From Liberal Arts to Finance: The Road Less Traveled

ANW One Year

As of this month, I have officially been a part of the Meyer Capital Management (MCM) team for one year! In celebration of the past year I decided to reflect on what I learned and accomplished.

First off, I must acknowledge that a year and a half ago I did not expect to work in the finance industry, particularly for a Registered Investment Adviser. To be honest, at that time I couldn’t tell you what it meant to be a Registered Investment Adviser. In the spring of 2015, I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Pre-Law from Northern Kentucky University. Upon realizing that I did not want to go to law school with many of my peers, I asked myself, “What exactly do I want to do with my life?”

I wanted a position that would push me and allow me to apply what I worked so hard for the past four years. I applied to MCM and during the interview process I specifically asked, “Am I at a disadvantage with my Political Science and Pre-Law background?” The immediate answer: No. I was told that my open mindset could be a critical factor for success if I was willing to work hard. Within a few weeks I was fortunate enough to become a member of a unique team. With the excitement of beginning my first career, I didn’t underestimate that I had my work cut out for me.

What I assumed would be my biggest obstacle became my biggest asset. My brand new environment turned my brain into a sponge every morning when I entered the office. I accepted that my learning curve was larger than others as I was thrown into the deep-end of investment management.

Political Science and liberal arts in general might seem like the opposite end of the investment spectrum, but my degree allows me to think outside the box. Studying American and international politics, political philosophy, history and law courses gave me a unique perspective on life and ways of thinking. Political science looks at how the world is and how it operates, which believe it or not can be beneficial to understanding investments and the stock market.

While being on the Administrative Team, I have undoubtedly learned a copious amount about investment management, but I soon understood that my role as a portfolio administrator was more than learning the differences between stocks and bonds and memorizing financial definitions. The skills my college degree prepared me for: critical thinking, responding constructively, articulating my point and respecting other viewpoints are all incorporated into my everyday tasks and communication as a portfolio administrator. My years of studies combined with increasing investment knowledge has contributed to my success as an MCM employee as I collaborate each day with the experts on the Investment Team.

Although I didn’t expect to wander into the world of finance, my liberal arts education taught me communication, empathy, listening deeply, creativity and vision. This unique perspective and set of skills can be applied to any company. My perspective combined with the analytical thinkers of the team cultivate a collaborative creativity – something that has proven to benefit MCM up until now and in the future.

This collaborative creativity increases productivity thanks to individuals with a wide array of specialties from various backgrounds. Tom Perrault, Chief People Officer at Rally Health, recently stated in the Harvard Business Review, “There will be a limit to how far computers can replace human capabilities, at least in the near long term. What can’t be replaced in any organization imaginable in the future is precisely what seems overlooked today: liberal arts skills, such as creativity, empathy, listening and vision. These skills, not digital or technological one, will hold the keys to a company’s future success. And yet companies aren’t hiring them.”

MCM is exactly the opposite of what was just described. The organization didn’t overlook or scorn me or my resume as I applied for the open position. Long before I applied they realized that diversity of thought can boost innovation and creative problem solving – two very important values to our company’s culture. Since day one, my colleagues encouragement helped me see that my immersion in the liberal arts can thrive here. Cheers to one year with MCM, and here’s to many more!