Amol Naik (‘97 MBA, master of economics) spent his career at the multinational investment bank and financial services company, Goldman Sachs, becoming a managing director in 2005. During his time there, he bounced back and forth between New York, Hong Kong, and London. He stepped back into an advisory role after retiring in December 2018. Now he’s taking time to look back on what has made him successful and plan for how he can pay it forward.
Question: How did you land a position at Goldman Sachs?
I wanted to work at a premier investment bank in Asia, so I attended the DISCO Career Forum in Boston where a lot of big firms with offices in Asia come to recruit. In order to get a job, I needed to ensure I had a competitive resume. I had two graduate degrees—an MBA and a master’s degree in economics—with a near-4.0 GPA. I worked for Anderson Consulting (now called Accenture in India) before my graduate degrees. I did an internship with both JP Morgan Venture in India and the World Bank in Washington D.C. In addition, the recruiter I met at the job fair was a very supportive individual who actually shepherded my resume when it seemed to be caught in the log jam.
Question: What was it about Goldman Sachs that led you to stay for more than 20 years?
I thoroughly enjoyed the people I worked with. I worked on very interesting problems and constantly learned new things. I also got the opportunity to work on three different continents in three of the major global financial centers. Goldman Sachs is a very collaborative place. It’s intense but collegial. I was fortunate that so many people I worked with at the firm nurtured me and made it possible to continue my career trajectory. My career was always moving in the right direction.
Question: What’s the most important leadership lesson you learned during your career?
Good leadership is critical in any organization and is fundamental in setting the right tone required to drive positive outcomes. In my mind, there are two ways to scale impact in any organization. One is through technology, and the other is through people. Good leadership brings out the best in people.
Question: How did your time at Iowa State University prepare you to succeed?
My time at Iowa State was a nurturing experience in many ways. It was my first experience of living outside India for a prolonged period. It was great exposure to a diverse community of people from around the U.S. and the world. I formed really good relationships with my student colleagues and professors. The professors at Iowa State were people who cared about their students and wanted them to succeed. Many of my student colleagues not only helped me up-my-game but have become lifelong friends. I look back on my time as a graduate student at Iowa State as a very happy time in my life.
Question: What are you working on now?
I now live in New York City and, since retiring, have spent time doing advisory work. I also mentor a number of senior executives. This past year, I did a six-month leadership program at Brown University where I earned a certification in leadership and performance coaching. I wanted to learn the foundations of how leadership coaching works because I’m quite passionate about helping others with their career. It’s an area where I think I can make a difference.