent or how far in the past, has had some great elements to it that have made them important and valuable.
How about your worst job or job experience?
Well, the dirtiest job I have ever had was in college. I worked in a retired Ohio Edison power plant salvaging copper. It was the bluest of blue-collar jobs. I ruined all my clothes, but it really made me appreciate everything I have. It reinforced my work ethic, how important an education was, and how lucky I was.
Do you have a memorable or inspirational class or teacher?
My favorite class in elementary school was art, but only when we made clay pots. My favorite class in junior high school was chemistry, but only when we got to burn things on the Bunsen burner. My favorite class in business school was Taxation. While the topic wasn’t the most exciting (sorry Accounting), it was taught by Myron Scholes, the father of modern option pricing. He was probably the most intelligent, quirky, caring teacher I’ve ever had.
What if you had to do it all over again, and you had to do something completely different?
The dream job? I think I would be one of the editors of Rolling Stone magazine or one of the alternative music magazines like CMJ. I have a passion for music – I’ve always kept up on music, even through today. Ask some of our students.
What are your interests or hobbies?
I love road biking. I became hard-core about five years ago, and this summer I put almost 1,000 miles on my bike. I also have a passion for the visual arts and architecture.
In addition, I’ve been involved with the Diabetes Association of Greater Cleveland since the late 90s, am on the board of the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and serve as an advisory committee member to the board of the Cleveland Foundation.
Best stress buster?
The best stress buster is a good night out -- which involves a nice dinner, some wine, and great live music.
What was the last, best meal you ate?
That’s a hard question since I always have a hard time picking my favorite anything! But, to answer your question, I’ve recently had some great meals at Parallax, Fahrenheit and Lolita.
What about the last book you’ve read?
The two most recent books I’ve read which were decent were The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman and Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. I re-read Catcher in the Rye over the summer, which is a great book. And I’m planning to re-read Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.
Famous person everyone says you resemble (the person who would play you in the movie of your life)?
When people are paying me a compliment – they say a young William Peterson (the guy from CSI). And, I don’t get this one at all, but sometimes people say that I look like Richard Dreyfus. I think it’s an insult really!
The songs that would play while you are stepping up to plate at Jacob’s Field? (Note every Indian’s player gets to pick 2 songs to play as they walk up to bat.)
David Bowie’s “Heroes” because, even though it was a love song about two people Bowie saw kissing on the Berlin Wall, it sounds appropriate and inspirational. Or R.E.M.’s “Stand” because it sounds great and (I think) Michael Stipe’s message is that you should set goals, but make sure they are realistic.