A lot of people had been asking me on my decision to hop from one industry to another and ever since I never came up with a really good answer to the question. So now I’m writing this blog post to uncover what’s running inside my head when I decided to take the plunge to this rich (literally) new world of Finance.
First, I’d like to say: Don’t get me wrong–Tech is a lot more attractive now than it has ever been. The big players in Tech, along with the faster disruptive startups have been leading the world in innovations regarding the future of work. They have also created a vast infrastructure that now makes it possible for anyone (who’s willing and committed) to learn code and build something. They are also leading the pack in domains of knowledge where adjacent ecosystems can benefit–IoT and Smart Cities (Consumer Electronics and Governments), 3D Printing (Manufacturing), Cybersecurity (Banking), and Big Data (Pretty much anything and everything).
Jumping with that knowledge at the back of my mind, I also know that Tech is NOT for everybody. Part of the fuel to the fire in the 90’s tech boom was the fact that people wanted to invest in Tech even though they don’t really know how it works–the underlying assumption is that you don’t need to be a mechanic to drive a car. While that notion may apply to other industries, it simply doesn’t work that way in Tech. The companies that are trending now, may eventually get in-distress and disappear within the next 5 years, only to be replaced by others who have been a lot smarter not only in technology, but also in running a business (my case for an MBA).
Getting to the point of my rhetoric–here are three reasons why I believe I belong somewhere else:
- There has been a funneling of great talent from other industries into Tech. With the lure of high salaries, free food, flexible time, innovative workspaces, and the glamour of working for the now high-market capped companies Alphabet, Microsoft or Facebook–people are living their boring, 12-15 hour jobs to get a piece of that action. That said, the brilliant minds who were once in Finance are moving to startups, creating a knowledge gap (or a market inefficiency) that I would like to exploit since high alphas tend to lie in those inefficiencies. (Pardon the geek speak)
- The career ladder in Tech takes you away from Tech, the career ladder in Finance brings you closer to Finance. Unless you’re Elon Musk who owns your own company and gets access to the nitty-gritty details of the LCD and intelligent door handles to install in your cars, the reality of a Tech career is that the higher up you go the closer you get to the Business-side of things: Team Management, Project Management, Enterprise Architecture. On the other hand, the career progression in Finance brings you closer to the exciting stuff: portfolio allocation, fund management, real assets, and alternative investments.
- The value of Finance in society is grossly undervalued because not a lot of people are financially literate. I am actually guilty when it comes to this (at least before the MBA). I never knew how finance served as an enabler and a foundation to society–how wars were fought and financed by debt on the expectations of future gain from the spoils, how it allowed businesses to exist and render services to the people even though the entrepreneurs had no vast personal wealth, and how it made possible trade relationships between individuals, institutions and countries.
Modern Finance has only been around since the 1950s or 60s, and there’s definitely a lot more treasures to uncover. It is a great intellectual exercise that not only adds to our own personal wealth, but also advances the society which we live in.
Finance needs smart people to do the job, and I believe that’s exactly what I’ve signed up for.