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Alumnus Manuel Giner graduated from SHPRS with his bachelor’s degree in history in 2008.
Giner answered a few questions about his current position, his time with SHPRS and tips for current students.
Tell us a little bit about your current position and you found yourself there.
I’m currently a Vice President and Underwriter at Euclid Transactional, a transactional insurance underwriting and claims handling platform that provides representations & warranties, tax liability and contingent liability insurance for mergers, acquisitions and similar transactions. I’m a corporate attorney by training. After graduating from ASU in 2008, I left Arizona to attend law school at Yale. After law school, I joined a law firm in New York called Debevoise & Plimpton where I advised clients on mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance matters. In between Euclid and Debevoise, I was a Senior Underwriter at AIG doing the same type of work I do now.
Growing up, were you always interested in history?
I’ve been interested in History for as long as I can remember. In elementary school, I used to become frustrated that History wasn’t a formally taught subject. As a result, for any sort of free time or project where we could select the topic, I would be sure to choose something with a historical element. During free library time, I was in the History section. When tasked with choosing a book for a book report, I was choosing something set in the distant past. I was always much more interested and engaged when History was a part of the curriculum.
What attracted you to the undergraduate history program at ASU?
Any time you have a program with the scope of options that ASU has, it’s attractive. I’m glad that ASU’s curriculum requirements made me go outside of my comfort zone and work in areas that I wasn’t familiar with. Some of my best memories are from a Chinese history class that I wouldn’t have taken had it not been a requirement.
Tell us about your time with SHPRS
I came to ASU knowing I was going to major in History, so I spent most of my time taking classes that I was interested in and slowly expanding those interests as a result. I ended up having a geographic focus on Latin America which was not something I had planned on going into the program.
Did SHPRS and your degree help in preparing you for your current position?
If the skills taught doing historical research are the ability to consume vast amounts of information, form an argument and articulate that argument coherently, then I can’t think of many career paths to which the skill set doesn’t apply. It was extremely helpful as a law student and young lawyer.
Was there a defining moment with your academic career?
After an exam in an American History class in which I didn’t receive the grade I wanted, I reached out to the professor to talk about what I could have done better. That was completely out of character for me at the time, but the professor was so approachable and I received so much helpful feedback that it changed how I approached school. I stopped being a silent participant in class after that and became much more willing to use professors as resource to learn and improve.
What is the most useful thing you learned that you can still apply today?
The most useful thing I learned is an extension of what I learned after approaching the professor after the bad grade. I realized that I wasn’t going to be as effective as possible by trying to go through life on my own. Reaching out for help, owning your disappointments and failures and asking questions are only going to make you better at whatever you’re trying to do. That was an important shift for me and something that’s made me a much better lawyer.
Were there any extracurricular activities you were involved in at ASU?
I think I attended a few Hispanic Business Students Association meetings but I wasn’t too interested in business at the time (though now it’s all I do!). Most of my free time was spent working part time jobs to help pay for living expenses.
Do you have any tips for current students?
Through my time in school and during my career, I’ve always learned the most from my failures and my mistakes. I think learning how to handle the concomitant disappointment and embarrassment and turning them into productive instruction for yourself is an important part of growing up and being successful. Whatever advice you receive from others, it won’t ever make sense until you mess up and figure it out for yourself.