Horseback Riding and Hard Work

PROVO, Utah – Mar 29, 2021 – Barrett Slade’s family ranch was nestled in a small ranching community called Eagar in Northeastern Arizona and was so remote that the nearest stoplight was one hundred fifty miles away. While most kids played football or baseball after school, Slade saddled and rode horses six days a week. All those years ago he never imagined that his persistence would bring him to where he is today, as the James M. Passey Professor of Finance at the BYU Marriott School of Business.

Growing up on a farm helped instill in Slade a persistent nature, which came from spending hours doing hard, physical labor around the ranch. “I’m not scared to tackle big things,” he says. Slade cultivated this attitude of not backing down when he would have to handle grown horses as a six-year-old boy. “I had to control the horse,” he says, comparing horse riding to hard work. “I learned quickly that I just needed to get in there and go for it. I got thrown off a time or two, but I eventually broke the horse.”

Until he served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in South Carolina, Slade didn’t know that he wanted to do something different outside of his beloved Arizona ranching community. During his missionary service, Slade's mission president helped him realize the many directions his life could go and the many doors that were open to him. After returning home to Arizona, Slade decided to continue his education and apply to BYU with his mission president’s help. 

When he started his undergraduate studies at BYU, Slade realized he was behind his classmates academically. “No one had more fun in high school than I did, but I didn’t learn a single thing,” he jokes. “Consequently, I was far behind everyone else, but that was okay. I realized that there’s always someone smarter, faster, prettier, brighter, bigger, and stronger. So, despite my shortcomings, I knew I could take what knowledge and experience I had and move forward with great determination. I knew I could prevail if I was willing to be persistent.”

Because of his work ethic, Slade graduated with his bachelor’s degree in economics from BYU in 1983. He then decided to return to BYU and continue his education, graduating with his master’s in managerial economics in 1989 before moving on and getting his PhD in business administration with an emphasis in real estate from the University of Georgia in 1997.

With his interest and education in real estate, Slade now works to help students network and learn from professionals in the field. With the help of his colleague Troy Carpenter, faculty advisor for the BYU Real Estate Association, Slade organizes yearly real estate conferences and biweekly real estate webinars. He also recently authored a book titled Real Estate: A Household Wealth Perspective that he anticipates will be published this upcoming year. 

Slade doesn’t live on a farm and raise horses like he used to, but the hard work and perseverance he learned as a child shaped the way he learns from and teaches others. Though Slade does enjoy seeing his students excel in anything they pursue, he believes that true success is about more than money and recognition. “I define success as someone who gets up in the morning and conducts themselves with integrity and honor. They contribute to society, know their life is purposeful, and are at peace with that,” says Slade. “Again, I’m a pretty simple country boy, but success is pretty simple. If you’re dedicated and honorable, you’re going to be okay.”

Barrett Slade, BYU Marriott James M. Passey Professor of Finance
Barrett Slade, BYU Marriott James M. Passey Professor of Finance
Barrett Slade riding a horse
Though Barrett Slade no longer works on a ranch, he still enjoys riding horses. Photo courtesy of Barrett Slade.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Rebecca Nissen