Most people will tell you that you need to major in accounting, economics, or finance to land a job on Wall Street.
Daniel Rasmussen is the founder of Verdad Fund Advisors, and he’s calling BS on needing a BS.
Rasmussen, who was recently named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30” finance list, majored in history and literature at Harvard University. He is also the author of “American Uprising,” a New York Times best-seller that chronicles a little-known slave rebellion in pre-Civil War Louisiana.
He told Business Insider that he found a home in finance after he joined Bridgewater Associates as an intern. He went on to work for the private-equity company Bain Capital, after which he founded his own hedge fund, where he aims “to replicate private-equity returns in the public markets by using research and quantitative methods to build a portfolio of leveraged companies.”
Though he has spent nearly a decade in finance, he is still a historian at heart. And Rasmussen said he believes humanities majors have something special to offer financial firms.
“Students of history and literature are more trained to understand the existence of multiple perspectives and to engage with them, and so can often more accurately understand the human dynamics that drive stock market flows,” Rasmussen said.
That skill is the reason he exclusively hires liberal arts majors for his undergraduate internship program.
Rasmussen firmly believes that every financier should have a strong education in the history of finance.
“I think my best recommendation is to read the academia – the books of great investors,” he said. “How can you bet on someone’s money without knowing the history?”
He strongly suggests the work of Eugene Fama, whom many consider the father of finance, as a must-read. Rasmussen also recommends Robert Shiller’s “Irrational Exuberance” and Philip Tetlock’s “Expert Political Judgment.”