One of life's biggest ironies is that we usually don't end up working in what we study.
I was trained as an engineer in university. Contrary to most of my peers, the world of finance and banking didn't come to me as a graduation gift. I had to constantly challenge the conventional wisdom inherited from elders and my seniors in order to get my way and justify my existence and relevance in a corporate finance role.
In the last 17+ years, I am grateful to have the opportunity to leverage my knowledge in engineering, and synthesise this with my work in investment banking (read my cover letter from 2006.)
But the process of learning does not stop at the point of graduation. It is something that should be consistently acquired long even after we leave school.
The classroom setting and other institutionalised learning methods provide a somewhat safe and systematic way of acquiring knowledge in those formative years.
Yet, many important personality traits and lifelong survival skills such as emotional intelligence, grit and problem solving, that are picked up in the professional setting, are instrumental in shaping our abilities in the real world.
I studied computer engineering in university with no prior background or knowledge in programming. The learning curve had been steep and I was consistently outdone by my peers in school.
After struggling through most parts of my freshman year, I decided to cast aside the pursuit for grades and take the subjects that really interest me: software engineering, computer networks, cybercrime and artificial intelligence.
My STEM-based education has played a significant part in how I look at the business and finance world: Logic, mathematical reasoning and problem solving are at the core of it.
This subsequently also became one of the more unique features that has enabled me to stand out from the rest of my accounting, finance, and of course engineering-schooled peers.
Having the privilege of working alongside many senior professionals and business owners from the investment and banking landscape in Asia, I had also cultivated an extremely practical towards business valuation and financial modelling.
I currently teach financial modelling and business valuation to working professionals in an adjunct capacity. These teaching engagements have not only allowed me to engaged industry practitioners from various industries but also provided me with the opportunity to consolidate my learnings, and also stay up-to-date with the real world.
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I hope that you draw many useful insights from what you read here.