Spotlight On: Edmond Umoh, Associate at Goldman Sachs
Meet Edmond Umoh, an Associate at Goldman Sachs, a mentor to black students via Increasing Black Representation, and a young career professional with a sharp eye for investment. As our latest guest on Revolancer Magazine’s Spotlight on, Edmond kindly shared with us some pertinent insight into his ever-developing career. From the academic choices that led him into the world of business and finance, to his endless motivation to seek exciting investment opportunities to satisfy his appetite for enterprise – we’re sure there’s something for everybody in this engaging interview!
1. Edmond, can you tell us what led you to study BSc Management at the University of Southampton? Any other courses that caught your eye at the time?
Initially, I had my eye on Finance (which I got accepted to study at Loughborough University), or Economics. It wasn’t an easy decision as I was unsure of what I actually wanted to do after University. I knew I wanted to do something in the business world, but was unsure of what exactly. After taking a look at the curriculum, Management offered a broad coverage of modules which I felt would be useful in giving me the most appropriate insight into how businesses operate.
2. How important is your role as a Mentor for Increasing Black Representation for you?
Thanks for this question, it’s a good one. I think in any industry, one of the most important contributors to success is mentorship, and in particular having a diverse collection of mentors including a couple that look like you, culturally or ethnically. What this does is allow you to realistically picture yourself in their shoes and have the belief that your goals/dreams are obtainable.
This is why the IBR program is extremely important to me. It seeks to provide black students with mentors with whom they can relate, and access advice and guidance. As the finance industry is rapidly coming to terms with the fact that improving diversity is not only fantastic for creating equal opportunities, but also a brilliant strategy for gaining a sustainable competitive edge, I think it’s important that underrepresented groups are made aware of the changing landscape. Being a mentor allows me to show that breaking into the industry is possible with the right guidance and network, and dismiss preconceived notions that do not necessarily apply today.
3. In your role as a Mentor, what advice would you seek to give young Edmond if you were able to?
Great question, although I would still consider myself young. I do this a lot now, but it would have been pretty cool if I started in my teenage years. I would say 3 main things;
- Don’t be afraid to fail, but make sure you learn from your failures.
- If you’re grateful for the little things, there’s no such thing as a “bad day”.
- Celebrate the small wins and live in the moment.
4. What is the biggest challenge faced by the children that you’re helping to guide?
This is a tough one. But I think the biggest challenge will be to maintain the focus and confidence that the strategic goals are achievable. Being a black person (or from an underrepresented group) in any industry is extremely challenging, and you will inevitably come across hurdles that make professional life unbearable in some instances which could easily have a negative impact on confidence. It is one of the most challenging things in the world to maintain confidence when things are not going your way, which unfortunately is not uncommon for individuals in very demanding jobs. The realisation that these bad/poor stints in one’s career are inescapable often comes as a shock. As a mentor, I try to prepare my mentees for these challenges, but I am still relatively early in my career and unfortunately don’t have all the answers.
5. Becoming an Associate with Goldman Sachs at such an early stage of your career is not easily done, how were you able to achieve this kind of success early after graduating?
I think a lot of things contribute to “success” at Goldman. I would like to just point out that I am far from being what I consider successful at the firm – I am only Associate and still have a long way to go but in light of celebrating the small wins, I am very proud of the position I am in.
From my experience, the key contributors include:
- Having mentors at the firm who guide me.
- Having regular conversations with my managers about what my short and long-term goals are and how I plan to achieve them.
- Always asking what “success” looks like before embarking on a new task/project and trying my best to over-deliver.
- Keeping client service and excellence at the forefront of everything I do.
6. Further to your own career, you have a keen interest in enterprise and entrepreneurship. What’s the most rewarding aspect of investing in a start-up business?
Great question. When I think of investing in a start-up, I always try to think about the bigger picture. I ask myself a couple questions, one of the most important being ‘what positive impact/opportunities could this present to people (consumers of a product) in the long run?’. The most rewarding aspect of investing in a start-up is seeing my thesis on this question materialise.
Early-stage funding requires a lot of patience and a long-term investment horizon, so part of the fun is the journey with the founders and the team executing a vision.
7. You’re clearly a highly driven individual with lots of aspirations. Which goal is now most important to you?
Thank you. In the short term, my most important goal is to write angel cheques to at least 3 underrepresented founders over the next three years. In the long term, I would love to own a Formula 1 team (haha).
Before You Go
Our thanks to Edmond for giving us this exclusive insight into his career to date. We’re certain he’ll get that F1 team one day!
If, like Edmond, you’re enthused about the future of freelancing thanks to our platform, join today! In case you missed it, check out ‘Revolancer Announces 0% Commission’, to find out how we’re putting freelancers first. For more Spotlight on, check out our previous interviews, here.
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