Prem Shekhar - A Journey Of Success, Setbacks and Challenges

During his part-time studies in the GBS Master in Finance (Class of 2019), Prem Shekhar not only worked full-time at Deutsche Börse AG and attended German language classes but also pursued his education as a CFA, FRM, and CAIA! How did the GBS Alumnus manage this?

Prem, how was your experience with the GBS master program?

When I came to GBS, I came with a pretty ambitious mindset. I did not so much join GBS to earn a master’s degree for my resume (of course I am proud of that too). I decided to join the program with the aim that my learning experience at GBS creates a transformative role in sharpening my perspective, expanding my horizons of interest and propelling me towards an improved sense for continuous, consistent, reasoned and well-chosen steps to meet my personal and professional goals.

The uniqueness of the GBS Master in Finance curriculum is how it has been crafted: It accommodates all the essential and practically important topics, adding up to a highly useful skillset one can acquire when joining the program. The quality of professors is then another strength of GBS. They make an already perfectly crafted syllabus enjoyable and intellectually exciting.

Looking back I can say, that the impact of the GBS Master in Finance has had a major effect in four ways:

  1. It enabled me to use my time efficiently and productively and to become more self-conscious of value adding things. It created a source of positive stress, which challenged me to a degree that it initiated progressive changes and let me become extremely disciplined towards time management.
  2. It served as an intellectual challenge and enabled learning to become an essential ingredient of my life. This enthusiasm was further enhanced by the well-organized and diligently structured GBS master’s curriculum taught by professors with unmatched acclaim in their field of study. I feel that attending the GBS classes are one of my most cherished unforgettable moments.
  3. GBS experience broadens the area of your knowledge, which in turn effects your perspective towards life. For example: There is an astonishing difference in my understanding of risk management and its interplay with capital markets before and after my GBS experience.
  4. It has let me realize my potential and pushed further my intrinsic capabilities. I was amazed by the power of human potential in combination with efficient use of time to achieve things which might have seemed like wishful thinking at a certain point of time. During my studies at GBS, there were days when I was efficiently managing my time to prepare for CFA, FRM, CAIA, the Master’s program as well as German classes at Goethe Institute all while working on a full-time job at Deutsche Börse AG.

Would you recommend others to pursue a master while working full time in an equally challenging job?

In my view, it is wrong to think that taking time for studying a master’s program along with a full time job is stressful. In my view, many of us live with a wrong sense of understanding and attitude towards stress. “Doing nothing is enjoying life” is not the definition I subscribe to. Doing nothing and sitting on the sofa with no burning desire should stress you rather than making active choices and working towards your own destined purposeful future. We all need to become more conscious and cautious about what is positive stress and what is negative stress.

Instead of thinking about work-life balance philosophy and separating work and life, you can get immersed deeply in pursuing something in life which is based on value, dreams and your potential.

I strongly believe that if you become rationally ambitious and truly driven, life will amaze you with the opportunities and newness that are worth striving for. You have the choice to be “lazy”, relaxed and falsely happy or on the other hand be extremely driven, truly passionate and attracting success.

I guess my attitude was that pursuing a master’s degree at GBS would simply push me to become better in several aspects of time management skills and to let me grow in being better organized and result-driven. These are such a valuable transferrable skills that certainly make you grow in life.

How did the GBS Master in Finance help you with your CFA, FRM and CAIA Charterholder journey?

The GBS and CFA curriculum are very well aligned. In fact, I found the GBS syllabus a thoughtfully selected collection of all the important concepts from CFA, FRM and CAIA program. It helped me extensively in solidifying and strengthening my understanding of several topics during my CFA preparation. It has not only served as mechanism for revision but also helped me choose the areas where I would like to grow beyond the curriculum.

Since there was a good deal of overlap, preparing for one saved the time for other exams.  Additionally, GBS curriculum goes much deeper in quantitative analysis, which helped me being better prepared. Furthermore, I had the privileged opportunity to get lectures on Ethics (comprises 10% of CFA curriculum) directly from Dr. Susan Spinner who is also the CEO of CFA Society, Germany.

I want to point out specifically, that the Master in Finance program gave me a deeper, broader conceptual and quantitative understanding of topics well covered in CFA. CFA helped me derive more from the class lecture and also contributed to enhance the overall classroom discussion by enabling me to frame better questions and to contribute more perspectives to the class discussion.

What are your plans for the future?

I firmly believe that the first and foremost responsibility for myself is to grow, to challenge and stretch my potential, so that I can lead a path to fully realize the latter and continue to make amazing things possible in life.

This is the reason I have been working on an entrepreneurial venture for several years. These years of involvement with the topic and the passion to make things possible in life, have created an opportunity to launch my start-up venture. This start-up will deal with the exciting field of valuation and will offer a valuation platform, services and advisory to both the buying and selling side of the opportunity set. It will offer a unique valuation platform, which will host best in breed traditional as well as innovative valuation methodologies to help prospective clients make better investment decisions. I am completely thrilled about the future and opportunities that I see in my vision about my entrepreneurial venture.

I am ready to embark on a journey of success, setbacks and challenges with the courage and will to handle things with dedication, resilience and perseverance. Well, that has been also the story of my life!

Despite having no formal education in childhood and working as a shopkeeper, I have always strived to achieve things and that will remain my attitude towards life. I hope to be lucky, let’s see how future surprises me as it did in the past.

I am deeply humbled about my life journey and about what the past has offered and how it has treated me. I am ready for the excitements and challenges the real world has to offer. I am eager to learn, evolve and lead to indulge into a life of active purposeful choice making. Even if I fail, I will be far ahead and will have no regrets of not trying out things that I strived for. I will continue to strive for being better as a human being!

What advice would you share with other prospective students at GBS?

I am a firm believer of the fact that persons are products of how they use their time. Being extremely self-conscious and cautious of how you use your time is super important. There are three currencies of life: time, money and health. If you challenge yourself, do extensive retrospection and are a well-reasoned critic of yourself, you will grow and live a meaningful life. Success matters! But what’s matters most is living experience, relationships and your character!

I would highly recommend CFA, FRM, and CAIA as tools to challenge your skills, so that you can really take part in the ever-changing competitive world that exist in the field of finance. If you don’t take steps to outpace the competition, the world will push you far behind beyond repairs. The sad truth is sometimes you will never realize that it did so.

And…most importantly ……, read and read!


If you want to connect with Prem, feel free to reach out to him via his LinkedIn account.