Student Profile: Yale Connections
Saidrasul Nasretdinov ’11
Clubs: Student Government
Dean's Task Force
I'm from Uzbekistan, where a lot of people in my family are in finance. They either work as CFOs for different organizations or they teach finance. So it came naturally for me. I worked in the Ministry of Finance for three years. I worked on project finance and debt restructuring. When the USSR ended in 1991, Uzbekistan had no capital markets, no real banking industry, no such thing as an investment bank. The government's continued efforts to reform the economy allowed for the creation of new types of financial institutions. This made regulators, such as the Ministry of Finance, very important.
My goal has always been to play a small, yet meaningful, part in my country's efforts to build up its finance sector. I knew it would take longer to acquire the necessary skills back home, so I decided to go abroad for an MBA. Yale was an easy choice. Aside from its academic reputation, I was attracted to the school's small size, to the idea that not only would I be able to get to know my classmates really well, I'd get to interact with professors on a level I couldn't at a larger school. The faculty here has a wealth of knowledge and experience I was eager to tap into.
One of my favorite courses was the venture capital class taught by Olav Sorenson. It's an intense and very practical look into the VC world, from the beginning of the process up to the portfolio level. Part of what made it a really great experience, though, was the diversity of the students in the class. We had people from the Forestry School, from Public Health, and they brought a totally different perspective into the classroom. Many of them had worked in green tech or healthcare, so they bring this expertise in two of the most dynamic areas for venture capitalists. You start to understand that the investment is about more than just money. To be successful in VC, you need to know what makes each company run.
I'm heading to General Motors after graduation, where I'll be working in the Treasurer's Office. It's a rotational program and I'm particularly excited about it for two reasons. One, the office has an internal venture capital arm, so hopefully I'll get exposure to working in VC for a large organization. And the second is that if you stay with the program five or six years, you should be able to become a CFO of a local GM operation. GM has plants in Uzbekistan, and I'd love to be able to go back and be a part of them. When I worked for the Finance Ministry, I was actually involved in the project financing for two of the GM deals in the country. So in a way, if everything works out, it will be like I've come full circle.
Interviewed on April 5, 2011.