A London-based Bangladeshi investment bank has made the cut in Goldman Sachs biennial promotion round earlier this month, making him the first ever Bangladeshi to do so.
He is the first person from Bangladesh to become a partner at the bank, insiders told UK-based Financial News and also confirmed by a bank spokesperson.
Yousuf is co-head of emerging markets sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Goldman, having joined as a managing director at Deutsche Bank in 2011, where he was head of its emerging markets rates structuring team.
His parents were both teachers and, growing up in Bangladesh, he later moved to Texas in the US when he was 16 after his father was offered a research secondment.
He then looked to apply to US universities as part of an effort to emigrate to the west and kick-start his career, eventually getting a place at Bates College in Maine, studying math and physics.
While his tuition fees were paid through a scholarship, he also had a job that required 20-hours a week to pay for “everything else”.
“In my third year, somebody came to me and said ‘hey, there’s this job in New York city that pays $10,000 for the summer, are you interested?’. I didn’t even ask what the job was,” he told Financial News.
“I was heavily in debt, I hadn’t seen my parents for four years and wanted to afford to go home, so I interviewed and got the job it was at Merrill Lynch.”
Through the summer internship, Yousef secured a full-time job on the bond trading floor at Merrill Lynch in 1999, when the bank was a leading fixed income house and trading revenue was booming.
“It was an aggressive place, and I was like a fish out of water because I just arrived, but I really couldn’t care less. I was willing to work hard and do what it takes because not being able to work meant going back to Bangladesh and that was not an option,” he said.
Despite starting out in finance, Yousef said he felt some pressure from his parents to go into academia. His father was the first person from his region to go into education and Bangladeshi culture often pushes children towards more typical professions, he said.
“From a cultural perspective, banking is not something Bangladeshi people aspire towards,” he said. “So you want to be a doctor, you want to be a lawyer, an engineer or a professor, but banking is not what your parents will inspire kids to be.”
Yousef added that when the partner class of 2022 was announced, his mum had to Google ‘what does it mean to be a Goldman Sachs partner?’
“Now she’s proud and super-excited,” he said.