As a high school student in Mumbai, India, Mihir Patel had already chosen a career path, though he wasn't sure where it might lead. He only knew that it must somehow involve finance. With a philosophy that students should be focused on their career plan, he earned an undergraduate degree in accounting at the University of Mumbai and interned part-time during summers and breaks at a stock brokerage. He came to the U.S. to pursue his graduate and MBA business degree at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) in 2002. "Those classes were held in the evening, so during the day I was still working as an intern at the credit union at FDU," explains Mihir, who is now 27. "I was doing their analysis reports and their monthly financial statements and bank reconciliations." Anything to immerse himself in the business of finance.
That devotion to his trade has paid off. Soon after graduating in 2004 with his MBA in finance, Mihir was hired as a supply chain financial analyst at Reckitt Benckiser in Parsippany, a manufacturer and marketer of consumer products like Lysol and Woolite. Two years later, he was hired as a senior financial analyst for C.R. Bard, a medical device company based in Murray Hill that has 9,000 employees and operations in more than 25 countries.
Mihir fills his days with finance. He assists the corporate controller in preparation of annual budgets and monthly forecasts. He reviews commercial spending for departments like human resources, business development and regulatory sciences. He also provides analysis on the economic viability of projects and organizes statistics for 10-K and 10-Q reporting. "When I was a kid I wanted to help people out in any possible way--not just physical labor, but in terms of community service," explains Mihir. "The pharmaceutical and medical device industry fascinates me because the products we develop are giving a better life to somebody who is ill. While finance is not a straight R&D or new product department, I'm supporting those functions within my company so I'm helping those people who are really in need of those medicines."
As Mihir continues to gather knowledge and experience, he believes his financial skills will take him far. "I see myself in the next two to three years as a manager of a mid-sized multinational company like Bard, where I will manage company finances, budgets, and forecasts. Nowadays budgets and forecasts are very important as we report the earnings to Wall Street with accuracy and integrity. It's a very responsible job and there is a lot of energy within the group. I would like to lead that group some day."
Mihir's Best Advice for Career Exploration: