Pop Quiz, Monday with Nick H. Kamboj

Nick H. Kamboj

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Nick H. Kamboj

What is your job role?
Chief Executive Officer

Tell us about your company?
Aston & James, LLC serves as trusted advisers to the world’s prospective MBA students seeking admissions to the world’s top-tier business programs. Aston & James, LLC is an internationally focused advisory company focused on providing the most valuable and effective strategic and tactical guidance for prospective MBA students. With our primary headquarters located in Chicago and with our reach of international resources, Aston & James provides unparalleled service delivery.

Whether it is our MBA Comprehensive Admissions Plan or our RUSH-Hourly Trusted Adviser Service, Aston & James, LLC’s leadership and consultants provide the utmost prudent and strategic and tactical advice to maximize an individual’s potential in being admitted to a top-tier MBA program.

Our highly credentialed leadership and consulting team come from world-renowned institutions such as Harvard, University of Chicago, London School of Economics & Political Science and Northwestern University as well as other top universities. In addition, our top-tier MBA consultants come from a variety of industries and organizations. As such, they understand both the top-tier MBA landscape as well as how best to position one’s experience so that it resonates effectively with the top-tier MBA Program’s Admissions Committee.

Our philosophy and approach are metaphorically Bauhaus design in nature. Elegantly simple and powerful are the identifiers which are frequently used to describe our work. Perfectionism with a penchant for high utility is the foundation of the work that we do.

When individuals or organizations engage with Aston & James, they come to value a relationship which is based upon trust, mutual respect, stewardship, and competence.

What do you love most about your job?
The ability to work with incredibly diverse and talented individuals and to help them achieve their academic and professional aspirations. Aston & James, LLC focuses on identifying the specific needs of our clients who are aspiring to be admitted into the world’s top academic institutions and to help them be admitted into the dream schools of their choice. There is no greater professional joy, then when we receive news that our clients have been admitted into their dream schools and to hear how my team or I made that happen.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
My motivation is intrinsic and comes from knowing that each and every day, I will make a difference and a contribution in some way. I get very excited to know that I will either learn something new or convey some meaningful information to someone, or help someone achieve their dreams. These contributions to myself and my clients provide me with joy and continue to provide the impetus for me to do what I do every day.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
Through their empathetic and selfless actions, I am continuously inspired by both my colleagues and clients. Seeing the human condition at its finest provides me with great inspiration and the motivation to continue to be a better leader.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
The key to having fun at work and the key for my teams to continue their tight integration is to create a culture of inclusivity and empathy. By thoroughly understanding the specific needs of each other as well as being able to speak openly and transparently about our concerns and issues creates a healthy, open and collaborative work environment. With this foundational culture established, there is much more inclination to execute lighthearted pranks on fellow colleagues, which further enhances the feeling of congeniality.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
Some of the challenges of my position are related to identifying the most effective strategies for growing Aston & James. There is so much market research, high-quality academic work as well as industry domain-specific knowledge available, that formulating a corporate strategy for the next 5 or 10 years can be challenging, as much of the information available sometimes contradicts each other. Hence, the challenge is to discern high quality and competent information from that which is loosely coupled.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
One of the most challenges lessons to learn, which comes over the course of many years, is how to deal with adversity or failure of your expectations. Several months ago, there was a significant personal setback which I did not believe would impact my professional performance as a leader; however, as I was dealing with this personal setback, my performance as a leader was impacted, and I felt that I could have been better in some circumstances. What I learned from that experience, is that if there is a professional or personal setback, the key is to thoroughly compartmentalize the setback and assess what went wrong and how or if you can prevent it from happening again. Often we experience a setback and try to cope with it, without thoroughly understanding why it occurred or what events led to the challenge; as such, then we often find ourselves in similar challenges in the future. Hence, it is absolutely imperative that thorough introspection takes place after a professional or personal challenge occurs.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting out in your industry?
Read. Research. Socialize. For anyone who is contemplating establishing a professional services organization, it is important to read as much as you can about the industry and the specific specialization that you would like to embark upon. Furthermore, research and competitive intelligence are paramount in determining the landscape that your company will operate within. Hence. research is critical to ensuring that you are able to differentiate yourself effectively. Lastly, socialize in the industry and space that you wish to establish yourself in. It is important to attend conferences or events where like-minded individuals come together. By socializing in the appropriate personal and professional spheres, you will be able to best understand the needs of your industry and space and effectively resolve those challenges.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

Author: Ricky Singh, MBA

Editor of The Startup Growth.

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