Dimensional Fund Advisors CEO David Booth advises students


Mikaela Locklear

CEO of Dimensional David Booth speaks to students in the SAC on Tuesday evening at McCombs’ VIP Distinguished Speaker Series. 

Amanda Voeller

David Booth’s apartment was his first office and a spare bedroom was his first trading room when he founded Dimensional Fund Advisors 32 years ago.

Booth, the company’s CEO, told students in a talk Tuesday that he saw a lot of innovation in the world of finance between the mid-1950s and the mid-1970s.

“By the time I got to business school in ‘69, this idea of market efficiency was starting to get developed, and it was a really exciting time,” Booth said. “Chicago was really one of the centers, if not the center, of this new way of thinking about finance … it was just a very exciting time to be in school.”

Booth said his experience at the University of Chicago was transformative, and he enjoyed working side by side with the professors. He said the best piece of advice he received was to go to Chicago rather than work for IBM.

“My attitude was if I want to start a business, it’s really a good idea to get outside financing — if you can’t get outside financing, it probably wasn’t that good of an idea,” Booth said.

The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business is named after him.

Booth also said investing in human capital and keeping eyes open for opportunity are important. He said his firm has a strong set of values and a strong academic connection, and plans to open offices in
Tokyo and Singapore. 

The event was hosted by the Undergraduate Business Council as part of its VIP Distinguished Speaker Series.

Finance senior Ross Orlando said he went to the talk because he will be working for Booth in the fall. Orlando said Booth’s perspective was something he enjoyed and will think about.

The CEO also inspired business and computer science freshman Li Cai. Cai said she found the presentation useful because she had never seen a CEO speak, and she wanted to hear about his experiences.

Booth said thinking independently, taking initiative and having a unique distinction are important for business students. He said the worst hires are people who do things because the preceding person did things that way.

“If you have smarter people who work harder, they’ll do a better job,” Booth said.

Published on February 27, 2013 as "Business CEO gives valuable tips".