“I found out I was much better at constructing sentences than building equations,” the Albuquerque Academy graduate said.
Specifically, he found out that he loved writing about how an economy works, and the complex stories that came with it.
And now he has a front-row seat writing about one of the top economic stories in the world: the impact of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, also known as Brexit.
Karaian is the global finance and economics editor at Quartz, a global business news site based in London. He’ll be discussing the impact of Brexit on the U.K., Europe and the rest of the world, including New Mexico, at an Albuquerque International Association sponsored talk Friday, Oct. 4, at the Albuquerque Journal.
“Brexit has consumed everything in the U.K.,” he said. “Brexit is part of my work life.”
It is a work life he didn’t envision when he moved to London in 2002 after working as a macroeconomic analyst in Chicago. He spent 10 years at The Economist Group, first at the European edition of CFO magazine and later as financial services editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit, before joining Quartz in 2013 as senior European correspondent.
He now runs a team of reporters covering finance, markets economics – everything from Brexit to trade wars, IPOs, cryptocurrencies “and much else besides.”
“I joined as a reporter covering Europe just as the Greek debt crisis was kicking off,” he said. “I became finance editor about three years ago.”
Quartz was founded in 2012 by the owner of The Atlantic magazine. These days, it reaches about 20 million readers a month.
Karaian said he didn’t expect to live that long in London, “but 17 years later, I love writing about Europe and writing about businesses in Europe.”
“Sometimes people ask me after so many years in London whether I feel British,” he said. “My answer is that I play cricket. It’s a long way from my early days on the dusty fields of Roadrunner Little League.”
He also said he hasn’t forgotten his roots.
“I’m a proud New Mexican,” he said. And he’s met other New Mexicans living in London who feel the same way. “Even though London is known for being cloudy and rainy, I love both places.”
He’s spending about a week back home, arriving in time for the Balloon Fiesta, which he said he hasn’t attended since he was in high school.
“It will be good catching up with family and old friends,” Karaian said. “My wife is with me. We’re also going to be fishing on the San Juan.”
As for when he returns to London, it appears he may be writing about Brexit for some time to come. He believes an extension beyond its Oct. 31 deadline is likely, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Parliament and the EU “far apart” on the issues of separation.
“The U.K. is not the same place that it was before the referendum (in 2016),” Karaian said. “It’s scrambled the politics of the place. It’s affected the economy in a profound way. And it’s changed the relationships with its partnerships and allies around the world.”