Focus On Your Career, Not Just Your Job

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By Sabina Chokusheva​, Analyst at Stout

I grew up in Almaty, the biggest city in Kazakhstan, with a very limited idea of where I wanted to live and what I wanted to do. As I studied languages and explored potential career paths, I realized that opportunities for professional development and personal growth lay beyond the borders of my country, which led me to continue my education abroad. In 2012, I left home to attend a high school in the United Kingdom, and in 2014, I enrolled at NYU Stern School of Business to pursue my bachelor’s degree in Finance and Accounting in New York City.

For international students, most activities require just a bit more effort, be it finding a community, an apartment, or, most significantly, a job. Therefore, throughout my college years and beyond, I have tried to be open to learning about the professional journeys of people around me and to see my own as a journey rather than a clear-cut path. As a sophomore, I started working on campus as a Budget Assistant at NYU Libraries, which turned into a full-time job as a Budget Administrator upon graduation. As a junior, I had an internship at ViacomCBS in the Finance department where I learned about procurement operations, compliance, and use of tech in media. In 2019, I returned to Kazakhstan and got a position of an Investment Banking Analyst at a boutique firm, Tengri Partners Investment Banking, where I was able to dive deep into financial modeling and learn about what it takes to be a financial advisor by looking at my senior colleagues. About two years ago, I came back to New York and shortly after started a job as a Valuation Advisory Analyst at Stout.

In my current role, I work on valuation analyses across a variety of industries for different purposes, which involves utilizing various valuation methodologies, analyzing financial statements, writing reports, and constantly interacting with colleagues and clients. I strongly believe that all my experience up to today, even if not directly relatable to my current role, helps me on a daily basis. Each job I have had and each country I have lived in have helped me to gain soft skills and technical knowledge that I can apply in my day-to-day work and use to achieve long-term career goals.

One of the most important lessons I have learned through pursuing my career interests is that every position I have is a step in my life’s work, which is not yet defined and is in the process of constant development. It is okay to not have a set career path when you graduate from college. What is far more important is continuously enhancing your skills and knowledge, expanding your network wherever you may be, making the most of your experience in your current role, and believing that genuine hard work pays off in the end.

Sabina’s colleague, Uday Gulvadi, will be featured as a panelist at the upcoming Real Talk Series: Finance event happening on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 at 5:30PM. At this event, a panel of finance professionals will share their individual challenges and triumphs as well as insights on how to be successful in the internship and job search process. Panelists will also discuss how their personal identities impact their careers. Register on Handshake for Real Talk Series: Finance Panel and Networking Night.