First in the TYP series - exciting, I know! I had a brief chat with Leks, an inspiring young professional, who gave me an insight into his current role, journey thus far and some very practical tips for the recent graduate and budding young professional. I hope you have your notepad ready.
JF: Who are you and what do you do?
L: Hi, I’m Leks and I currently work in management consulting at KPMG, a global advisory company. At a high level, my current role focusses on advising and assisting investment banks to reduce their costs and maximise their revenue. I have worked in London, Paris and Copenhagen and I am currently living and working in New York on a secondment.
Separate to my job, I am a co-founder of Capital Moments, a social enterprise that promotes the personal and professional development of young people. We have been established for nearly five years, partnering with City University, Barclays UK, TFL, Bloomberg & others for events and partnerships. I have personally organised a number of these events whilst also releasing my first co-written book, “Capital Moments Guide to Internships & Graduate Roles”.
Through CM, I have established myself as a local expert in the personal finance space, offering tailored budgeting products and services whilst also publicly speaking at individual events and in collaboration with third parties, including the UK Black Business Show and Barclays UK.
JF: Did you face any hurdles early on in your career and if so, how did you overcome them?
L: Yes, early on in my career I interned at a company and unfortunately I did not get the offer for the permanent role. The decision was a tough hit to my ego and self-belief. I had to self-reflect to understand where I could have improved. Ultimately in the long run, it helped me better understand my working style, strengths and areas of development.
JF: What traits do you believe young professionals need to exhibit early on in their career?
L: For anyone interested in working in management consulting, you need to be able to exhibit the below skills:
Resilience - You will working in a very changing environments, I have worked in multiple countries with complex businesses and sometimes challenging personalities. You need to resilient in your beliefs and opinions but still be humble enough to understand sometimes where you are wrong.
Dynamic personality - Often in the world of consulting, you have to work with different people, different clients in different locations. You need to have a personality that can adapt to changing environments and scenarios. You need to be dynamic in your approach and malleable to new situations.
Ability to network - Often, throughout your entire education you are taught that you need to work hard to do well. Ability in school is often measured by the ability to work hard and retain information to regurgitate it for exams. In the world of work, working hard is important but you also need to be able to work smart, a large component of working smart is having the ability to network. If you want to do well, you need to be able to meet and network with the right people that can best help you in your career.
JF: What three pieces of advice would you give to a budding young professional in your field/wanting to get into your field?
L: Hunger to Learn - You need to be hungry to soak up information and learn, as you mature in your career. Your aptitude for learning may subside so early on in your career you need to take advantage to consume as much knowledge about your role and skill set. Establish your discipline and determination to succeed in the initial stages of your career and you will do well.
Long-term vision - Be deliberate in your intentions and have a long-term plan, I was told a very important quote early in my career. “People over-estimate what they can do in one year and under-estimate what they can do in five years.” Having such vision ensures that you are making decisions with your long term interests at heart. I could have left my current company early in my career but then I would have foregone the opportunity to travel and experience new challenges.
Comfort zone - Linking to my last point, stretching yourself and moving out of your comfort zone is where you really test yourself and learn how you cope in new situations. You need to able to do this to ensure you can always adapt in a changing world of work.
JF: What keeps you going in the face of adversity in the workplace?
L: Understanding that the corporate world is the long game, one short term issue or instance will not set the tone for your entire career. So by having that mindset, I am able to remain calm and stress-free during adverse times and that has proven to my testament during my career thus far.
Many thanks to Leks for his contribution to this series - he dropped several gems and I hope you found them useful! Whilst he is away working in New York, the rest of the Capital Moments team will be hosting another Chat N Chill: ’Chat N Chill - How to buy a property with your friends’ on Tuesday 16 July 2019. If you are interested in getting on the property ladder and would like to find out how you can do this with someone else, then this an event that you need to attend! Tickets are still available - click here to grab yours!