7 steps to working out what you want and how to get it
A bit about me
My career journey starts in Egypt, where I graduated law school at Cairo University. After this, I practiced law for a couple of years. But I soon realized that despite the rewards of being a lawyer, I had a deeper passion for finance. So I decided to embark on my very own roller coaster of shifting career pathsꟷa risky decision but one I knew I had to take.
I enrolled onto the Global One-Year MBA at Hult. This was an exceptional opportunity to develop my professional skills, meet people from diverse backgrounds, and be in an environment that encourages individuals to grow. This led to an internship as a Private Equity M&A analyst, which gave me crucial industry exposure. It wasn’t easy. I had many knock-backs. But I secured a role in the Corporate Banking team at Bank Audi. And today, I’m happy to say I’m Associate Managing Consultant at MasterCard Advisors (MEA region,) and a CFA Level 3 Candidate.
I can say without a doubt, that this journey was one of the most challenging – yet rewarding – experiences of my life. I’ve summarized below the lessons I learned along the way. If you feel unfulfilled in your professional life and are unsure where to go next, then I hope you will find this useful in working out what you want and how to get it.
Acknowledge what you do NOT want to do
It had always been my dream to take over the family business and pursue a long term career in law, only to later find out that this was not my true calling. I was often dealing with financial transactions that sparked my interest. I wanted to learn more. But I had minimal knowledge of corporate finance. It was a tough decision on many levels. But I didn’t want to be someone who down the line thinks “What if?”
Bottom line: If you know you’re in the wrong profession, you’re not alone. This is actually a major step toward finding your rightful place.
Acknowledging you’re in the wrong profession is actually the first major step toward finding your rightful place.
Identify knowledge gaps
I had no financial background. I needed to enhance my technical skills as well as fully understand how the professional financial mind operates. I had minimal knowledge of the basic tools needed for finance.
At Hult, I overcame all these obstacles. The pool of knowledgeable individuals was unbelievable. I found myself in a positive environment of constant learningꟷboth in and out of the classroom. An environment where everyone is supportive. One that encourages the sharing of ideas. I also studied for the CFA, which improved my confidence in both my mission and my knowledge. It was clear to me early on that Hult’s collaborative spirit would aid my career transformation.
Bottom line: You need to put in the effort, time, and dedication to fill your knowledge gaps. And find an environment that supports and strengthens your mission.
I found myself in a collaborative, supportive environment of constant learning at Hult – both in and out of the classroom.
Take the time to explore your options, through experimentation
In the beginning, I was not sure what I wanted to do. I was in transition, and in unfamiliar territory. So I decided to experiment in the different fields of finance, and through experimenting, a natural path emerged.
At that point, my Career Development Advisor Jane Russell played an important role in helping me identify what I needed to do. She reminded me of the main reason I had come to Hult in the first place: to build my career and grow professionally.
Bottom line: My advice to you is when lost, always seek professional help and don’t be afraid to ask those with experience.
Find the right support groups
At Hult, I found the perfect support group. My classmates came from all over the world; Mexico, Venezuela, Germany, Colombia, and more. Despite our different backgrounds, we shared an experience unlike any other, and the relationships we built throughout that year were empowering. It felt like I had a family with me at Hult, even if I was away from home.
The Hult professors inspired me to achieve my goals. I am particularly grateful for the constant challenges and guidance Prof. Frederic Chartier gave me. He constantly pushed us in class, and helped me to overcome my fear of finance. Also to Dr. Viktoria Dalko for her insight and encouragement.
With the encouragement of our professors, the guidance of our counselors, and the family that I’m fortunate to have gained while at Hult, I knew that I could achieve any goal.
Bottom line: Listen to others’ suggestions, and then decide how to utilize this support and information.
Despite our different backgrounds, we all shared an experience unlike any other – it felt like I gained a family.
Refuel yourself with the pessimism of others
Risky decisions are not always encouraged or welcomed, but are often rewarding. Believe in your mission, despite what you hear. If you know it is right for you, do what it takes to make it work. You certainly can not do it…unless you try.
Bottom line: You must overcome negative or discouraging feedback. Otherwise, it is just a distraction from your ultimate goal. Let it drive you forward. Believe in what you want to do.
Use others’ negativity to drive you forward.
Prior experiences are cumulative building blocks, not to be looked at in isolation
Whatever you learn in an internship, course, or professional conversation – it is always added value. Bundle different knowledge angles and understand different ideas, and develop a product that only you can bring to the table.
Bottom line: Always leverage what you learn, and find unique solutions that link conflicting mindsets.
Be ready to risk it all
Ask yourself how much you want this, and how willing you are to take the risks necessary to get what you want. I risked it all, and I can truly say that it is the best decision I ever made. I jeopardized my position as an Associate Attorney to become a 29-year old student and intern with close to zero financial knowledge or business acumen. Deciding to change career paths and starting over in a field that was unknown to me was a huge challenge, but one that I am immensely satisfied to have overcome.
Bottom line: It might take time. But put in the work, be patient, and you will reach your goal.
To learn more about switching your career with Hult, download a brochure.
Find Moustafa on Linkedin.