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Get to Know the Faculty: Adam Smith


Let’s meet new faculty member Adam Smith, and yes, with that name, he was fated to a career teaching international business.

Adam Smith

Adam Smith

Adam Smith. Yep, the same as the guy that wrote the most famous and important book in the history of business and economics, The Wealth of Nations. So it’s kind of neat that I teach international business. Of course I know that I’ll never come close to the guy’s achievement and the advancement he brought to western civilization and in turn the whole world. Maybe one day I’ll write “The Wealth of Galaxies.”
Place of birth:
Franklin, Kentucky
My wife Constance. She teaches first-year studies here at A-State!
Why did you choose A-State?
I love A-State. I am very blessed to be here. The people so far have been friendly, helpful, and genuinely caring.
What I like about Jonesboro is...
the people. People are extremely friendly and seem genuinely interested in me as a newcomer. It’s the friendliest place I’ve ever lived, and I’ve always lived in the south.
Your philosophy on education in seven words:
Find something you’re passionate about; ask questions.
Before you retire I want to...
Retire? I just started! I want to do research that has a profound impact on the global poor.
In college, I was known for...
changing majors, unfortunately. Wish I had a do over on that.
Who was your favorite teacher (and why)?
My economics professor, at Western Kentucky, Brian Strow, is the reason I decided to pursue a PhD. He had such an enthusiasm for asking and answering questions using econ principles. His classes helped me understand how people, the government, and businesses behave. He ignited a passion for the social sciences in me that I still have.
What makes for a good student?
Good students want to know why. They ask lots of questions and bring new and different perspectives to the classroom. The best students think critically about the discussions we’re having in class and contribute to the conversation.
If you could teach another field, which one and why?
Physics. I’m completely fascinated by quantum mechanics and relativity and all the crazy ideas about space, time and reality that have popped up in the last hundred years. I love reading about it, watching PBS specials about it, and of course Interstellar and going through a worm hole to save the earth.
What music is playing in your car?
Folk Rock, R.E.M., the Decemberists and pre-1990s country.
My favorite motion picture is...
True Grit. The original one with John Wayne.
What is the one thing you wish you could teach everyone about your field?
I teach international business. I am passionate about business solutions that can aid people living in the third world in conditions of deep poverty. There are hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people who don’t have medicine for sick children, who can’t give their family enough calories to eat each day, and who live each and every day profoundly worried and distressed about the necessities of life. Business people and managers have the opportunity and ability to create business models and entrepreneurial solutions that can transform lives around the world. I would love for my students to develop a passion for using business and management skills to do good.
Dinner or supper?
The third meal of the day; I call it supper. My wife calls it dinner. Growing up, we called the second meal of the day dinner.
What is the one thing I’ve learned I’d tell my college self...
Work hard because life gets tougher. Major, or at least minor, in something quantitative. Your future self will thank you.
What are you working on right now?
I am trying to get two of the essays from my dissertation ready to send to journals. They focus on entrepreneurship in third world countries.
My pro sports team:
Atlanta Braves.
My favorite meal is...
The last book I read for fun was...
Unbroken. I don’t always agree when people say the book is better than the movie, but in this case there’s no contest.
My favorite trip was...
a road trip around the western US I took with my family as a kid. We went to almost every National Park and were gone for a month. It’s one of my best memories.
If I could travel anywhere it would be...
Patagonia in southern Argentina. I would say Kashmir if it weren’t for the danger.
The best advice I ever received was...
It wasn’t really advice, but my parents really emphasized and lived out not sweating the unimportant details, not crying over spilled milk and keeping the big picture as well as the wellbeing of others at the center.
My hobbies are...
chess, golf and racquetball. I also like spending time with my wife and my dog, Walter.
My passion is...
I’m a Christian. I want to make the world a better place as an act of worship to the Lord.
A perfect day is...
one with my whole extended family. They’re the best.
Cats or dogs?
Dogs. I’m not a psychopath.
E-book or hardback?
I would rather turn pages.
Beach or mountains?
Mountains. Glacier National Park is the best place I’ve ever been.
I wish I could...
move my entire family to Jonesboro. I miss them.
My favorite saying is...
Daniel 12:3