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Steps to finding your dream career

In College and don't know what future to pursue? Create an action plan with these simple steps from Wall Street banker, Asif Khan.
BY Asif Khan |   12-06-2013
Asif Khan

As I ventured into my college years, I quickly realized that I had to grow up and start thinking about what I wanted to do in my future professional career. Working hard and achieving high grades is a pre-requisite, but it is equally important to initiate a disciplined approach to pursuing your career dreams.

I will share some core principles to help you chart a plan towards your future, whatever that may be. These ideas come from my personal experience and observations through a15-year career on Wall Street.

1) Soul Searching: Get to know yourself as a person. It is critical that in order to chose the right career, it is important to learn more about yourself, including your own core strengths and likes or dislikes.

2) Professional Interests: Make a list of careers that you find interesting and learn more about them using any resources at your disposal - friends, family members, teachers, professors,media and internet tools.

3) Match Personality to Profession: Determine a list of professions where your personality and interests seem to be a good match. This is an important part of the process to assist you in finding long term success as it will eliminate roles and a career path that could lead to a lack of job satisfaction and therefore lack of passion, leading to slowed professional progress and growth.

4) Explore the real world: It is essential to explore different internships in your area of interest during your college years as it will allow you first-hand experience and the ability to gain an appreciation for various aspects of any particular job. You’ll also have an opportunity to interact with seasoned professionals. You may discover during this process that some of your chosen professions and jobs may not be the right fit for you and that will require you to return to the previous steps. This is not necessarily a bad thing at this stage.

5) Networking or No Working: The most successful business leaders in their professions are the ones who build a network of other capable people around them.  You should learn to build relationships with classmates and senior people in your organizations, surround yourself with mentors who will be there as advisors and provide you with guidance as you form building blocks for a successful career. It should not come as a surprise to you that a large majority of jobs and business opportunities come from professional and personal networks and not through newspaper or internet advertisements. Hence such networks will not only enhance your business but will lead to rewarding experiences and friendships.

It is my belief that the above guidelines will serve you well as you embark on college life and aspirations for the future. Don’t forget to enjoy these special times with friends and family but remember to keep an eye on the long-term prize – a career that satisfies you.


Asif Khan is a Wall Street banker with 15 years of experience – he has held senior roles in corporate finance, research, sales & trading in securitized products, and emerging markets. Beginning his career at Salomon Brothers in NY, he has also worked at Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs & Morgan Stanley. He is currently Managing Director with a boutique investment banking firm in NY. Khan holds an M.B.A. from William E. Simon School at University of Rochester and a BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) from Connecticut State University.



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