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‘Trust the power of failures, it will help you grow personally and professionally,’ says this ASM alumnus

Mohit Malhotra, an ASM alumnus who is working with a financial services company, shares effective tips for students planning to pursue a similar career path

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An alumnus of the Apeejay School of Management (ASM), Mohit Malhotra is working as a Manager with Ameriprise Financial, a diversified financial services company, and bank holding company. With more than a decade of work experience, Malhotra’s journey has been full of learnings, one of the most important being the need to constantly work on the self and imbibe skills. In an interview, he shares important advice for building one’s personality and excelling in the finance industry. Edited excerpts:

You have been at Ameriprise for more than a decade now. In the age of rapid job switches, what motivated you to stay on?

Mohit with his wife Monica Malhotra

My journey at Ameriprise has been very interesting. When you come out of college, there are new challenges in terms of getting accustomed to the corporate world. My journey from an analyst to middle and senior management has been full of learnings and some great experiences. I think what probably kept me glued to the organisation was its culture, my leaders, and the team which supported me throughout. It laid out a path for me where I could see my growth and what skills I need to inculcate which was probably why I stayed with Ameriprise for over a period of 11 years now. It is always believed that it is better to travel well than to arrive and that sums up my journey in the organisation.

Can you share some tips for students planning to make a career in finance?

I am not an expert but if I were to share the learnings from my experience, I think people looking to make a career in finance should have a thorough knowledge of the subject not just by studying textbooks but finance newspapers and journals too. Reading balance sheets of the companies you want to purchase stocks from, learning how the stock market works, economic policies, and so on, are important. You have to stay updated with all the developments with respect to the economy. Equally important is the competitive usage of Excel.

Is today’s generation well-versed with the diverse career options available to them in the field of finance or is there a lack of awareness?

I think they are well-versed. Again, it goes back to the education that colleges and institutions are imparting. MBA is an option, of course. I have also seen students pursuing Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) programme, Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Financial Risk Management (FRM), etc., after graduation. I have seen their keenness to learn as compared to the previous generation five to ten years back. The experts in the field, from professors to industry leaders, do a great job in counselling them and guiding them about the correct career path, whether it is accounting, auditing, financial planning for corporates, tax planning, etc.

You pursued PGDM in Finance and International Business at ASM. How did ASM and its curriculum prepare you for the industry?

My college education has exceptionally prepared me for a smooth transition from college to the industry by providing me with the skills necessary to succeed. During my internship, with the help of Apeejay, I was able to develop useful strategies within a team. The experience also helped me develop my communication skills as I was required to work with others to create solutions. That is how ASM helped me prepare for a successful financial analyst career. In addition, mock interviews and group discussions, critical thinking skills helped me overcome subsequent hurdles. The focus on problem-solving rather than just mugging up theories and working through high-quality results was what ASM was all about.

What have been your major learnings till now?

One of the things that I have learned is to avoid stagnation, which, in most cases, becomes an unavoidable part of a job. My advice to young folks is to be open to learning and always better yourself as a person. Just because you have achieved some success does not mean you stop trying to improve as a person. You should continue to challenge yourself.

Second, prioritise connecting with others, whether it is a professional colleague, friend, or family member. I believe each relationship helps you build as a person. Making these connections helps you keep up with the learning curve as well as your career progression.

Third, while we all face failures, I think it is better to look on the brighter side. You may end up with a failed project or presentation but do not underestimate your efforts and hard work that went into making it. At least, you gave your best shot. Take the lessons and move forward—that is what optimism is all about.

Fourth, focus on developing and using your strengths rather than becoming a jack of all trades. Identify what you are best at and continue to work on those skills. While it is important to have adequate knowledge about all the concepts, there would definitely be one or two things that you would be passionate about.

Work until the work is done. If you have committed to working on something, give it a shot. Do not procrastinate. Apeejay, for instance, inculcated that spirit very well by teaching us how to work within tight deadlines. That is what the corporate is also all about. Again, trust the power of failures—it will help you grow both personally as well as professionally.

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Senior Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.

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