Mohamed El-Erian is resigning from his positions as CEO and Co-CIO of PIMCO, the California-based fund giant with over $1.9 trillion in assets under management.
El-Erian, a Business Insider contributor, is without a doubt one of the sharpest and most influential people in global finance.
But who are his influences?
Back in 2012, Business Insider asked who and what shaped the way he thinks.
From very early on El-Erian learned the value of seeing things from multiple perspectives. And he spent years questioning his own beliefs while at PIMCO where he experienced a culture of “healthy and constructive paranoia.”
Thanks to Mohamed El-Erian for helping us with this feature.
'It started with my father who, from a very young age, stressed to his children the value of education and multiple perspectives.
'Education had been his passport out of an Egyptian village and to university in Cairo, a PhD from Columbia University, and to a subsequent career as an academic, a diplomat and a judge at the International Court of Justice.
'He was committed to giving his children even greater opportunities. And he did.'
'For example, he spent a large part of his limited academic/civil servant salary on our schooling and our books. He prompted us to frequently read different interpretations of the same set of 'facts,' including a range of daily newspapers that covered the political spectrum. He encouraged us to aspire to a doctorate degree and not just a bachelor or masters. And he urged us to never accept conventional wisdom without questioning it first.'
'My father's influence was reinforced by the education I received at Cambridge University, where I did my first university degree, and my subsequent work environments (the IMF, Salomon and, especially, PIMCO).
'Economics at Cambridge in the late 1970s was not about seeing the world in a particular way. Instead, it was about gaining familiarity with four different schools of thought -- from neo-classical to Marxist, and for Keynesian to neo-Ricardian.'
'Critically, the emphasis went well beyond answering the question of the day. It was also about gaining a broad range of analytical tools to dissect it, explore it, and extend it into even more meaningful territory. Put another way, 'how' you thought about a problem was as important as the 'what' of the solution.
'We were expected to read the original works rather than textbooks. In fact, in my three years at Cambridge I never opened a textbook! And we had the privilege of small and focused tutorials and supervisions -- thus encouraging lots of debating and discussion.'
'For this, my colleagues and I owe a big thank you to Bill Gross. From day one, over 40 years ago, he instilled and hardwired into PIMCO a practical culture of continuous questioning, exploration and discovery -- what we call healthy and constructive paranoia. And we do so by using both internal and external thought leaders and innovators.'
El-Erian's thinking was initially shaped by his parents when he was a child, was shaped further as a young student, and continues to be shaped today as he is always questioning everything
'The bottom line is as follows: I have been very fortunate in my life to have parents, go to a university, work with people, and be influenced by ideas that value and promote diversity of thought and perspectives. Most importantly, this included the importance of always questioning, of pursuing cross-disciplinary work, of appreciating different cultural approaches, and of engaging in detailed scenario building that focuses both on baseline forecasts and also two-sided tail events.'
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