My name is Nidhi Trambadia, the numbers gal, and I’m happy to share my experiences with you in the hopes of making you a future numbers person! I’m currently a Sr. Financial Analyst with Air Wisconsin Airlines; now let me walk you through some history!
I would like to think of my life in 3 parts: I was born in India, I grew up in Kenya, and I grew as a person in the US! I have spent almost a decade in each country and learned about diverse cultures, people, languages and most important of all, cuisines. While India is draped in cultural values and powerful spices, Kenya offers subtlety and warmth, and the US portrays a strong and welcoming spirit for everyone, no matter what their background is! My father moved to Kenya in 2006 for a job opportunity. I completed the 8th grade in India and during summer holidays of 2007 along with my mother and brother, went to visit my father. It was a lot of firsts - first time in an airplane, first ever international trip and little did I know, my first ever adventure. A vacation turned into a new life as I ended up staying in Kenya with my father while the rest of my family made their way back to India. Fast forward from school years, I completed my Bachelor’s in Kenya, and then moved to the US in 2015 to pursue my master's degree(s). YES, multiple degrees, lol! It started with an MS in Aviation, then MBA and finally, an MS in Aviation Finance!
My brother is my true inspiration for selecting the aviation industry – he decided to pursue a career as a commercial pilot almost a decade ago. With support and encouragement from my entire family to move to a new country and start a new life, I decided to also do some research in the field. To my surprise, aviation offers a variety of career choices, depending on your interests! I simply wanted to take my love for numbers and turn it into a meaningful career – ta-da FINANCE in AVIATION! As you know, finance exists everywhere – this world would not function without skilled folks who can interpret numbers and translate them into important economics.
I was a kid with just about average ambition and not many concrete future plans, but with guidance from my parents, hard work, drive, and consistency towards learning brought me where I am today. My career path was not always defined or clear, but I made progress as I moved along and started recognizing opportunities. As the saying goes, plans are nothing, planning is everything!
Below are a few options available as career choices in the finance/aviation industry. From Accounting to Sales, pretty much any business management career is applicable in the aviation industry – I call it the industry of industries! Just FYI, in the following career path options, you should expect to begin as an Analyst (for example, a Financial Analyst) and progress through distinct roles (senior analyst, manager, etc.) as you gain more experience.
I learned these skills by practicing Excel formulas in my classes and for assignments and learning on my own from platforms like LinkedIn Learning and YouTube videos. Some companies also include Excel tests during their interview process, which is also a good motivating factor to practice basic Excel formulas.
PowerPoint is also an excellent tool to highlight findings in summarized versions to an audience. It is extremely important to know the correct amount of content to display on a slide, and the correct number of details to present to your audience. If you explore PowerPoint, you will notice that slide layouts have certain font sizes – there is a reason the font sizes are large – the slide is not supposed to provide all details in words, that is where your presentation/speaking skills come in place.
😊 the smile at the beginning here is because I just remembered my job-searching journey. I graduated during a very difficult time, May 2020 when COVID was at its peak and the world had basically shut down. I had two solid leads for jobs; unfortunately, the folks who were going to hire me were laid off as part of their company’s cost-cutting strategies. After 462 applications, I got my current job as a Financial Analyst.
I got the call, finally! I cried profusely after hanging up and just sat still. After months of struggle, multiple rejections (in a strict sense, 462 rejections), very few interviews and unfathomable stress, I just sat there and cried. The next call was to my parents in Kenya, and you guessed it, more tears! It all felt so overwhelming and scary, but exciting that it was finally time to commence walking on my own professional path. The only one thing that I did not let myself do was give up, especially on the days when it was extremely tough to keep going. I applied for all relevant roles posted on as many company websites as I could find!
The interview process was simple – the initial call was with HR, the next call with the hiring manager and the final call was with the VP of the department. Prior to the HR call though, I attended my current company’s (Air Wisconsin Airlines) information sessions that were organized through my school, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University – I took an interest in the company, learned about the organizational structure and learned about the hiring manager from this info session – point is, you never know who you may talk to, so I would highly recommend attending such company info sessions, especially if you are interested in the role or the organization! You might not get what you were looking for exactly, but every experience will mold you into a better version who can keep learning and growing!
Hmm, now this is a thinker – I was not the most ambitious kid when I was younger, but as I grew older and gained more experience in this world as a student, working part time while studying, meeting new people, I learned that having a certain degree of ambition is important. This does not mean you have to map out your entire career path on a piece of paper but have a general sense of what the next two or three years might look like for you. For example, as I started seeing my seniors graduate and get jobs in cool companies, I started implementing similar strategies – once I finish school next year, I would like to start as an Analyst in company XYZ. This way, your brain is churning out plans on how you can achieve this goal – talking to people, attending info sessions, establishing a strong LinkedIn profile, etc.
This brings me to an important piece of advice – building a strong network on LinkedIn is a great idea. I have met (in person and digitally) many people, including some who mentored me through this platform! I currently have 4,885 connections and counting!
Honestly, I’m lucky to have an extremely supportive family who did not fail to motivate me and pour positive energy into my life, especially when I needed it the most. For those of you who might be struggling in this area, make sure you surround yourself with people who can help you be the best version of yourself, every single day!
In closing remarks, I would just say that your journey is yours – make it as unique and powerful as you can! I have been in a place whereby my friends were graduating and getting great jobs, while I was struggling to find even internships! I was demotivated and felt undeserving because some of them got selected over me. This is inevitable, but hold your head high, surround yourself with people who genuinely want to help you be your best, be happy for those who get opportunities and try your very best to continue motivating yourself despite these hurdles – this is not easy, trust me, but years later, your hardships will feel worthy, just like I feel right now as I’m typing this 😊