Not everyone can take credit for predicting the recession of 2008/2009, however, thanks to his diligent pursuit of knowledge through higher education, U.S. economist Dan North accurately forecasted the implications of an event that took most of the country by surprise, including Baltimore.
Today, with a long list of accomplishments including being ranked 4th on Bloomberg’s list of 65 top economic forecasters in 2010; regularly featured on shows like CNBC and Fox Business News; as well as quoted by Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, USA Today and many more, Mr. North still pinpoints his college education as the launching point for his career.
Mr. North earned his Bachelor’s in Engineering from University of Virginia and M.B.A. from University of Pennsylvania – The Wharton School. Presently he works at Euler Hermes, the oldest and largest trade credit insurance company in the world with North America Headquarters located in Owings Mills.
Could you have reached your present position without your education endeavors?
“I was an engineer for six years, which still serves me today in terms of logic and facility with numbers. But I really had very little understanding of the business world, which is why I went back to school. Now I literally use what I learned in school every single day, and without that education, I really don’t think I could do this job.”
How do you keep your skills up to date?
“Conferences and seminars are certainly important, but other forms of education are crucial as well. I also keep my skills up to date by trying to keep up with the daily torrent of information coming from around the globe. While driving, I listen to CNBC, Bloomberg, Fox Business News and C-Span. At work, it’s a continuous intake of information from various websites and newspapers. It’s important to note that you can often learn a lot more from op-eds than you can from regular articles. Then by asking yourself what’s right or wrong with these opinions and analyses, you can continuously challenge your own thinking. And I do refer to my old notes and texts from business school – they can be invaluable.”
What advice would you share with others who are interested in following a similar career path?
“No matter what level of school you’re in, take the hardest classes you can – they’re usually the best and they’re the ones where you can learn the most. Also, take in as much knowledge as you can every day from outside sources. Often just knowing the details of policies, programs and events can make your role valuable. Finally, while it may seem obvious, most people entering the job market often make the fatal mistake of not matching the needs of the employer. If the employer is looking for skills A, B and C, you must show that you have skills A, B and C, not that you want to use skills D and E.”
Keri Ann Beazell is a Baltimore writer following the latest developments in arts and culture, natural wonders, lifestyle and pets. She enjoys promoting thought-provoking discussions, education, new ideas and smiles among readers. Follow her online at beazellblog.com and Examiner.com.