Nick Smith

Business major Nick Smith takes hike with his daughter near Lake Tahoe

Major: Finance and Economics

Class of: 2017

Not long after I graduated from high school in 2005, I decided to work full time because I thought I could succeed without a college education. I bounced around from job to job, which was immature but allowed me to learn about a lot of different industries.

“I worked in commercial banking, retail, supply chain, fitness, and I might be forgetting one or two. Eventually I got tired of making just enough money to live.”

Business major Nick Smith goes fishing on Lake Tahoe My dad was an investment adviser for decades, and we when I was a kid we had great conversations about everything pertaining to investments and the economy and politics. So I started to read about wealthy people like Richard Branson and Warren Buffett, and I realized that they “employed” their money – they invested it. After my dad passed away and I inherited his books I kept reading. I’ve read a lot that’s inspired me – about Branson and Buffet, John Templton in the 30’s and 40’s, Burton Malkiel’s A Random Walk Down Wall Street, Ray Daliobut – but what hooked me was the Alchemy of Finance by George Soros. Even though I didn’t understand all of it then, I couldn’t put it down. That’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks that I needed to get into finance.

My family inspires me to work toward my goals everyday – my fiancé Jessica who’s been patient while I figured out my path in life, her parents, my mom’s who has supported me through all the up and downs I have gone through, and my daughter, who is the light of my life. At the time I decided to go back to school, my fiancé wanted to move back home to Tahoe. I chose SNC because it has small classes, which is the best way for me to learn, and that the professors have active careers in the fields they teach.

In my last semester at SNC I have made it into the alternative investment industry. I work for an amazing office locally which facilitates transactions for private equity funds or firms that are looking for companies to add to their portfolios. Although we sometimes take equity in a company for conducting a deal, essentially we focus on playing matchmaker for businesses. The challenges of the last few years have changed my perspective drastically.

“I have realized that anything you set your mind to is possible, persistence pays off, and if you push through the day to day challenges you will reach your goal eventually. We are all people, we are all fallible, but it’s the hard work that we put forth that sets people apart.”

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Justin Spees
Chair, Department of Business

Undergraduate Admissions