The son of a shoe salesman in California, Larry Fink's meteoric rise on Wall Street is almost too incredible to believe. In 1988, he and several partners founded BlackRock, and under Fink's leadership, the firm has grown into the biggest money manager the world has ever seen, with more than $9 trillion in assets under management. Over the years, Fink's reputation as a major player in the financial industry has earned him many awards and recognitions, including being named one of the World's Best CEOs by Barron's for 15 consecutive years. In addition to being Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of BlackRock Inc., he serves on numerous boards: the World Economic Forum, NYU Langone Medical Center, the Museum of Modern Art, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the International Rescue Committee, among others. Prior to launching BlackRock, Fink began his legendary investment career at First Boston Corporation, where he was responsible for trading and distribution of all government, mortgage, and corporate securities.
Far from a sure thing, Fink's success in the financial world was nearly unimaginable during his early days as a student at UCLA. Arriving on campus in the early 1970s, the future mogul was a late bloomer. He started by focusing on politics and didn't take any business classes until his senior year, when he decided to sign up for some graduate classes in real estate on a whim. Fink was hooked right away, and so after graduating with a bachelor's degree in political science in 1974, he stayed at UCLA to complete his Master of Business Administration with a concentration in real estate from the UCLA Anderson School Management in 1976.
"Larry has had an iconic impact on the worlds of finance, philanthropy, and academia,” said dean of UCLA Anderson Judy Olian in 2016, when Fink was being awarded the UCLA Medal, the highest honor for extraordinary accomplishment that may be bestowed upon an individual by the school. “He is admired by the global financial community as much for his analytical brilliance as for his integrity, which are the reasons this award is most deserved.”
Fink's influence on his alma mater has extended its reach over the years. In 2008, a generous $10 million gift from Fink and his wife led to the university renaming one of its major buildings: the Laurence D. and Lori W. Fink Center for Finance & Investments. Previously, Fink's success was also recognized with a 2007 Distinguished Alumni Award from UCLA Anderson. Meanwhile, the billionaire tycoon continues to support the UCLA community by attending a broad range of events, such as anniversary celebrations, reunions, and special speaking engagements, where Fink's voice provides insight and inspiration to the next generation of would-be game changers.