Interview with Sonny: From selling AI Chatbots to selling Financial data solutions



“Don’t expect the world to tell you what you need to know.”

This is Sonny’s motto when it comes to navigating his career path and figuring out how to land his dream career

 

Sonny is currently an Institutional Sales at Visible Alpha, a market data and research solution provider for hedge funds and asset managers. He deals with the universe of buy-inside investors on a daily basis and helps them make better-informed investment decisions. However, Sonny did not have an academic background in Finance and his venture into the Finance world was not so straightforward.

With a degree in Criminology, Sonny started his career at a chatbot startup in Hong Kong where he helped them scale their sales and operations. It was at this company where he developed the habit of constantly exploring ways to achieve whatever goals he set for himself. Working at an early-stage company is like learning to swim by being thrown into water — you just have to figure a way out. Sonny believes that in order to do anything well, you have to be proactive and he never waits for an opportunity to come.

 

As fulfilling as working at a startup may be, Sonny knew his heart was in the Finance industry. He began reading different books on the topic and was deeply excited by the prospect of driving investment returns by making the right bet before anybody else. As soon as he discovered his interests, he quickly mapped out the jobs he would enjoy and the kind of people he wants to work with.

“Listen to your body.” was Sonny’s advice when asked how he determined the timing to leave his job back then. It was very clear to him that his passion for the chatbot product was no longer there and going to work had become a taxing responsibility. He simply lost conviction for what he was doing, it was time to move on.

 

Transitioning into the Finance industry was easier said than done. Sonny was well aware of his lack of relevant experiences and he had to close the knowledge gap as quickly as possible. In addition to reading books about the industry, he took on an unpaid Finance internship to learn about how the firms operated, the cultures in the industry, and the type of work involved.

Sonny approached so many career decisions using the same process — Map out the options he has, gather as much information as quickly as possible, and make a move swiftly. There were times when he took this process too far of course. On one occasion, Sonny made it to the final stage of an interview only to have his offer rescinded directly by the Managing Director of the firm. Turned out after the final interview, Sonny reached out to all his potential colleagues to learn about their compensation structures and it was, understandably, not appreciated by them.

 

These learnings have made Sonny the top sales he is today. His secret to closing deals is his desire to understand the customer’s problems and he is actively building up his network to gain insights into even more industries. (OpenDoors is a tool created to help build your professional network efficiently)

You can reach out to Sonny to learn about how institutional investors research investment ideas but he is much more than that. Sonny is an entrepreneur at heart and he has an entire list of business ideas sitting in his back pocket. He is also a foodie and has a special talent for decoding magic tricks!


This article is brought to you by OpenDoors, a tool dedicated to helping individuals in Hong Kong build and expand their professional network.

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