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Blake Hall: Reflection on History Major

Posted by on Wednesday, September 21, 2022 in Student Reflections.

Blake Hall ’04

I was a history major. I double-majored in American history and economics. I found it quite helpful to have the economic theory paired with the history so I could understand how the world’s wealthiest country developed and how real world events drove improvements to theory (hello, long-term capital management). Anecdotally, a fair number of my classmates at Harvard Business School were also history majors.

I think I’m doing fine :-).

Brian Armstrong, who co-founder & CEO at Coinbase, wrote this great article that breaks down the different types of CEOs. It’s very interesting to note that a great CEO can excel at any of the four disciplines so long as they are able to build a team around them that can compensate.

For my part, if you’re an entrepreneur looking to be the next Zuckerberg, then you had better have an idea of how markets develop. The best VCs and entrepreneurs I have met possess a keen level of understanding about the history of their field so they can best assess timing and patterns.

Also, there is research from Harvard Business School that shows that emotional intelligence is the most significant predictor of an executive’s success provided he or she meets threshold levels for IQ and experience. And, if you read more, then you tend to be more empathetic while immersion in technology has the opposite effect.