”One of my best skills is networking and I wouldn’t be able to make the most of it behind a computer”

”One of my best skills is networking and I wouldn’t be able to make the most of it behind a computer”

Third interview (Complete) for the project YoungHumansOfScience where I try to interview people related to this field and understand their stories in order to close the gap between society and science.

Adam: What attracted you to the field you are in?

Money.

I was always interested in entrepreneurship and having my own business, and even with studies in science you could do this but I didn’t want to invest 5 years of my life when I could start it earlier.

During high school I studied science in order to leave many doors open and get a better grasp of maths. At first I thought about doing medicine, but the career was too long, it took too many years and the return was low. With your first year out of med school you could already know how much you would make. I wanted a little bit more risk.

I always had skills that would help me more in entrepreneurship than in research.  When I was planning whether to go into finance or other option, I decided against it because one of my best skills is networking and I wouldn’t be able to make the most of it behind a computer.

Right now if I could go back I might think about doing an engineering degree. Because they give you a better training and you develop analytical skills that could be quite useful nowadays and for my work. But at the same time I know that I am less interested in it and it might not be worth it.

Adam: I have seen that you have a really practical point of view. How did you develop it, was there anything that you would say helped you be like this?

My father was always practical and I always tried to understand what happens around me. I always tried to search for that which would give me an edge over others, that which would make me stand out. Even within people who come out with the same diploma, even within the same promotion you can find huge differences between people and their success.

man wearing watch with black suit
Photo by Ruthson Zimmerman on Unsplash

Adam: What attracted you to the field you are in?

Money.

During high school I studied science in order to leave many doors open and get a better grasp of maths. At first I thought about doing medicine, but the career was too long, it took too many years and the return was low. With your first year out of med school you could already know how much you would make. I wanted a little bit more risk.

I was always interested in entrepreneurship and having my own business, and even with studies in science you could do this, but I didn’t want to invest 5 years of my life when I could start it earlier.

I always had skills that would help me more in entrepreneurship than in research.  When I was planning whether to go into finance or other options, I decided against it because one of my best skills is networking and I wouldn’t be able to make the most of it behind a computer.

Although right now if I could go back I might think about doing an engineering degree. Because they give you a better training and you develop analytical skills, and that could be quite useful nowadays and for my work. But at the same time, I know that I am less interested in it and it might not be worth it.

Adam: I have seen that you have a really practical point of view. How did you develop it, was there anything that you would say helped you be like this?

My father was always practical and I always tried to understand what happens around me. I always tried to search for that which would give me an edge over others, that which would make me stand out. Even within people who come out with the same diploma, even within the same promotion you can find huge differences between people and their success.

Adam: What would you say differentiates them?

I think that the main difference is their level of satisfaction in the moment (with the present). Those who are satisfied with what they have in the moment stop advancing as much.

Here is an example:

There is a guy I know who is working for a company, he said that they don’t pay him enough.

I told him: Give me your curriculum and we will do an interview and if you get the position, they will pay you more, but be aware that you will also have to work more and have a higher responsibility.

But he wanted to be able to finish work early and didn’t want to increase the responsibility, so he decided to stay where he was working, because he knew that in X amount of years he would be promoted and be able to earn more while keeping similar conditions.

Another guy I knew wanted to enter Mckinsey consulting but he wasn’t chosen. He did a master in finance while working for other consulting firms and before finishing he applied again to Mckinsey, and this time he was hired. Once in, he was already searching for his next opportunity to keep on rising.

I am not saying that any of the approaches is better. Both of them are respectable and they are both point of view of life in general, so it always depends on what you want to achieve. It all depends on who you are comparing yourself with, for example:

The one who entered Mckinsey was comparing himself with someone who worked in private equity. This one in private equity  was comparing himself with a CEO that had just closed a round with 1 million and the CEO was comparing himself to a Hedgefund manager that was up in the 120 million euros. So it all depends on what you want to achieve and who you are comparing yourself with.

Adam: What would you say makes you different? How did you distinguish yourself?

I’m always searching for something new. I might be satisfied because I achieved something but that would last half an hour and after that I already switch for the next step I want to take.

I would describe myself as eternally unsatisfied, in the sense that I always search for the next goal. This comes from a fear of stagnating, it is also the reason why I decided to leave my current job and go for a master’s degree. I decided that if I couldn’t achieve my objective this year then even if I stayed in the same place longer I wouldn’t achieve it, and so I decided to increase my skills.

I know that I shouldn’t stop because I have seen many that stagnated for too long and in the end they didn’t even know where they wanted to go next. They lost their objective.

The other thing that has helped me the most is networking. I learned soon the importance of being in contact with people and the importance of associating with certain types of people. Knowing people allowed me to get to know even more people, and I developed an idea of what could happen depending on your mentality.

You should search for groups that will let you improve, those with whom you can learn more in the fields you need for your goal. We usually have a tendency to try to be the best in a group, this comes from our constant desire for validation and we try to settle for what we know to feel safe.

You should fight your ego and try to search for those who can teach you and help you reach your goal. There is a saying:

”Would you rather be the head of an ant, or the tail of a lion”

I try to go with this saying and always try to learn from the people I meet and I try to make the most of each learning experience.

Another lesson I learned is to never go into defeatist mode. You should always try to use a perspective that can let you get something out of the situation.

For example:

When I was a student I never went all out for the exams, but this gave me the excuse of, ”Oh well, the ones who surpassed me only did it because they cared more about the exam than me”, but once I started working I saw that couldn’t continue using that excuse.

In consulting you have promotions every 6 months, and since it is competitive you can see how others excel more than you and grab that chance and it is hard to accept that in a positive way.

Because it shows that there are others with more experience who are really smart and really good, but if you change your point of view you can see that it is actually an opportunity to learn from others who are more experience than you and you try to make the most of the time with them by learning as much as possible.

Actually, even if you have a really good network with really motivated people, unless you have a positive mentality you won’t be able to make the most of that circle of people . A mentality that lets you make the most of any situation is even more important than just meeting with others who are better.

if you have a really good network with really motivated people, unless you have a positive mentality you won’t be able to make the most of that circle of people . A mentality that lets you make the most of any situation is even more important than just meeting with others who are better.

Adam:What would you say is your biggest struggle now?

I was always interested in entrepreneuship, but I also know that it is the kind of thing where unless you try it you can’t understand it. When you want to start you are faced only with a blank page and no idea of where you should start, no path to follow.

Right now I am working in consulting, I knew I wanted to do this, I learned of it 2 or 3 years ago. While participating in a contest we were presented with different challenges and I saw that I was loving it, but it wasn’t until the end that I got to know that what we were doing was strategic consulting and there I knew I wanted to work on it.

I still like it but it won’t be able to fulfil my goals so I am searching for the next step. It won’t be entrepreneurhsip yet, because there is a correlation between experience and success in start ups and I still need more experience.

Adam: What would you like to make for your start up? Which kind of project?

The first thing is that you can’t make reinvent the wheel and the second is that nowadays tech is the field driving the start up world and investment. Since I am interested in tech and I have high adaptability, I was able to get to the level of my teammates in a consulting firm working in telecomunications which showed me I am highly adaptable, so I know I could manage.

But I still don’t know which project I will do. For now, I will aim to keep different doors open.

Photo by Oumaima Ben Chebtit on Unsplash

Adam: Any advice for those who are just getting ready to take their next step?

You should plan what you want to do, but take into account that there will always be an unknown factor you can’t take into account and that you should always plan for the worst case scenario. You should also learn to let go of things you can’t control, don’t let them get in your way because it is a waste of time.

Adam: Is there any book or movie you would recommend?

The book ”How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie, it is one of the best resources to learn how to network and although the title might sound a bit scammy the book is really worth it.

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To read more of the interviews follow this link.

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