Medicine to High Finance: Fight to Rise to the Top

Sanjay Shah Hedge Fund
Sanjay Shah Solo Capital Founder

Sanjay Shah with his wife Usha. Image Courtesy – FridayMagazine.AE

Hedge fund boss Sanjay Shah made a major transition from a potential career in medicine, to being the millionaire owner of a financial brokerage. It wasn’t all smooth sailing however, as the financial crash of 2008 almost wiped him out of the game completely, as it did to many of his close friends in the industry. Learn how Sanjay Shah of Solo Capital fought back and rose to the top.

  1. Broaden Your Horizons

    Shah started a medical degree, but quickly found that despite his capabilities, he wasn’t really cut out for a career in an NHS hospital, toiling for ten years as a junior doctor, working 80 hour weeks in stressful conditions. Doctors may earn decent salaries, but if you’re going to work like a dog you might as well get paid extraordinarily well for it.  At university, Shah didn’t limit himself, undertaking extra courses in Japanese, marketing and psychology. This allowed him to make the move out of medicine and into accounting after university.

  1. Don’t Slack Off, Especially When You’re Young and Have the Energy

    Shah put in 14 hour days in the beginning, learning his trade and getting himself noticed. It’s common in finance to bounce around the big city firms, but you can’t do it if your output isn’t profitable to the machine employing you. Your thirties are for greater work life balance.

  1. Use Your Network

    When Shah was laid off in 2008, he promptly set up his own brokerage house, as there were zero prospects in the financial sector at the time, even for someone as highly qualified and experienced as him. The way he made his new firm, Solo Capital work, was to take on people he knew well and had worked with during his banking days. He contracted them all as self-employed freelancers, and instigated a fair commission structure to keep people motivated and happy.

  1. Expatriate Yourself

    Although he was originally based in London, Shah and his family are now resident in Dubai, doing business both in the Middle East and in the UK. This not only broadened his client base, but also allowed for reduced overhead costs (by some measures, London is the most expensive city on the planet) and greater work life flexibility. This new freedom and less restrictive business culture has allowed Solo Capital to flourish, because there are simply fewer external pressures present.

Although you might not be able to put these hacks into practice exactly as Sanjay Shah did, you can always modify the ideas to meet your individual needs.

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