Thursday, March 22, 2012

My transition into an Investment Banking Career from a career in Medicine, by utilizing my General MBA training :) --> (I need to get my CFA certification & designation. Guess what, I started working on it yesterday :)

I rewrote my resume yesterday. And changed my LinkedIn positioning. Directed it towards I-Banking. This is my future. Or so, it seems for now, at this stage of my life, where I stand. Of course, it is a huge decision. But I feel this is right for me for now. This is what the first paragraph of my resume now reads:

After working in the field of Medicine more than 12 years, my career changed to Business. While being extremely fond of Marketing, Strategy, Consulting, Healthcare Industry Management and General Management until the recent past, my enthusiasm is now in Banking. Presently looking at Analyst / Associate positions (Financial, Investment, Risk, VC, Security, Derivatives, Regulatory, Operations or Compliance) as possible starting point. There shall be a short learning curve involved, but followed by excellent performance and results.

I became a member of the CGA Institute yesterday and shall start preparing for the Level 1 exam soon. I guess I have begun the journey in that direction now :) One of my uncles in India owns a bank in South India. Our relatives have been associated with the banking industry in India for a few generations. My dad was a Chemical Engineer (he passed away last year, bless his soul. RIP.) and I was a Medical doctor before. But it is time for a career change. I have had experience making investments in India in the past and was good at it. Investing is an exciting field, especially, when you are winning :) and I am taking a chance and am making the switch today!

One of the motivation for people to get into BComm, BBA, MBA and so on is to make big bucks from high paying jobs. It is well known that jobs in Investment Banking pay well. Even better than Consulting jobs. Even better than sales or HR related jobs. Much better than NGO jobs. Now, not every fresh MBA graduate can get into higher Management easily. Big bucks from big positions take time. However, when it comes to Finance, you can start off with a higher package from the very beginning. And the pay only increases with time. So it is wise to keep Finance related careerpath options open and not rule it out completely. 

As mentioned already, I have shifted interests a lot of times during this MBA program. It is so easy to get confused about your career choices. As much as they all look the same, they are all different! The difference many not be noticeable during the MBA or before the MBA, but they shall be significant AFTER the MBA program. I have gone from being in love with Marketing ---> to Management Consulting ---> to Entrepreneurship ---> to General Corporate Finance ---> to Investments.

Now, my shifts in interests has not been due to the money factor alone (though money does play a role. Call me any name you like, but I see it as inappropriate that I should be paid less than $100K a year. That is an insult, dude! What about all the hard work that I have put into, all the time, money and energy. What about my experience? My intelligence? I would not be a happy camper making $60K a year. No sir! I deserve better. $100K a year is only just about right :). Tell you something, the economy is not the in the best of shape right now. High paying jobs for MBAs are not easy to come by. NOT every MBA makes a $100K package a year in Canada right now - and that is the truth! It is not uncommon to find unelmployed or underemployed MBAs. That is the truth.

I thoroughly enjoy the field of Marketing. But I also like Consulting. I have a few ideas for Entrepeneurships, as well, having had a few minor successes in the past in the real estate + have plans for something in the Healthcare sector. However, And as I get to understand Finance better, I am falling in love with the subject of Finance. I remember taking an immense liking to Economics as well (though some of the quantitative aspects were a bit tougher than I had expected). Economics & Finance are closely related, just like Accounting & Finance are closely related. The knowledge of Accounting, Economics & Finance is such a potent cocktail. It is immensely empowering. This is what makes the world go round. And to think that you have begun to understand how the world operates - this is highly empowering and a great ego booster!

Learning the core concepts of Economics & Finance is like learning how to ride a bicycle - once you learn, you know how to do it! And you just keep on riding. It is also like climbing Mt. Everest. After you reached the peak, nothing seems difficult to achieve anymore! Having read a lot of historical aspects of Finance recently, I have learnt that everyone started from the bottom and everyone started small. No one was born a Finance whizkid. People learnt the ropes gradually. Which means that it is not too crazy a thought for me, as a Medical Doctor to venture into the practice and / or research of Corporate Finance. Even better, I can do a better job at valuations of Pharmaceutical & Medical Device companies as well as healthcare related companies and evaluate their performance. I look forward to learning Finance in even more depth and exploring career options in this field :) It is no big deal. If others can master it, I can master it! I am as good as the others. We are all human beings. If we take sincere interest, we can master a lot of concepts!

This is the time for me to decide the future path. The final year and the final term of the MBA is a time for the MBA students to decide what they want to do with their degrees and their lives. I guess I have made my choice and shall stick with it. The beauty of Investing is that you shall be closely related to Entrepreneurs, Marketers, Managers and Business owners - all the other fields that other MBAs love to do. And you are still a part of it all :) So you are not really losing your magic touch in those other fields (wishful thinking!).

- Gerry Som.
Final Year MBA student.

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