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If you like Sanford Weill's story, you might also like:
Ray Dalio,
Lawrence Ellison,
Rudolph Giuliani,
Henry Kravis,
Stephen Schwarzman
Dennis Washington
and Elie Wiesel

Teachers can find prepared lesson plans featuring Sanford Weill in the Achievement Curriculum section:
Thinking Outside the Box

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Weil Hall

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Sanford Weill
Sanford Weill
Profile of Sanford Weill Biography of Sanford Weill Interview with Sanford Weill Sanford Weill Photo Gallery

Sanford Weill Interview

Financier and Philanthropist

May 23, 1997
Baltimore, Maryland

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  Sanford Weill

When did you first know you wanted to go into business?

Sanford Weill: When I was a young kid I used to deliver newspapers and I liked the idea of competing and trying to get more new subscriptions than somebody else. And I thought I'd always like some form of business, I didn't know what kind of business I'd go in. I think life is sort of like a competition, whether it's in sports, or it's achieving in school, or it's achieving good relationships with people. And competition is a little bit of what it's all about.

[ Key to Success ] Passion

Were there experiences as a kid that had a big effect on you?

Sanford Weill: I was sort of a sissy as a little kid. And when we used to play and fight in the streets in Brooklyn and I would get hurt or something, my mother would always come out and save me. So that sort of postponed the inevitable about getting a good beating, without having somebody to come and save you. So I think that's something that I remember.

I remember the mentoring experiences of some teachers that I had, like a second term home room teacher in public school that really was very helpful to me. And later on, a Latin teacher in high school. I think we are a product of all our experiences.

Talk a little bit about the teachers individually.

Sanford Weill: The teacher I think that really helped me the most was a teacher by the name of Clare Franz, who was a Latin teacher at Peekskill Military Academy where I went to high school, and was also the tennis coach. And it was where I learned how to play tennis and eventually became captain of the tennis team at the school and was on the Junior Davis Cup in New York City. And he sort of helped me through a lot of things in life, what I got in the classroom from how to learn how to think in Latin and be deliberate, to competing, and trying to be a gentleman and do it the right way on the tennis court.

[ Key to Success ] Preparation

To some people, Latin might seem like a pretty obscure subject, but you seem to have found it rewarding.

Sanford Weill: I think Latin has some logic to it and there was a discipline. I had been doing very poorly in public school. My parents moved back to New York from Florida when I was in the ninth grade. It was right after the war and there was no housing at that time in Brooklyn, and while they were looking for a place they decided to send me away for a year to this military school.

All of a sudden, I went from not doing well in school, to beginning to do better and I stayed there for four years. I think that the experience in the military school -- where at the beginning you learn how to take the punishment before you dish it out -- teaches you a lot about how to get along with people and put yourself in the other person's position. It was a tremendous four years for me.

[ Key to Success ] Preparation

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This page last revised on Sep 28, 2010 21:38 EDT
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