May 19, 2020
Studies in business, philosophy shape leadership persona of Nathan Perez ’20
By Nick Wesman ’20G
From a quick look at the accomplishments of Nathan Perez ’20 it’s clear the finance major from Lowell, Mass., has a drive to succeed.
A natural leader with a sharp business acumen, Perez was named one of 2020’s “100 Best and Brightest Business Majors” by Poets & Quants, a news organization covering business schools worldwide. That honor followed recognition as this past academic year’s “Most Outstanding Member of the Student Body,” awarded by Student Congress.
Such honors and awards have been in the making for several years. As a sophomore in 2017-18, Perez was named “Emerging Leader of the Year” by the Office of Student Activities and Cultural Programming. That fall, he was granted a business development internship with EMAA International in Prague, Czech Republic. While there, he constructed market analyses for the company around projects as disparate as military equipment and food services, all while taking courses at Anglo-American University in Prague.
For the past three summers, Perez has interned at the Boston branch of the global accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. His performance landed him a job with PwC after graduation as a deals and valuation associate, working with companies to determine their value prior to mergers or acquisitions, as well as performing appraisals for tax purposes.
Perez’s work ethic is apparent to those around him. He approaches problems, whether in class or in the workplace, with confidence in his ideas and an openness to hear and work with others.
“Nathan exudes a kind of innate humility that allows him to be vocal and inquisitive while still providing the kind of accommodating environment that allows others to conflict with his views,” said Dr. Matthew C. Murray, visiting assistant professor of philosophy.
Frank D. Lin, visiting finance professor and another of Perez’s professors, echoed Murray’s sentiments.
“Nathan is a leader, field general-type material, yet approachable and easy to get to know. He’s patient, unassuming, and mentoring,” said Lin.
Perez’s early achievements and successes in the business world have been complemented by an intense interest in philosophy. The four-year philosophy minor has continued to demonstrate both an interest in challenging himself and in considering the ideas and positions of his peers and instructors.
“You always knew what Nathan thought but also knew you could express something else and he would actively listen, engage, and respect you for doing so,” said Murray.
A curiosity for learning and finding different approaches to “big questions” motivated Perez to take on the minor. He feels lessons learned in philosophy courses have helped him in the business world.
Philosophy has provided practical skills, such as reading comprehension and pulling germane details from heavy text, and a lot of guidance in the area of ethics, he said.
Interestingly, it was an opportunity provided by the PC School of Business that both confirmed Perez’s path into finance and gave him a space to put philosophical practices into action.
Participating in the 2019 Michael Smith Regional Ethics Case Competition, hosted by PCSB and the Ethics in Business Education Program, Perez and fellow team members were challenged to apply not only business concepts but others they had encountered through courses in their liberal arts education. Perez leaned on his philosophy background.
“The competition was an experience that helped me understand I was in the right field,” said Perez. “In finance, things aren’t always black and white; you can’t always follow a general direction. Philosophy has helped me to think differently about how I approach problems and think of solutions.”
In philosophy, Perez also found an approach to, and a foundation for, his developing faith.
“I was starting to find my faith and it made sense to me to find it through philosophy rather than theology, by answering more personal life questions and figuring out those things,” said Perez, who is fluent in Spanish and is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society in Business and the Phi Sigma Tau Honor Society in Philosophy.
“Philosophy is fundamental to my faith and understanding why things are the way they are. At PC, having the Dominicans, having other people who are strong in their faith, has been helpful because I’ve been able to ask the hard questions. Before philosophy, I didn’t necessarily know I had them.”
He has cultivated that faith through action, serving first as a peer minister for two years. During his senior year, he held the role of community chair of Campus Ministry’ s executive board.
It’s an element of Perez that is not lost on his professors.
“Nate’s a guy who applies and executes his faith and beliefs,” said Lin. “He’s respectful of both his peers and faculty but is unafraid to challenge the status quo and stand up for his beliefs and friends.”
Perez’s time at PC — in class, at work, and in leadership roles — has focused as much on his innate interest in the success of others as it has on his own growth.
Whether it be through the Peer Ministry Program, helping new students as an orientation leader, establishing connections for fellow Latinx business majors as the president of the PC branch of the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA), or at PwC, Perez relishes the chance to build relationships and networks.
“I’m definitely a people person, an extrovert. It’s been important to me, in any kind of organization or club, to have an ability to foster new connections and have genuine conversations,” he said.
It’s an approach to interactions that carries into the professional world.
“In the workforce, I knew I couldn’t just be somebody always behind the scenes. For me, I need the stimulation coming from other people,” he said.
“Building relationships is very important in finance; there’s no project you do alone. You have to build trust and you have to work as a team.”
That desire to assist, guide, and learn from those around him has shaped Perez into the effective leader his peers, professors, and work associates know.
“If there’s one to carry the PC mantra, it’s Nate,” said Lin. “He’s exactly what you want in a leader: a walk-the-walk type.”
“It is easy to see why people are drawn to Nathan,” concluded Murray. “He tries to be an exemplar of the virtues he holds paramount, while having the humility to know he can learn so much from those who surround him.”
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