LSA Magazine featured a story on U-M Economics Alumnus Paul Viera (AB ’81) in their fall 2016 edition entitled, “The Important of Being Earnest.” In this article, they cover surviving the 2008 economic downturn, the important of diversity in the workplace, and above all the necessity of a curious mind.
In choosing a major, Viera did not want to limit himself by focusing on only business courses, that would come later. “A liberal arts undergraduate degree is way better than a refined business education, which you can get later. You need broad life experience to be able to make good financial decision,” says Viera. He chose the College of Literature, Science, & the Arts because of the broad curriculum it offered. He decided to major in economics because it allowed him to study human behavior in a nontraditional way. After graduating from U-M (AB ’81), he earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.
In founding EARNEST Partners, Viera took an approach similar to that which drove him to choose economics and LSA over Business, by assembling a diverse team with varying life experiences. When many of the large finance firms went out of business or were severely wounded by the 2008 recession, EARNEST Partners emerge relatively unscathed, a result he credits to his team’s broad mindset. “Survival comes through planning. We were well prepared for bad weather, and when it came, although it was not pleasant, we survived. People who became content, who didn’t plan for a different economic landscape, didn’t,” says Viera.
An element that sets Viera apart from others is the importance he places on people, on one’s ability to utilize data but to also go beyond it for innovative results.
Read “The Important of Being Earnest” by Rachel Reed