From UNYP to Silicon Valley

In an article written by Alice Andryzková on March 23rd for Mladá Fronta Dnes, University of New York in Prague alumni, Tomáš Kubica, discusses his decision to pursue a career in business.

As a young boy he wanted to be a bus driver, conservationist or a fireman. Many years later he decided to study business. "I felt that I could get more opportunities abroad, which proved to be a true assumption," he says commented.

When choosing a school he didn’t even consider private universities, based on his financial possibilities; for him, the choice was between either a Slovak or Czech public university. But then he found out about an essay contest for a UNYP scholarship and decided to apply. He won the second prize, which covered one year tuition at the University of New York in Prague. At that time he had no idea how he would pay the next year, but his thoughts were to transfer to public school afterwards. Even if he gained nothing more in one-year at UNYP, at least he would have improved his English.

He managed to gather the money for next years’ tuitions by working, borrowing from friends and family etc. He finished the school in debt, but never regretted it. He learned to speak and write in proper English, work in a team, give presentations, critical thinking, and argue his opinions. “I'm glad I made it. In certain moments in life you must have the courage to follow your feelings and to take risk.” Taking the risk turned out to be a good move for Kubica.

While studying at University of New York in Prague he worked full time during the holidays and took part time internships in finance that gave him the relevant experience for his first job as a consultant at McKinsey & Co in Prague, before continuing on as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs in London.

When asked if he thinks he would get those jobs without the internships in his resume, he replied “Certainly not. I would compare it to a snowball - the first internship leads to another, which leads to a dream job, and that leads to another. If you skip the first internship, you not only have one less compared to your peers, but you can also lose overall "sealing" effect.

Now he works at Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in Silicon Valley alongside some of the industries most talented professionals. Each experience has taught him something else, and in combination allows him to see business more holistically.

Compared to Czech Republic, English and American company environments are more competitive, attracting the best professionals from around the world that are willing to work hard and sacrifice a lot for their career. Kubica is no exception, but now he managed to find a balance between work and personal life. He has a one-and-half year old daughter that give his life a new meaning and a wonderful wife who supports him.

When asked about the plans for the future, Kubica replied: “As Yogi Berra said: “If you do not know where you're going, it's possible that you'll never get there.” I was lucky that I discovered my interest in finance and investing very early, so I could work my way in the right direction. I want to continue to focus on investing in technology. In the distant future, education is tempting me - I'd like to teach or write a book.”

You can read full article in czech or on Finance.idnes.cz

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