Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Alumna Explores How Studying Literature, Econ, Made Her A Better Investor

April 30, 2015
A Copy of Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own

Finance professional Manisha Thakor ’92 says authors like Virginia Woolf and Edith Wharton had a big influence on her career path. From Woolf, she learned the value of women having their own money and their own space. From Wharton, the danger of living beyond one’s means and focusing excessively on material things.

Thakor writes an expert leadership column for the Wall Street Journal and recently penned a blog post titled “How Economics and Literature Made Me a Better Investor,” where she reflected on the impact of a liberal arts education at Wellesley on her career path.  

“At Wellesley College, there is an iconic economics course taught by Prof. Joe Joyce [professor of economics] on capital markets. In this class, students are introduced to Burton Malkiel’s seminal classic, A Random Walk Down Wall Street,” Thakor wrote in the April 13 column. “The notion of efficient markets (basically the concept that market prices currently and accurately reflect all known or knowable information nearly instantly) was one I didn’t adhere to immediately.”

Thakor said she followed “the investment road most commonly traveled” at first, but when “those early lessons about market efficiency and the futility of trying to beat it finally sunk in,” she experienced a personal and professional wake-up call.

“While an understanding of basic math and economic concepts is essential to build [a] solid base, some of the more surprising insights often come from unexpected places. Classic books, for example, showcase the timeless nature of the human quest to find balance between the concepts of ‘more’ and ‘enough,’” Thakor wrote.

“What I take away from the 20-plus years I spent between learning this lesson and actually internalizing it is that sometimes the best seeds sprout last,” Thakor wrote. “To those currently in school, I’d recommend staying open to the concept of lifelong learning. View the information you are absorbing in your courses as building blocks that will evolve and shift over time as you, and the world around you, changes.”

In an email she wrote, “Wellesley totally changed my life, putting me on the path to a career and personal journey beyond my wildest expectations.”

Thakor is director of wealth strategies for women at Buckingham and The BAM Alliance, a community of independent registered investment advisers. She is also founder and CEO MoneyZen Wealth Management, LLC, based in Santa Fe.

Read the entire column, “How Economics and Literature Made Me a Better Investor,” on the Wall Street Journal’s “The Experts” blog, or her follow her on Twitter @ManishaThakor.