Leaving Morgan Stanley for the Startup World

Asim Qureshi reflects on his transition

Asim is the founder and CEO of LaunchPad, an incredible venture builder based in Malaysia focusing on tech in opportunities across South East Asia. Before entering the start-up industry, he was a Vice President of Morgan Stanley, in the ABS group, and later a VP in Credit Suisse in Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities Research. He has had an interesting and a very successful career, graduating with a Master in Physics from the University of Oxford. We had the opportunity to talk to him and ask him questions about his career and reflections on investment banking and his start-up career.

How did you enjoy investment banking?
I certainly enjoyed the huge paychecks, the ego boost was pretty good too but apart from that it was a miserable soulless existence.

How did you find the interview and application stages of getting into an investment bank?
The interview process is stressful. You only have a few shots at getting in — and each shot your chances of failure are high.

Do you think there are any skills that you learned from IB that helped you in your startup career?
The money was the main thing that helped, as I had capital to start my business. In terms of skills, the financial modelling and soft skills proved useful — conducting oneself over the phone, meetings, negotiations, managing, etc… But most people overestimate the skills you learn — if you do IB you’ll learn skills for IB. If you want to start your own startup, it’s way better that you join a startup — ideally one that is well-funded and early-stage — you’ll learn the skills you need for a startup.

Do you have any words of advice that you’d like to give to any students considering investment banking or finance?
Yes, it’s a great career if you are prepared to give up your most productive part of your life for money. Your bonuses will be addictive and so it’ll be hard to leave once you’re in. I don’t know many who have left like I did — just packed it in. But be prepared for feeling empty deep inside.

What’s your motivation to keep hustling and growing your business?
Money is a big motivator, obviously. I also love playing a part in helping others achieve their entrepreneurial goals. And I enjoy building amazing things, and being free to work when I want, the way I want.

Thanks so much for that, and where should people find you if they want to hear more about LaunchPad?
www.launchpadstartups.com for further details.

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