2022 Best 40-Under-40 MBA Professors: Johannes Stroebel, NYU Stern School of Business

Johannes Stroebel

NYU Stern School of Business

“In 2019, aged 34, he became one of the youngest chaired Full Professors ever at NYU.  In recent years, he has been one of the leading researchers studying the economic and financial effects of climate change, a topic on which he is advising numerous regulators and policy makers.  Based on this research and policy work, in 2021 he launched a new class on “Climate Finance” at NYU Stern, helping students navigate the numerous ways that climate change will affect their careers.” – Jessica Neville

Johannes Stroebel, 36, is the David S. Loeb Professor of Finance at the NYU Stern School of Business. 

He joined NYU in 2013 from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he was the Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Economics. Stroebel conducts research in climate finance, household finance, social network analysis, another topics. He has won numerous awards including the AQR Asset Management Institute Young Researcher Prize and the Brattle Award for the best paper published in the Journal of Finance. He has also won an Andrew Carnegie fellowship and an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in Economics.

He is an associate editor at the Journal of Political Economy, the Review of Economic Studies, Econometrica, and the Journal of Finance; member of the Climate Related Market Risk Subcommittee at the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC); and a member of a Working Group on Extreme Weather and Financial Risks at the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST).

BACKGROUND

At current institution since what year?  2013

Education: Ph.D. in Economics, Stanford; BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, Merton College, Oxford

List of MBA courses you currently teach: Climate Finance

TELL US ABOUT LIFE AS A BUSINESS SCHOOL PROFESSOR

I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… As an undergraduate, I very much enjoyed reading and thinking about economics, but did not have a good sense of which careers would allow me to pursue these interests. After a number of internships in the private sector and government, I went to graduate school in economics, thinking that this would allow me to eventually join the IMF or World Bank. When I saw how interesting the job of my graduate school advisers was, I decided to try applying for academic jobs. 

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? I spend a lot of time exploring the interactions between climate change and financial markets. I think about questions such as: “What is the right discount rate to value investments in climate change abatement?” (Answer: very low); “How much are climate risks already reflected in asset prices?” (Answer: Quite a bit, in particular in real estate); and “How do you form portfolios that can allow you to hedge against climate risk realizations?” (Answer: It’s complicated). It is exciting to see how financial markets can help mitigate the effects of climate change, both by sharing the resulting risks and by financing the transition to a net-zero economy. 

If I weren’t a business school professor… Probably an entrepreneur. There are a number of ways in which being an academic is being an “entrepreneur for your ideas”. You need to find a problem that is interesting, unanswered, and solvable. Then you need to solve it, and then you need to convince people to “buy” your approach and solution.   

What do you think makes you stand out as a professor? I am genuinely curious about the topics I teach and research about, and I get a lot of energy from being in the classroom with students (which I am glad we are back to after the Covid years). I hope that I can pass on this energy and excitement to some of my students.

One word that describes my first time teaching: Fun

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: That there is an amazing range of things that you can spend your time on. From teaching across a wide range of programs (from undergraduates to MBAs, to advanced executives), to doing academic research, to advising Ph.D. students, to taking students on global study trips, to thinking of building new courses, to advising firms and governments on how to implement findings from your research. The job is always exciting and provides lots of variety. The other great thing is that, on the research side, you get to pick your own team. I am blessed with a great set of co-authors from whom I learn every day. 

Professor I most admire and why: Picking out any one individual would do injustice to the wide range of inspiring advisers, colleagues, and collaborators that I have the chance to work with every day. 

TEACHING MBA STUDENTS

What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? The experiences that the students bring to the classroom from their prior careers provide great opportunities for me to learn, and for the material to “come to life.” 

What is most challenging? The students have a wide range of professional backgrounds and careers. This makes it tricky to design a class that remains challenging to those already somewhat familiar with a given topic, while keeping it accessible to everyone else. 

In one word, describe your favorite type of student: Curious

In one word, describe your least favorite type of student: Entitled

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Generous

LIFE OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM

What are your hobbies? I have three young kids, so in the past years, my favorite hobby has been exploring new things in NYC with them. One thing we enjoy a lot is going fishing in various locations around the city (e.g., Harlem Meer in Central Park).

How will you spend your summer? I will soon be starting a one-year sabbatical visiting a university in Munich. I am very much looking forward to this opportunity, both to get exposed to different ideas and to spend more time closer to my family (which was harder during the COVID years). So this summer I’ll be moving to Munich, and then traveling through France and Italy before the school year starts.

Favorite place(s) to vacation: Even though after most trips I say: “We have to come back here, it was great!” we generally go somewhere new on every trip. What my favorite destinations have in common is that they are warm! I really liked Vietnam and Costa Rica (and, most recently, Charleston, SC). 

Favorite book(s): I like reading political biographies. As a New Yorker, I really liked Robert Caro’s biography of Robert Moses. It was really fun to read about how so much of the infrastructure we see around the city came to be. 

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? The British “Office” stands out as one of the best shows of all time. 

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? It’s pretty eclectic. To my own surprise, and guided by the wonderful recommendations from the data science team at Pandora, I have recently started listening to 1960s/70s country music. 

THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS

If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… It is great to see that business schools are increasingly incorporating courses about sustainability into their curricula. I very much enjoyed teaching a new climate finance class last semester, in which we explored the economic and financial implications of climate change. I hope that eventually these topics will not only be taught in stand-alone classes but that considerations around sustainability become a core ingredient in all courses. 

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… Realizing that, in the long run, the interests of shareholders and other stakeholders are more often aligned than is commonly believed. 

I’m grateful for… Having three healthy kids!

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE 2022 ROSTER OF THE WORD’S BEST 40-UNDER-40 MBA PROFESSORS

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