Recent Alumni Spotlight: Yurop Shrestha
Hailing from Kathmandu, Nepal, Yurop Shrestha graduated from Lewis & Clark with an Economics degree in 2011. He is currently a Senior Associate at Aginsky Consulting Group, a boutique investment and business advisory firm based in Portland, OR. Yurop is also one of the co-founders of Galt US Ventures LLC, a venture capital firm focused on Northwest-based companies with disruptive technologies. Yurop is planning to go back to Kathmandu soon to start his own non-banking finance company with the objective of introducing truly innovative financials products to the local market in his home country.
Center for Career and Community Engagement: How did you connect with Aginsky Consulting Group? What skills or competencies did you bring to the table that resonated with hiring manager?
Yurop Shrestha: An email about a job opening at Aginsky Consulting Group (ACG) was circulated in the Economics department. After reading more about the company, I reached out to the company and applied for a position.
I had taken a number of finance related economic courses while at Lewis & Clark and I did my senior thesis on a corporate finance topic (asset pricing models). I also had a number of different internships in the financial and corporate sectors, which made for a very strong resume. I had researched ACG thoroughly prior to the interview and I came up with a few initiatives I could take on while at ACG. I think my strong background in finance, both coursework and experience, and my ideas and initiative that I demonstrated in the interview were what helped me successfully secure the position.
3CE: It sounds like you took advantage of internship opportunities to gain the experience necessary to make yourself a competitive applicant for the position. What steps did you take to secure those internships and build a strong resume?
YS: I secured an internship every summer – this proved to be invaluable when applying for jobs later on. Anyone can take courses in school, but I think non-school related activities can really set a candidate apart from the rest.
I leveraged any and all relationships I had to secure internships. Friends and family are always the best place to start, and I got those first few internships by leveraging their relationships in the business community. I got one of my most rewarding internships, in a global financial advisory firm based in New York, over a cigarette break. This goes to show how relationships and networking can be so important and lucrative, especially in the financial sector.
3CE: What advice would you give graduating seniors getting ready to enter the workforce?
YS: Don’t give up! As an international student, I had three months after I graduated to get myself a job. I applied to at least half a dozen jobs a day for at least two months straight (about 240 positions). I did not hear back from half of the positions I applied to. I did secure a few dozen interviews but more than half of them did not accept me because of my citizenship. I got to the second and third interviews for some positions but about nine weeks post graduation, I had no offer on the table. Eventually, I gave up and went back to Nepal. Just a day after travelling about 7,700 miles, I heard back from three companies, ACG among them. I decided to give it one last shot and took a risk and flew all the way back simply to interview again. I was offered jobs by two of those three companies and eventually I decided to take the position at ACG.
3CE: It sounds like there are some definite job search challenges associated with being an international student. How was your experience different than that of your peers as you searched for and applied for different positions?
YS: It made life quite difficult – more than half of the jobs/internships were strictly for American citizens or permanent residents. However, I don’t blame the employers. It does not make sense for a potential employer to expend time and resources on someone who is likely to leave in twelve months. Even if the employee was willing to continue working at the company, the employer would have to sponsor their work permit, which would be another added expense. It is very difficult in this economic environment for employers to incur any additional cost that they can easily avoid by hiring an American employee. Hiring international students is simply bad business, unless the job requires certain ‘international’ know-how. This was obviously a challenge – I certainly consider myself somewhat lucky to have found a job. However, this should not discourage international students but further motivate them to work harder, try harder, and beat the odds!
3CE: We understand that you are currently looking for someone to fill your position. Tell us a bit about what’s next for you.
YS: My time at ACG has been one of the most fulfilling experiences I have had so far. I have met and worked with the most amazing and brilliant business and finance minds and have been fortunate to find a mentor I deeply respect and admire (also a Lewis & Clark alum). While it is certainly very difficult to leave a company that has given me my start in life, I am very excited about my next venture. I will be going back to Nepal to start my own business.
I will be starting a Non-Banking Financial Company. I plan to introduce innovative financial and investment products that are non-existent in Nepal and neighboring markets, but have proven to be successful in numerous other markets. It is going to be a challenge navigating a brand new market and essentially creating a market for certain products - I am now ready to take this next step. There is nothing else I would be rather doing.
3CE: Any final thoughts?
YS: If there are any entrepreneurs out there, I am always on the look out for a good opportunity to partner with (specially in emerging markets)!