2021 Best Undergraduate Professors: Aron Gottesman, Lubin School of Business, Pace University

Aron Gottesman

Lubin School of Business, Pace University

“Professor Gottesman is excellent at conveying complex concepts in a simplified fashion. He makes the material very understandable.” – From Rate My Professor 

Aron Gottesman, 51, is a Professor of Finance and Chair of the Department of Finance and Economics at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business where he’s taught since 2002. He currently teaches the undergraduate courses of Options, Futures, and Swaps; Principles of Fixed Instruments and Markets. At the graduate level, he teaches Fixed Income Markets and Analytics; and Strategies in Investments, Options, and Futures.

He earned a PhD in Finance from York University in Toronto and an MBA from York in 1997. He has a BA in Psychology.

Gottesman has written two books and has published more than 30 academic articles and books, including publications in the Journal of Financial Intermediation, Journal of Banking and Finance, Journal of Empirical Finance, and the Journal of Financial Markets. His research has also been cited in newspapers and popular magazines.

He won Pace’s Kennan Award for Teaching Excellence in 2017. 

What does he believe makes him stand out as a teacher? “I focus on coherency and practitioner relevance,” he writes to Poets&Quants. “I emphasize the role of language and culture as being the key challenges when learning about finance. Quantitative analytics are crucial, but are primarily useful only after strategies and objectives are truly understood. I also work to connect with my students and make my courses relevant in their lives.”


I knew I wanted to be a business school professor when… I first had the opportunity to teach a course while completing my Ph.D. The course was well-received and a pleasure to teach. Most interestingly, it was a tremendous learning experience, in line with the Talmudic dictum “I have learned much from my teachers, more from my friends, but from my students I have learned more than from all of them.” As a business professor, I have endless learning opportunities!     

What are you currently researching and what is the most significant discovery you’ve made from it? I am currently researching the role of overconfidence on investment decision making. Working with a colleague, we find that investors with high self-perception of their investment knowledge but low actual investment knowledge are more likely than other investors to sell following a market crash, and are more likely to engage in a range of risky investment strategies. I am also researching investment performance measures, such as capture ratios and tracking error, to determine their usefulness in investment decision making.  

If I weren’t a business school professor, I’d be… A musician and options trader

One word that describes my first time teaching: Sizzle

Here’s what I wish someone would’ve told me about being a business school professor: Research is difficult and time-consuming, so make the effort worthwhile by exploring topics that you are truly excited to study. When preparing a course, spend most of your time planning how to present information in a manner that students will understand and find interesting. 

Professor I most admire and why: Moshe Milevsky, Schulich School York University. He’s a brilliant quant that can explain the most challenging concept in an engaging and understandable way, with a research and writing emphasis that is important both to academics and practitioners. 


What do you enjoy most about teaching business students? The friendships I form and how much I learn from my students in relation to emerging investing trends such a cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and the metaverse. 

What is most challenging? Removing the fear factor – some students are convinced that they will never be able to truly understand subtle ideas and quantitative techniques. If I can make it understandable, it’s a life-changing experience for the student. 

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

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

When it comes to grading, I think students would describe me as… Objective and unsurprising (I hope!)


What are your hobbies? Music and reading

How will you spend your summer? Research, teaching, and some travel

Favorite place(s) to vacation: South America, Canada

Favorite book(s): Books by Jonathan Franzen, Richard Russo, and Tom Wolfe 

What is currently your favorite movie and/or show and what is it about the film or program that you enjoy so much? Billions. It’s an awesome depiction of the hedge fund world.  

What is your favorite type of music or artist(s) and why? The Oscar Peterson trio: It merges multiple genres and is characterized by technical brilliance. 


If I had my way, the business school of the future would have much more of this… Pedagogy with a practitioner focus and programs that combine classroom study with professional hands-on experiences. 

In my opinion, companies and organizations today need to do a better job at… Helping their employees manage a better work-life balance

I’m grateful for… Every day!

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