Human Of The Week: Vish J.

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Feature image of Vish J. Graduate of University of British Columbia by GradSimple.

Disclaimer: The views expressed by our interviewees are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of GradSimple. We only edit these responses for clarity. All opinions remain those of the interviewee.

  • Name: Vish J.
  • Year Of Graduation: 2020
  • College/University: University of British Columbia
  • Major: Economics with a Minor in Visual Arts

What do you do for a living?

I work for an AI SaaS company focused in the healthcare space as a Revenue Operations Specialist. My day to day tasks generally include helping various commercial teams (think sales, consulting and support) to better excel, communicate, and provide metrics to help understand organizational challenges. 

Can you tell me about your job search experience after graduation?

Having graduated in the summer of June 2020, during the pandemic, it was definitely difficult to find something that would be within my realm. Most companies weren’t sure how COVID would shape out and decided to either pause hiring in certain sectors (operations, business, and finance) or either offer pay scales not in line with my expectations. 

Money was never a big factor for selecting a job, but I also knew that living in Vancouver, a minimum wage role wouldn’t cut the cost of living alone. Trying to find roommates who you’ve never met was especially tough during the pandemic and that led me to find a studio apartment for myself. 

My first role out of university was as a Business Development Representative working in the health and safety space for construction and workplace safety. It took me around three months to find after ending university, and it wasn’t really my first choice company as it wasn’t related to my degree. I started work at 5:45am everyday and cold calling leads over and over. This works for some, but for me, it was a stepping stone to my future career and helped pay the bills. This wasn’t in any way related to my degree but I did have prior selling experience so that did help. 

Why did you choose your major? Would you still pick this major now, if you could go back in time?

I didn’t want to fall into the typical Asian stereotype of being either a doctor, programmer or an engineer. These weren’t roles I found particularly interesting and I wanted something that worked in my realm of skills. I’m personable and approachable but also want to learn and understand how things work, not just from a technical side. I still did courses related to computer science and data science, but focusing on economics helped give me a better perspective of what to expect in the real world going forward. 

If I could go back, I’d have probably wanted to do a BBA or business major, but my minor in visual arts was a roadblock. The business program at my university was strict with how you allocated your major and minor, so I wasn’t allowed to do a business major with a design minor. That’s why I picked economics in the end. I was still allowed to enter every case competition and startup venture pitch contest, winning a majority of them. 

If I asked you 3 years ago, what would you think you’d be doing right now (in life/career)?

Three years ago, I was working for a dictator who wanted our team to work 9-9-6 (9am to 9pm, 6 days a week). I’ll be honest, I loved it and I don’t regret doing it, but it was also an eye opener to the world of tech startups and working to make your quotas with a team that’s ¼ the size. That being said, I would hope I’m taking more time to travel. That’s something you don’t get back. As time flies, you can miss out on seeing places that get closed or activities that get canceled forever, or bands that ever get back together.

What’s your biggest struggle right now?

Time management and family pressure about my future. I’m generally not someone who has to worry about deadlines since I set the reporting and tracking deadlines for the rest of my company. But I do have to balance flying very often to places like Dubai, Japan, or even long weekends in LA (which I book on my way to the airport). Yes, I do realize this is a very first world problem but when you live alone and have no commitments, life is pretty fluid.

Having an Indian family also adds to the pressure of finding a girlfriend or even the proverbial question “when are you getting married?” I’ll be honest, dating apps don’t cut it in Canada and whilst I’d love to star in my own airport romance novel and meet someone on my flights to France or Italy, I think I’m just focused on my career for now and stabilizing where I want to settle down. 

If money was not a factor, what would you be working on or spending more time on?

If money wasn’t an issue, I’d probably be living out my future retirement fantasy of a mansion in Bali, with a boat to my villa in Singapore. Mansions there aren’t that expensive compared to Canadian house prices!

In all honesty, I’d probably want to start up my own company, focused around fintech and global money movements. I am not looking to illegally move money or launder anything, don’t get any funny ideas. However, moving money out of countries is a hassle and an even bigger one when it comes to paying tuition, rent, or big purchases, and the fees associated are extremely high. My idea would be something similar to Wise but with the money available to you instantly.

If we traveled 3 years into the future of your life, what would you hope we’d see?

Ideally, I’d be working in Japan or Malaysia remotely and traveling more around the world. Canada is great, don’t get me wrong, but it’s expensive and it’s getting harder to afford a good life. If paths align correctly, I’d also be midway through my MBA at HEC Paris. It’s not something I wanted to do right after graduation but something I wanted with at least 5-10 years of industry experience. (The average age of a student in that program is 39 and I want to join at 29). 

What advice and/or learnings would you give to current students or recent grads?

  1. Network, network, network. I can’t possibly list out the number of networking, social events, or just industry partnerships I’ve been to which has helped immensely improve my exposure to the current market.
  2. Treat people as individuals, not assets and practice being both a good listener and someone who can educate themselves on the current features of tech or the broader market. This will help you go miles ahead.
  3. It may be tough or depressing when you apply to over a 100 jobs with not even a single interview, but you have to persevere. I know this personally, having applied to at least 227 jobs after my last layoff where the company I worked for went bankrupt. Some stats on this: 227 applications, 7 first round interviews, 3 second round interviews, 1 offer.
  4. Always tailor your resumes to each job. And whatever you do, don’t use an online AI tool to write your resume or cover letters for you. Having been on the recruiting side of a role, we can tell when something isn’t written by a human. It shows low effort, and just isn’t a good image for you. Take the time, and do it right.

Any other thoughts you’d like to share?

Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or on my Instagram, and if you’re in a city I might be visiting I’m happy to grab drinks or coffee and lend a hand!

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