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Robert C. Merton PhD ’70

School of Management Distinguished Professor of Finance, 2010 - present

Nobel laureate in Economics, 1997

School of Management Distinguished Professor of Finance, 2010 - present

Nobel laureate in Economics, 1997

Robert C. Merton PhD ’70
School of Management Distinguished Professor of Finance, 2010 - present
Nobel Laureate in Economics, 1997

Robert C. Merton, distinguished professor of finance at the Sloan School of Management, has spent his career applying high-powered mathematics to the real world. His research focuses on finance theory including lifecycle finance, pricing of options, loan guarantees, and other complex derivative securities. Professor Merton has co-written or co-edited 10 books, is the author of more than 90 articles, and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He graduated from Columbia University with a degree in engineering mathematics in 1966, later earned a Master's degree in applied mathematics from the California Institute of Technology, and completed a PhD in economics from MIT in 1970. His new method to determine the value of derivatives led to the Nobel Prize in economics in 1997.
 
Highlights of this interview include:

  • Merton’s upbringing in New York, including boyhood obsessions with baseball, cars, and the stock market>
  • A lesson from his mother on modern art and life>
  • Why his first published paper focused on "Gulliver's Travels."
  • The road to MIT and working with Paul Samuelson.
  • The hothouse atmosphere at Sloan in the early 1970's.
  • Work with Myron Scholes and Fischer Black that earned him the Nobel Prize—and why he didn't expect to win it.
  • Why finance is so much fun that he'll never retire.

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