2017 Best & Brightest: Robert A. Hankins, New York University (Stern)

Robert A. Hankins

New York University, Stern School of Business

“Hungry Hungry Hankins.”

Fun fact about yourself: I was born in the UK on a Royal Air Force Base.

Hometown: Washington, D.C.

High School: Saint Anselm’s Abbey School

Major: Finance, Management

Minor: Creative Writing: Poetry

Favorite Business Courses: Global Macroeconomics; Law, Business, & Society; Business Statistics

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Peer Mentor, Stern’s Office of Student Engagement (2016-present)
  • Peer Mentor, Stern Scholars (2016-present)
  • Campus Ambassador, Sponsors for Educational Opportuntiy SEO (2015-Present)
  • Lead Campus Ambassador, Goldman Sachs (2016-present)
  • Vice President of RA Council, Resident Assistant (2014-present)
  • Head Delegate, Model United Nations (2014-present)
  • NYU Leadership Fellow (2014-2015)
  • Co-founder, Association for African Development (2014-present)
  • Head Service Coordinator, Project OutReach (2013-2015)
  • NYU Varsity Wrestling (2013-2014)
  • Scholarships: Air Force Aid Society General Hap Arnold Grant; NYU Global Pathways Grant; John Stevenson Scholarship; Dean John Guilfoil Scholarship;

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Goldman Sachs: Summer Analyst (Summer 2016)
  • SEO Career Participant, Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (Summer 2016)
  • Office of the Vice President, White House: Policy Intern (Spring 2016)
  • Moody’s Investor Service: Public, Projects, and Infrastructure Summer Analyst (Summer 2015)
  • Inroads Participant, (Summer 2015)
  • Morgan Stanley: Private Wealth Intern (Spring 2015)
  • UBS: Private Wealth Intern (Spring 2015)
  • org: Finance Intern (Fall 2014)
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: Finance & Accounting Intern (Summer 2013)

Describe your dream Job: My dream job is not static at the moment. I think as long as I’m learning new skills, and being leveraged effectively by the company I’m employed with I’m content.

Who is your favorite professor? Professor Bruce Buchanan the C.W. Nichols Professor of Business Ethics, and director of the Business & Society Program. He teaches “Law, Business, and Society.” It is a class that provokes students to engage with the world around us in a more nuanced interconnected route, seeing how different spheres whether private or public interact to effect the greater society.

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? Kenneth Chenault, American Express: He is the longest running CEO of a financial services company with 15 years, and the third Black CEO of a fortune 500 company. Everytime he speaks, he always references how he focused on being a top performer before he allowed race to play a role in his career.

What did you enjoy most about majoring in a business-related field? The breadth of exposure to different business concepts, related history, and fine-tuning how to critically think about different issues. I think a Stern business education gives you the technical skills but also helps you build a growth mindset.

Where would you like to work after graduation? Returning for full time to Goldman Sachs Asset Management

What are your long-term professional goals?  I hope to one day leverage my finance expertise to benefit those around me in a business related capacity.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? The classes we take are fantastic; but, I think you can always supplement those classes with additional reading outside the classroom.

“I knew I wanted to major in business when…I competed in a business competition for TiE: The Young Entrepreneur and won their regional competition leading to a patent application for a virtual communication platform.”

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be…a history major still minoring in poetry.”

“Before I entered business school, I wish I had known…to always ask questions and reflect on the various answers you hear from people.”

What was the happiest moment of your life? There’s not a particular moment. I enjoy being of use to others and spending time with my family. I am either at my happiest when someone I mentor experiences a breakthrough or I’m back in Washington, D.C. spending time with my loving parents.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? As of right now, I am most proud of being a mentor to the Stern Scholars, a scholarship program for students typically underrepresented in the business school. This year through a past mentor, I was introduced to the inaugural class in their second year at Stern and I’ve been able to give them advice relating to life and their prospective careers.

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? A Bull Mastiff. I think just as dogs they’re phenomenal animals from their size, intelligence, but also their fierce loyalty.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My father. He’s a person who has always been there for me to listen, to encourage, to give advice, and to believe in me. I know he’ll continue to be there for me.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? Robert is a fun-loving guy who enjoyed being surrounded by people he thought were smarter than him, loved giving people advice when they needed it, and was always optimistic.

Favorite book: Tough question. I’m currently doing my research reading Charles D. Ellis’ The Partnership: The making of Goldman Sachs. Outside finance, I would say Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.

Favorite movie: I love comedy stand up so anything from the original kings of comedy to people such as Dave Chappelle, Jerry Seinfeld, Mike Birbiglia, Hannibal Buress, or Neal Brennan.

Favorite musical performer: Prince

Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere to hike, I hiked part of the Appalachian Trail two summers back. I’m planning on hiking Yellowstone and Glacier Park soon.

What are your hobbies? I love to go hiking or exploring in nature as a way to get away from the city; I’m an avid reader so mostly history books, biographies, or poetry books; and, I’m a collector of records so Prince, Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, and Duke Ellington are on my shelf.

What made Robert such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2017?

“As a student with academic interests as diverse as Finance and Poetry, and extracurricular commitments as commanding as being a Resident Advisor or as personal as being a Peer Mentor at Stern, Robert exemplifies the excellence we seek in our students. He is a truly inspiring individual who brings joy and excitement to all that he does, and who shows great humility and earnestness through an unwavering dedication to helping his peers. He is just one of those people that gets “it” and has a maturity beyond his years. Robert is a true Poet & Quant who takes the time to observe and celebrate life, but who can also take charge and make things happen.”

Ashish K. Bhatia
Assistant Dean of Students,Engagement, & Innovation
New York University, Stern School of Business


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