Hey there! I'm Shanif - a young professional with a background in technology and a passion for investing and trading. I've been developing software since 1997 and have been trading options profitably since 2008.
I have a BS in Computer Science and Systems & Information Engineering, and recently earned my MBA, focusing on Quantitative Finance and Entrepreneurship. These days, I focus on generating high returns with options trading and building up a successful mobile software business.
People, Places, Things - My Best Shots
A different take on those big purchases
This is the fifth post in a multi-part series on how to manage your finances so you can build up your savings, have a safety net, and still live comfortably today without having to live paycheck to paycheck. Click here for part 4, which discusses how you can use your credit cards without spiraling into debt.
Avoid financing large purchases
It’s proven. We love shopping. When we go out and buy something new, all of these wonderful, pleasure-invoking neurotransmitters flood our brain with warm fuzzies1,2. That new Coach bag or iPad can make you feel awesome – for a while. When you’re in the midst of a shopping spree, you’re less prone to think about how far that new gadget will put you in debt. That’s why it’s important to do a little bit of planning before you make that next big purchase.
In a perfect world, you’d be able to pay for everything you want, both small and large, with cash. One big, lump sum payment right at the start, and you’d be done. But since that’s not usually an option, it’s easy to put that new gadget on our credit cards and slowly pay it off over a few months.
Don’t do that!
If you realize that you want to buy a large item early on, then you can usually avoid financing it. How? Pay yourself first.
Set up “gadget” accounts
One way to avoid paying 12-month payments for your latest gadget is by setting up a savings account for any large items that you think you’ll want to buy in the future. Once you do this, you can transfer a small portion of your paycheck into that account every month. When you’ve saved up enough to buy the item, use the money from this account to cover the purchase. This is one of the simplest ways to save yourself from debt worries in the long run.
A separate account for your major purchases puts you in the right frame of mind to properly manage your finances. It makes you focus on achieving a specific goal, and it also reduces the chance that you’ll use the money in that account to pay for something other than what you set it aside for. This focus, combined with the discipline you’ll develop by regularly contributing to a savings account that you set up for a specific item, will also help you develop the skills you’ll need to be a good trader or investor.
Truly LARGE purchases
Sometimes, you may think that something is just too expensive for this method to work well. You may be right. There are things out there that you probably won’t be able to save up for. But that doesn’t mean this method is completely useless in those scenarios.
You can still setup an account and start saving for your next big purchase. Any money that you save up can be used to cover part of the cost. The more you save, the less you’ll have to finance.
But before you think something is so expensive that you’ll never be able to save for it, just think twice. You may be surprised at what you can cover if you plan for it early enough.
Let’s say you know you’ll need to buy a car in a few years. Most people just assume they’ll finance it because it’s so expensive. But what would happen if you started saving for it now?
If you start a “future ride fund” today, and start paying into it with your next paycheck, you may just be able to save up enough to pay for it all at once. What if you set aside $500 every month? In 4 years, you’d suddenly have at least $24,000 (maybe more, if you used an interest-bearing account) to pay for a new car.
You can’t say that’s not doable. And by paying for your new car all at once, you avoid spending too much and going into debt for a depreciating asset.
You can do this for all sorts of major purchases: a car, a down payment on a house, a computer, anything. Try it.
Science Is Awesome
Use Your Credit Cards For Everything – Wisely
This is the fourth post in a multi-part series on how to manage your finances so you can build up your savings, have a safety net, and still live comfortably today without having to live paycheck to paycheck. Click here for part 3, which discusses how to tackle your nagging debt.
Credit cards are not loans
It’s no surprise that Americans have a lot of credit card debt. In fact, it’s estimated that the average household with credit card debt owes around $15,799 on their cards1. That’s a lot of money to owe – especially if you don’t have it. That kind of debt can take years to pay off, and can severely affect your credit score. It goes without saying that you should try to avoid credit card debt – especially with the ridiculously high interest fees that card issuers are charging these days.
So why would you use your credit cards at all?
If you are disciplined enough to pay off your credit cards every month, in full, you can avoid getting caught in a spiral of debt while also taking advantage of the convenience that your cards provide. If you’ve set up automatic balance payments from your checking account to your card, you don’t even have to take any actions yourself (other than making sure you’re not spending too much).
- Build your credit score
Buy having a lot of available credit, but not using all of it, you build up your credit score. The ratings agencies like to see that people have discipline. If you have a lot of cards, though, it’s important to make sure you pay off each one on time. The longer you maintain a track record of on-time payments, the better your score will be.
- Get points and cash back
This is obviously the biggest benefit of using a credit card. The more you use it (in moderation, of course), the more money you can earn back. By using a credit card for all of your payments, you can actually save save money, when compared to using cash. Just remember, pay it all off.
- Protected against identity theft
When you use your credit card, you have the power of your bank behind you. If something goes wrong, you can cancel fraudulent transactions, or get your money back from a merchant that tried to rip you off. You won’t be responsible for any charges made without your authorization.
There you have it. As long as you can think of your credit card as cash straight out of your pocket as opposed to free money or a never-ending loan from your bank, you can actually use credit to your benefit. In the next article, we’ll discuss how to approach paying for large purchases so you can avoid financing them and falling into the debt trap. Read on.
A Little Bit of Self-Reflection
An email from a friend got me thinking about who I am – my personality, character traits, where I’ve gone in life. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the reflection in this proverbial mirror is quite different than what I would have expected to see only a few years ago.
One of the things that I’m most proud about is that people tend to perceive me as being very even keel, calm, with a certain determination and willpower that make me driven.
Do you know how sometimes you can still see yourself as the same person you were 5 or 10 years ago? Well, for me, being called calm and even keel is exactly the opposite of who I used to be.
My family is hot-blooded, emotional, and I’m no exception. I was (at some point, maybe as long ago as when I was a kid or teenager), volatile. I’ve always been passionate, and I hope that that hasn’t changed, but beyond that passion, I couldn’t control my outbursts. I didn’t know how to express myself without getting overly emotional. Maybe that was due to a lack of experience or even a lack of happiness, but whatever it was, it was not calmness.
That was one of the things I tried very hard to change. Very little good can come from being so up and down. It’s hard to be productive, it’s hard to maintain positive relationships. It’s just unhealthy, so I forced myself to change that characteristic in me.
I’m not sure how I did it, exactly. A lot of it just came from being a better observer of people. I used to think that actions were all telling and intentions didn’t matter at all. Though it’s true that I still think that what a person does is far more important than what he or she says, I slowly began to realize that there is a method and a certain logic to the way people behave. There are incentive structures, emotional prompts and responses, and logical reactions to situational stimuli.
When I started to understand why and how people reacted to different things, I slowly realized that there was indeed a method to all the madness, and when I realized that, I started to chill out a bit. I think one of my biggest problems is that I hate not understanding the reasoning behind something. Whether it’s the way a device works or the way someone acts, I can’t stand not knowing why, and that not knowing used to cause me an incredible amount of frustration that I didn’t know how to deal with.
But things change. After going through a few major, life-shaping experiences, getting a bit more educated, making more friends and being more social, and just experiencing more of what this unbelievably diverse and grandiose world has to offer, I started to get it.
So it makes me extremely happy, and a bit proud, to hear people say that my calmness and drive inspires them. It just goes to show that you can do anything you set your mind to. I truly believe that you can teach yourself to do anything simply through rote repetition. If you do something enough, it will become second nature. The hard part is having the discipline to continue doing it until you’ve mastered it.
I still tend to think of myself as that shy, nerdy kid with no self-confidence and very few friends that didn’t have any idea what was happening around him. It’s always nice to hear when other people have a different opinion (at least the good stuff, I know there’s a lot of bad stuff that I can still improve).
I’m also pretty amazed at how much I like New York. I had visited a few times on various occasions before Stern and I was never a fan. The huge buildings, lack of sunlight, and overwhelming hustle of it all was not my thing. Of course, I had visited the typical tourist sites and the financial district. New York is much more than that. In fact, its best asset is its residents. The people that live in New York are unlike the people anywhere else in the world. They’re all different, with different races, languages, backgrounds, cultures, and perceptions. But there’s one thing that they have in common, and that thing is the unfaltering drive to be better than what they are.
People in New York are ambitious. They’re talented. They’re smart. They’re the farthest thing from being complacent. They know life and how to live it.
The amount of energy and motivation I have when I even think about it is enormous. I’m not usually one to align myself with any sort of larger group – religious, cultural, geographic, belief-based, what have you, but when I think of myself as a “New Yorker” I feel a bit of pride and energy that I never did before. I think that’s a positive trend in my larger life, too. I have more motivation, energy, knowledge, and inspiration now to succeed than I ever did before.
I have a long way to go in life, but looking back and seeing how far I’ve come is not only reassuring, but motivating as well. There are a lot of goals I need to reach before I’ll be satisfied (not to be confused with happy or content), and I need to make sure that the pendulum doesn’t swing too far to the other end and I lose all emotion and passion, but I feel much better about where I am now, as a starting point for the future, than I have at any other point in my life.
And I want to make sure this isn’t all about “me, myself, and I.” Without the help of others, I would be nowhere close to where I am now. Most importantly, I have my parents and one or two extremely close friends (you know who you are) to thank for getting me through it all.
So, as the intro for SBTB: The College Years put it, “I’m standing at the edge of tomorrow, from here, the future looks bright for me.” And yes, that show (maybe not the college years version, but the rest) is still extremely relevant.View comments →
Get Rid Of That Nagging Debt With Some Simple Planning
This is the third post in a multi-part series on how to manage your finances so you can build up your savings, have a safety net, and still live comfortably today without having to live paycheck to paycheck. Click here for part 2, which discusses how to manage your checking account.
Debt is a major issue
Generations X and Y have a big problem. They’re getting paid less and working more than the generations that came before them. They’re paying more for college. They’re paying more for housing. Their salaries aren’t going anywhere. Everything said, they got a pretty raw deal. But, there’s also another problem. Young professionals are spending. A lot.
Make no mistake, though, it’s not just the baby boomers’ kids that are in debt. A huge number of Americans are in debt for more than just their mortgages.
The different types of debt
Sometimes, you have to borrow money to get ahead. School loans are almost a necessity for many students, especially with the skyrocketing costs of college. In fact, according to a 2008 report from the American Savings Education Council and the AARP, 32% of all members of Generation Y have outstanding student loan debt.
Necessary debts, such as those that come with student loans, are investments in your future earning potential, or “self-investment” debts. We need them – fortunately, these debts usually come with delayed payments and lower interest than the other types of debts – the “lifestyle debts.”
“Lifestyle debts,” the bad debts, are the high-interest debts that can generally be avoided. The most common of these is credit card debt. According to the same report mentioned above, 57% of young professionals have some sort of credit card debt.
Sometimes, this is valid debt. Credit cards can be used to pay off anything these days, including expenses that are unavoidable, or related to basic needs. But more often than not, those cards are probably being used for lattes, electronics, clothes, cars, and other such items.
Regardless of the type of debt you have, it’s important to create a plan to get out of it.
Planning to get out of debt
If you’re saddled with thousands of dollars of debt, chances are, you may not know how to start paying it off. Try this:
Open up Excel, make a list of every single debt you owe, along with their interest rates, total amounts, and any other important terms. Now, take a step back and absorb what you just put down. Is it a lot? Is it manageable? Is it mostly good debt (self-investment) or bad debt (lifestyle debt)?
Now, try to figure out if you can stop the bleeding.
Is the majority of debt lifestyle-related? Are you spending too much on things you don’t need? If so, make a commitment to stop right now. If you have too much credit card debt, you may want to cut up your credit cards and use debit cards instead. If you’re making payments on a sports car, maybe you should trade it in for something less expensive. Are you paying too much on rent? Look for a cheaper place. Before you can start generating money by trading, you’ll need to get the rest of your finances in order, because you don’t want to be trading money that you need to pay off your apartment for the next month.
Let’s assume you’ve been able to take care of your lifestyle debt, but you’re still owe a lot of money. What do you do?View comments →
Handle Expenses With Your Checking Account
This is the second post in a multi-part series on how to manage your finances so you can build up your savings, have a safety net, and still live comfortably today without having to live paycheck to paycheck. Click here for part 1, which discusses the hows and whys of building up an emergency fund.
Keep the right amount of money in your checking account
Your checking account is the main financial engine of your life. You use it to hold short-term cash – the cash that you’ll need to pay for that new phone, next month’s rent, and that trip to Europe. So it’s important to keep it well-funded, but you can’t afford to put all your money into your checking account. After all, you want to use some of that in your options account to start generating income, don’t you?
Knowing how much to keep in your checking account is just like balancing a scale. Most checking accounts don’t pay you a lot of interest, so you don’t want to keep too much money in them, but you do want to have enough to make sure you can cover any expenses that come up.
To get this balancing act just right, you need to take a look in your financial mirror. The first step is to figure out how much you’re spending each month. Once you know this, you’ll know how much to keep in your checking account.
So how much is just enough?
On the 1st of each month, take your average monthly expenses, multiply it by 2, and then subtract what’s currently in your checking account from this number. That’s how much you need to add to your checking account.
By doing this, you’ll be able to cover all of your expected costs for the month, and you’ll have enough to quickly pay for any small or medium unexpected expenses that inevitably creep up. Having that extra balance means avoiding the need to transfer money from another account, particularly your emergency fund, just to pay for a short-term expense. Over the course of the month, your balance will slowly drift downward, but when your next paycheck comes in, you can just bring it “refill” your checking account as you need, and start the cycle again.
A few final tips to keep in mind:
- Fees – You really shouldn’t have a checking account that charges you money. There are so many different options out there that it’s very easy to find an institution that won’t charge you just to maintain an account with them.
- Linked accounts – Keeping your checking account with the same bank that provides your main credit card will easily let you transfer fund from your checking account to your card with very little hassle. The bank may even give you the option to automatically pay off your balance every month by withdrawing from your checking account. If you have the option to link one or more of your accounts, particularly a credit card account, you may want to do it.
- Multiple accounts – You may also want to keep multiple checking accounts for all of the different expenses you have. This is a good way of making sure you don’t tap into next month’s rent payment for the next gadget you want to buy.
That’s it for this part. In the next article, we’ll discuss how to get that nagging debt under control.View comments →
Plan For The Unplannable With An Emergency Fund
This is the first article in a multi-part series on how to manage your finances so that you can begin generating income and, hopefully, quit your job one day. In part two, I discuss how to set up your checking account so you can manage your everyday expenses.
Use your paycheck wisely
Every working professional has one event that they don’t need their calendar to remember: payday. Whether you get paid monthly, bi-monthly, or for those lucky few, every week, there’s no doubt that you know exactly when all of your hard work is going to pay off, literally. Chances are, you’ve been looking forward to it since your last paycheck, and as the balance in your checking account gets closer and closer to zero, you’re probably jumping at the opportunity to log on to your bank’s website and see all of that just sitting there, waiting for you to spend it.
Hopefully, you’ll funnel some of it into a savings account. You may set some aside for rent and utilities, maybe even put some away into your 401(k) or other long term investment account. Chances are you’ll use the rest of it on random purchases throughout the month. But as the end of the month gets closer, your account dwindles back down to zero and the cycle starts all over again.
For a while, this works out just fine. But then, one day, something happens. Your car breaks down. You need to pay for a big purchase. You have to pay a friend back. What do you do then?
Your checking account doesn’t have enough money in it, and your next paycheck doesn’t come in for another week. If you’re lucky, you may be able to borrow money from your already debt-laden credit card, or maybe even a friend or your parents. Neither of these options are any good.
Does it surprise you to know that nearly half of all Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck? It’s even worse for people under the age of 35. One study from Metlife, several years ago, showed that about 59% of all workers between 20 and 30 have no savings and need to rely on their monthly paycheck to make ends meet. That’s a shame, because starting to save and invest in the early 20′s and 30′s is a great way to build up a huge cash balance for later in your life.
So how do you get control and build up your nest-egg?
Traditional wisdom says to “pay yourself first.” For those that haven’t heard this term before, it means that before you spend money on any bills, utilities, clothes, electronics, or other expenses, you should set aside a certain amount of your paycheck to go into a pre-planned savings, checking, or investment account.
Now, let’s talk about how to plan for that unexpected expense by paying yourself first.View comments →
Getting Started With Personal Finance
Did you know:
- Half of all Americans have less than 1 month’s worth of savings1
- The average graduating college senior leaves school with $23,186 in debt2
- The personal savings rate at the start of the Great Recession was 1.3%3
- A majority of people live paycheck to paycheck – including those that make 6-figures4
- Only half of all current workers participate in a retirement savings plan5
- In the US, the average savings for someone that is 50 years old is $2,5006
- 97% of Americans that reach the retirement age of 65 retire with less than $100,0006
Do these statistics scare you? I certainly hope so.
Start planning now
Most Americans don’t know much about managing their personal finances, much less managing investments and building long-term wealth in the market. But the truth of the matter is, with a little planning and discipline, it’s not that difficult to build up long-term wealth.
Think living it up now is more important than building up some money for your future? Hope you like working into your 70s, or even your 80s.
I believe that anyone can achieve financial independence through the use of options. But before you can start trading, you need to know the basics of managing your money – which is really as simple as saving a little bit and making sure you have enough to cover your expenses. To give you a hand, I’ve created a 8-step guide for getting your personal finances in order. If you read through these tutorials, and then slowly start investing with stocks and options, you’ll be well on your way to quitting that job of yours years before you thought you’d be able to.
Let’s get started.
My guide to managing your personal finances
- Plan for the unplannable with an emergency fund
- Handle expenses with your checking account
- Get rid of that nagging debt with some simple planning
- Use your credit cards for everything – wisely
- A different take on those big purchases
- Insure yourself properly
- Turn today’s income into an early retirement by growing your money
- Wrapping it up with your five step financial plan
The True Cost Of An MBA: Passing The 300K Mark
Total as of 11/27/2011: $314,874.98
Only five months ago, I wrote a post “commemorating” the point where I passed $200,000 in business school-related expenses. That was not a particularly joyous thing to recognize, and, somehow, less than half a year later, I’ve hit an even more impressive milestone.
This past month, I surpassed $300,000 in expenses. Unbelievable. They never told us this in the application prep process.
Though, it’s not unexpected. Like I’ve said before, these costs include both actual incurred costs, as well as the opportunity cost of not working, which is by far the largest expense in the whole process. Of the current total of $314,000, more than half ($171,000) is made up of lost wages from not working. Tuition accounts for about another $100,000, so it’s not like there were a lot of unexpected expenses along the way.
But for anyone debating whether or not to go to business school, this is important to keep in mind. At this point, I could rationalize how future earnings can account for this number, or how business school is a priceless incredible life experience (it is), but I won’t diminish the true, gargantuan magnitude of this number.
That’s a lot of money. Make of it what you will. Fortunately, my last tuition payment has been made, and soon I get to start working on the startup full time, not to mention, I’m able to support myself by trading, so, all in all, I can’t complain. Below is a link to the spreadsheet where I keep track of all of my expenses. Feel free to see for yourself.View comments →
Warsaw and Rome
Looking back on Poland
After my last post, where I told you about the amazing salt mines near Krakow, I left off by saying that I’d be heading to Warsaw and Poland next. Since that time, Gowri, Oat, Caroline, and I were able to head to Warsaw and saw its reconstructed old town square – a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was very cool to see.
Overall, Poland was a pretty interesting place. We ate very well. In fact, I ate much better in Poland then I did in Milan. And the portions were huge. Probably bigger than what you get in the States. We spent most of our time in Krakow, and only a night in Warsaw, which was what every single guide and site on the Internet told us to do. In retrospect, though, I wish we had done it the other way around.
From what I was able to see in Warsaw, things were a lot more lively, and it just had a better vibe. There were more young people, lights decorated every street, people were out, about, and more attractive, there was more culture, more things to see. I wish I had more time there.
Be careful what advice you take
Interestingly enough, I felt the same way about my trip to Morocco. All of the guides suggested going to Fes, possibly Marrakech, and avoiding Casablanca, which we did. Strangely enough, though, I liked Casablanca a lot, and wish I had spent more time there and slightly less time in Fes and Marrakech (on the other hand, the desert tour was awesome, and I wouldn’t have changed that at all).
It’s interesting to note that both cities that others have suggested staying away from had the feel of more modern, 21st century cities, whereas the cities that others suggested visiting all had more of an old world feel to them. I wonder if I’ve just gotten so jaded by all my travels that I don’t appreciate historical value, anymore, or if I just really like being in a modern city. In any case, just keep this in mind if you ever decide to visit Morocco or Poland.
After leaving the freezing cold temperatures of Poland, Oat, Gowri, and I flew to the temperate climate of Rome, while Caroline flew back home for Thanksgiving and a high school reunion. It’s too bad, too. She got us through Poland, she was a blast to hang out with, and, not least of all, she was our 4th for spades.
The eternal city (Rome)
I must say, I wish Bocconi were situated in Rome, instead of Milan. The weather here is really nice, it just feels like there’s more to do here, and there are more Americans around, which, after four or five months of living without, becomes a very nice thing to have.
When we got in, Oat, Gowri, and I checked out Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. The last time I was here, I don’t think I went to see the fountain, so that was a nice sight. Today, we met up with Anthony (another friend from Stern who happened to be in Rome), and took a tour of the Colosseum and the Emperor’s Palace. The tour was great, and both of our guides were awesome. The first one had an amazing ability to tell a story such that you could visualize yourself in its settings.
The Colosseum was truly impressive, and I was surprised to learn just how advanced the Romans were in their mechanical engineering capabilities. After the tours, we went to see the Spanish Steps and the Pantheon (this time, from the inside). After an unsatisfyingly small (but tasty) dinner, we went to a small pizzeria, where Oat got a second meal, and the rest of us played spades once again, followed by a card game called golf, which Gowri taught us how to play. Once again, I was completely satisfied sitting there, trying to figure out which card to play (in my defense, spades is an awesome game).
Tomorrow, we’ll all head over to the Vatican to see some of the great sights that they have there. Right now, I should probably try to get some work done.
Before I sign off, though, I have to say how nice it has been to be able to hang out with some of my true Stern friends on this trip. The Bocconi exchange crew was awesome, but we didn’t have the same amount of time to bond as the Stern crew. Hanging out with them brings a certain level of comfort that I haven’t had on this exchange (which is good, considering I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone to see how I’d react). It makes me want to get back to New York even more.
Until then, though, ciao Ciao ciao.View comments →
I manage, implement, and utilize big data, business intelligence, automated analytics, and large scale technology at TapCommerce to help companies retain and acquire their best mobile customers, increasing their ROI on investment in mobile technologies.
TapCommerce is the leader in mobile retargeting. We're trusted by the most successful mobile brands to deliver customers, revenue, and return on investment across mobile platforms. TapCommerce is a venture-backed mobile technology company headquartered in New York City's Union Square. Learn more at tapcommerce.com
• Design, architect, implement, test, and monitor the company’s core real-time demand-side platform, handling 40,000 requests per second. Implemented concurrent, multi-threaded Java code, enterprise grade application servers, and big data systems on the AWS cloud infrastructure
• Designed and implemented the analytical and technical process that enabled the company to advertise to mobile web users, enabling the company to increase its product offering and client base by 2x
• Optimize campaign performance through the use of statistical methods and machine learning algorithms
• Set and manage the company’s roadmap for expansion into features centered on data analytics
• Key driver of the company’s technical interview process, designing coding challenges, questions, and cooperative work sessions designed to determine a candidate’s technical aptitude and cultural fit
• Manage financial costs and create projections for the company’s technical infrastructure
• Drove thousands of dollars of weekly revenue by developing e-commerce capabilities for the company’s flagship app. Used Java and Objective-C to create a mobile app for displaying and selling products, integrated with a payment gateway, and managed software and server infrastructure used by hundreds of thousands of users every month
Founded an investment club focused on generating consistent, periodic income by using the aid of custom-developed analytic methodologies and computer programs to trade options
• Generated an average annualized return of 40%
• Coordinated the research and analysis efforts for myself and two partners
• Developed and automated several quantitative analysis algorithms that assist in the investment process by providing rankings of publicly traded companies based on financial fundamentals, listings of stocks with the highest options premiums, and predictions of stock movement based on trending and momentum criteria. Created the algorithms using the fundamental principles of weighted trade studies and later automated them using Ruby on Rails
• Created a website that enables the publication of investment articles and provides access to the aforementioned automated algorithms, a portfolio management tool, and educational resources
• Performed market research on publicly traded companies, focusing on industry standing, historical performance, competitive advantage, and future prospects
• Managed legal, financial, accounting, logistics, long-term strategy, and investment objectives
Software developer and member of founding teamoGolf
Member of the management team on an early stage startup that developed technology to provide data analytics and game management software for golfers.
• Created a website allowing golfers to review a comprehensive set of analytics about their game
• Developed financial projections and investor presentations, presented the new business and software at conferences, pitched to potential investors, and demoed the product to customers
• Developed strategy and marketing plans for growing the business
• Recruited new talent to assist with software development, marketing, and operations
AssociateBooz Allen Hamilton
Provided information and communications management solutions to public and private organizations as an IT consultant at a large, multi-national consulting organization.
• Managed timelines, resources, and a staff of up to 10 software developers and testers in the technical implementation of a project management application that allowed over 4,500 users on 500 projects to easily collaborate on key deliverables, organize project schedules, review budgets, and create financial projections. Coordinated the efforts of staff from multiple departments across the firm to implement a new development process that reduced the number of hours needed to create and test new software by more than 50%, eliminated the need for overtime work, and ensured the timely delivery of new functionality. Received a performance award for ensuring product quality, meeting deadlines, and effectively managing personnel
• Led and managed the technical implementation, logistics, timelines, and activities of myself and two other developers in the delivery of a web-based traffic simulation engine that provided a testbed for industry-specific application developers to test their proprietary algorithms. Received a performance award for “leading the team and ensuring critical deadlines were achieved without sacrificing quality.”
• Assisted in domain administration for a server farm consisting of SharePoint front-end web servers, Microsoft SQL Servers, domain controllers, and a SAN
• Lead developer for a Ruby on Rails and Flex-based application designed to automate the deployment of SOA-based military service offerings. Implemented a RESTful methodology for saving and delivering data to a Flex front end
• Participated in university recruiting and interview efforts for the firm. Provided recommendations that led to the hiring of approximately one-quarter of the total staff on sub-team, as well as the hiring of approximately 30 junior staff straight from college
• Progressively increased managerial responsibilities over the course of two promotions in three years
Software DeveloperWamily, LLC
Member of the management team on an early stage startup that developed web-based group communication, management, and coordination software.
• Worked with a team of web developers to create an Internet business centered on a website that would allow its users to easily manage and interact with their real-life groups in an online setting
• Developed widgets for communication and collaboration, permission models and security implementations, and user interfaces for site features
• Assisted in recruiting 500 alpha users and raising $20,000 in angel investments
• Participated in board meetings to determine long-term strategies
Intern Research AssistantBooz Allen Hamilton
Provided research and development support as a technology intern to a large, multi-national consulting firm.
• Provided a fully functional, database-backed web application for use by overseas military personnel in a shortened timeframe of 3 weeks as part of a 3-person development team
• Created a collaboration site that provided Navy leadership with near-real time critical information to streamline the decision making process in the Navy Gulf Coast Region in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina
• Designed and created several web part solutions using APIs from Active Directory, Microsoft MapPoint, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Microsoft SharePoint
• Created a Macromedia flash proof-of-concept dashboard for a status reporting application integrated with SharePoint
Researcher and Lead DeveloperUniversity of Virginia
Developed software, created algorithms, and analyzed information management processes that would optimize the battery life on micro-sensor hardware devices as part of a university thesis project.
• Coordinated the efforts of a five-member team focused on developing an approach to optimize the use of resources on wireless sensor networks
• Designed, implemented, and maintained a simulation engine capable of simulating enemy solider movement and sensor network functionality in customized, loadable, user-defined scenarios. The application was written in C#, supported XML-based loadable scenario files, and utilized various optimization algorithms (such as Dijkstra’s algorithm and A*). The simulation engine provided users with an intuitive graphical user interface for simulation control as well as the ability to view and report on simulation progress
• Performed statistical and quantitative analysis on results to determine optimal resource allocation policy for the tested scenarios
• Lead author and presenter of a paper at the IEEE Systems and Information Engineering Design Symposium describing results
Researcher and DeveloperPersonal and Academic Projects
Developed a variety of software for a myriad of purposes on several different platforms and programming languages.
• Developed and tested a C# desktop weight management application using Access as the database backend, and later migrated it to the Internet using PHP and MySQL
• Lead developer on a team that created, documented, and tested robot control and communication software for the Evolution ER1 robot. The software allowed users to remotely control the robot by way of a specially created communications protocol
• Developed a prototype for an interactive Macromedia Flash map that retrieves external data and allows users to easily view them in a geographically organized format
• Created a discrete event queuing model simulation of a dining facility located on campus using Rockwell Arena, based on data gathered and interpreted by the project group
• Created a prototype Peer-to-Peer application based on the Gnutella search and communication protocol in Microsoft Visual Studio .NET using C# and TCP/IP socket programming
Branch ManagerCollege Works Painting
Participated in an internship designed to hone and cultivate the entrepreneurial skills of college students by allowing them to run their own local branch of a large, nationwide business.
• Operated a local house painting business, which generated over $15,000 worth of gross revenue in contracts with 25+ clients
• Responsible for sales, payroll, recruitment, operations, customer relations, and marketing
VolunteerAmerican Red Cross
Volunteered as a member of the executive management board of the youth community service organization of the Washington, D.C. chapter of the American Red Cross.
• Served as president (2001-2002), vice president (2000-2001), and member of a local youth community service organization as part of the National Capital Chapter of the American Red Cross
• Managed and coordinated the execution of various community service projects and their logistics, including fund-raising, logistics, marketing, and management of personnel
• Served as one of five United States youth representatives to the international Youth Exchange in 2000
• Received various formal volunteer recognitions
• Gained skills in leading multi-person projects, effective communication, and time management
Master of Business AdministrationNYU Stern School of Business
Completed two years of a rigorous MBA program at a top business school, focusing on acquiring the skills required to improve my trading activities and start a new business.
• Graduated with specializations in Quantitative Finance and Entrepreneurship and Innovation
• First Year Activities: Associate Vice President of Technology for the Stern Hedge Fund Association and Associate Vice President of Communications for the Entrepreneurs Exchange Club
• Member of the Technology and New Media Group and the Association for Investment Management and Research
• Completed one course on Doing Business in China at the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University
• Studied abroad at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy
Bachelor of ScienceUniversity of Virginia
Completed four years of study in the engineering school, focusing on acquiring software development, statistical analysis, modeling, simulation, and data analytic skills.
• Received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and double majored in Systems and Information Engineering
• Received a minor in Math
• Part of a team-oriented effort to improve resource usage in sensor networks. Main author of a paper published at the IEEE Systems and Information Engineering Design Symposium
• Graduated with distinction
• Achieved Dean's List in 3 different semesters
- Name: Shanif Dhanani
- Address: New York, NY, USA
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 703.477.1438