Philosophy Alum Becomes Investment Expert

Rufus Rankin
Rufus Rankin

“From the time I was a kid,” says Rufus Rankin, “I wanted to pursue philosophy or become a professional investor.” Since graduating from NC State with a B.A. in Philosophy in 1999, he has discovered that he can do both.

Rufus is now a portfolio manager and the Director of Research at Equinox Institutional Asset Management, a boutique investment firm in Princeton, NJ. He completed an M.I.S. degree at NC State in 2004 and earned a Doctorate of Business Administration at Grenoble Ecole de Management in 2013. He also sees his background in philosophy as a key factor in his success.

Studying philosophy at NC State over a few years and then continuing to think about it for many more years led Rufus to a few questions that have helped him a great deal: “What do I know about the world and how it works?” “How do I know these things and how do I have confidence in this knowledge?” “What do I want to accomplish, and what is the best way to do that given what I know about the world and how I know these things?”

Rufus is enthusiastic about his time as a philosophy student at NC State and how it has helped him in his professional career.

“Rather than a particular class or professor that crystalized some deep wisdom for me, it was the process of engaging with philosophers and professors that had the greatest impact on me and in a sense is still core to what I do now as an investment manager and finance researcher.”

“One of the great parts of my job is that I get to spend time with a diverse array of smart people with backgrounds in physics, statistics, economics, engineering and other fields. People in quantitative finance typically come from the hard sciences. Rather than feeling at a disadvantage, I actually feel better equipped than most to interact with and even understand the investment theories and programs that these clever people design.”

“My time as a philosophy major,” he adds, “was indeed well spent, and I appreciate it more every year.”

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