BizAffairs: The hustle is real


You see when we started off the road, full of hopes that the best is on its way, we didn’t for see exactly what was ahead. Some of us were not prepared for the tough times that were unknown. In fact, nobody is ever ready. By the time you are ready, it is too late.

Chances just come to you without a hint, without a trailer. It is like the best lover you have been praying for that shows up when you are almost hopeless or the lottery you win on the Christmas Eve when you just lost job and the wife told you she is pregnant with the second child.

I know we often say opportunities come to those who are prepared and able to pick it up. But when opportunities came to me, I was way under prepared and way naive of what was ahead of me.

When I was about to complete my first degree, I was at the same time an intern at a big financial firm at the same time. You know, to help with the daily bread. I was already under qualified from the internship position, I couldn’t wish more to come forth other than the internship allowance to arrive on time monthly.

And then, at the end of the semester, out of all ten of us who interned at the firm, I was picked to remain as a permanent position.  Of the number of us who did internships, four had master degrees, eight were about to graduate from an Ivy League school, three had referrals from the chairman’s direct friends, not to mention two who were also once Miss Hong Kong candidates.

Just in case you are wondering, I was not part of the 4, nor the 8, none of that 3, definitely not in a beauty pageant. So, I think we all agree here, my chance was too slim to even try. We were all given the same task but distributed to various institutions to perform it.

The task was to familiarize with the capital market team of the institutions we were assigned to and make friends with the Managing Director to make sure he or she remembers our name and can hold a conversation for not less than 10 minutes.

We had one month and I was assigned to a mega Swiss Bank. From that moment onwards, I officially turned into a hustler. All the interns back then thought it to be a ridiculous task and irrelevant to doing an M&A deal, therefore, they didn’t put their best or any efforts in it. I also wasn’t able to make friends with the Managing Director but he remembered my name. “You!

The kid I thought worked in my team!” I was the only one who actually got to the assigned institution and made my face to the Managing Director. Six months later when I returned from my training on the Wall Street, I was in charge of a 10-digit merger and acquisition deal of which the underwriting bank was this mega Swiss bank, the Managing Director was my service provider and all the other interns started their career somewhere behind the desk in a financial institution.

That was my first major hustle and seven years down the line I have been doing the similar hustle, in a larger scale, in a different industry, on a different continent. But all hustles were so REAL.

Don’t blame the hustle, blame the hustler didn’t pay enough attention.

Don’t blame the heat in the kitchen, blame the cook who cannot stand it.

Author: Zoyo Zhao

Contact: [email protected]

Instagram: @therealzOYO

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