No job too small
It was the desire to be in the thick of action that changed Dylan Coke's career path from law to investment banking.
"I wanted to be in the driver's seat," said the assistant vice president, Business Development, NCB Capital Markets Limited, "so I decided to become a banker."
Mix of experiences
Coke enrolled to study English literature, but went to get a degree in law and is now is an investment banker. "I did commercial law and used to interact with the bankers, where I used to handle transactions from the legal side, but what I found was that the bankers were driving the show," he said. "So I decided to be in the driver's seat."
He went to the United States and got a degree in international banking and financial law from Boston University School of Law. Armed with the degree, he decided pursue his dreams.
"The first day was scary for me," Coke recalled, "there were a dozen different things to do at the same time and the demands were very different." But he had decided on this course, so he formulated a strategy to overcome the initial hiccups. "I decided to take it one step at a time," he said.
Coke said that he had a tremendous responsibility to bring in large amounts of money for the business and facilitate safe and attractive deals.
It is not the road oft travelled, but in retrospect, he says that all his experiences have come handy. "Being a lawyer was an advantage; coming from a legal background I brought analytical skills - being methodical, creativity, people skills and flexibility - to the profession," Coke said.
Coke said he found his work exciting and attributed his success to good teamwork. "It was a nice mix of stuff that I was doing," he said.
"The going was tough for the first year-and-a-half, but I got a team of bright people that helped me out."
As a young executive, Coke has a few tips for those who are job hunting or starting off their careers.
"In the present times you need to be flexible," he said. "The market economic conditions have changed. We have to do things differently now; they cannot be done the same way. "
"We have to realise that we need to change the way that we work," he added.
Read and educate
He said it is imperative to build on a sound background and base to get somewhere in life. "What you learn in the university will be of use," he said, "but the critical thing is to apply what you have learnt and learn whatever new comes your way."
He also highlighted the fact that most young people were not reading as much as they should be. "I think reading books helps a lot, " he said. "They help in expressing yourself well, understanding well and broaden horizons."
Coke went a step further to highlight the importance of the job. "Remember that no job is small," he said. "If you are asked to make photocopies, ensure that you make the best photocopies."
He said it takes that attitude to get in a position and go up, but it is important to take things in stride. "Be ready to take criticism," he advised. "Criticism is constructive and helps you to overcome your shortcomings. You should not feel offended. "
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