Manizha Ruzieva - Highlight
Thursday, January 17, 2019
As a teenager, I asked myself what I want to do when I grow up. Translator/interpreter seemed an excellent choice at that time. I can master a couple of languages and travel around the world, maybe work for an embassy or a humanitarian organization. However after careful considerations of job security, I picked finance. Last year of college I joined the workforce full-time as a loan officer for commercial loans. Living in a small country with a population of 7million at that time, meant micro lending & small mom & pop shops is what financed the majority of the country. I’d issue loans as low as a USD 1,000.00 to small town entrepreneurs, be that housewife that bakes goods in her home and sells it to the grocery stores for resale, cattleman who needs to buy hey for the winter for his cows and/or sheep, or a reseller of gold jewelry.
Then the 2008 financial crisis hit and all my clients started defaulting on their monthly payments. At which point, my job was supposed to be to liquidate the borrowers’ gold items (jewelry and other melted gold pieces that are usually passed from one generation to another) that my lending firm held in its procession in case of loan default, and pay down the debt. Despite the fact that I was just doing my job, it felt, as I was not prepared to deal with individuals that just lost all of their lifetime savings and faced bankruptcies. As a result, I transitioned all the outstanding loans in my portfolio and resigned March of 2009.
Back in college, I always wanted to study abroad, but coming from a third world country like Tajikistan, presented some challenges. It was very difficult to get a visa to go anywhere, it was very expensive (to give you a frame of reference, GDP in Tajikistan in 2009 was under USD 670.00 per capita) and last but not least, being in a Muslim country, status of females in the society did not exactly involve education, career or an independent lifestyle. Despite all odds, I made my way to Chicago in May of 2009. I attended a language school for 9 months to learn English and applied to a graduate program at a small catholic school in River Forest, a western suburb of Chicago. Hence, my challenge began when I started my masters program fall of 2010. At that point, I learned pretty basic English but nowhere close to enough to comprehend graduate level education in a foreign language. All of the academic challenges aside, I was also facing financial challenges, due to a lack of any financial aid available to international students. All ended well and three years later, and many part-time jobs later, I graduated with my chin up and a master’s degree under my wing. As that wasn’t enough, I decided a CPA would give me a competitive advantage and I took 5 more months and obtained that certificate.
After a couple of years in corporate America as a staff accountant, I realized that accounting isn’t what I want to be doing for the rest of my life and transitioned into treasury. Now with a CTP & 4.5 years of experience in treasury under my belt, I am convinced I made the right choice and unless I am considered as a replacement for Anthony Bourdain’s job, I will consider sticking around in the treasury world.