Mitchell Robinson is a Financial Planning Associate Intern in our Vancouver office and a former New York Yankees baseball player. We spoke with him on transitioning from his career as a professional athlete to his career in wealth management, and his life after sports.
Tell us about your career path? How did you go from being a professional athlete to working in Wealth Management?
First and foremost, I was always interested in finance from before I was even a collegiate athlete. I went stateside for my first two years of college baseball, however, I returned to the University of British Columbia in 2018.
During my time there I was a member of the varsity baseball team while majoring in economics with a minor in commerce. I was fortunate enough to be drafted in 2018 after completing my senior year of baseball, and my professional career began. Once I knew that professional baseball was a serious possibility, I made it my goal to have my degree completed so I would have it when I finished playing baseball, whenever that was.
During my first two off-seasons of professional baseball, I went back to UBC and was able to finish my degree in 2019. Once I was done playing professional baseball (right at the start of the pandemic), I started looking into making the transition into the world of finance. I was fortunate enough to have a conversation with Ethan Astaneh, a Financial Advisor here at Nicola Wealth.
I had no professional financial experience and no real idea of what my next steps would be. I ended up starting a job as an Associate trader at a firm called Baskin Wealth Management, in Toronto. I really enjoyed the job, and it was a great way for me to understand the financial services industry. However, I knew my goal was to transition into a client-facing and advisory role. Ethan and I stayed in contact, and even though I was happy in my role at the time, working for Nicola Wealth became a new goal of mine. Fast forward to May 31st, almost a year after Ethan and I first met, and I was fortunate enough to be hired as a Financial Planning Associate Intern.
What has been your greatest achievement to date?
My greatest achievement so far has been getting drafted by the New York Yankees in the 21st round of the MLB entry draft in 2018. For those who may not know, the draft is the first stepping stone towards playing Major League Baseball, and it can be one of the toughest steps to make. You must learn to utilize your strengths and find a way to stand out amongst the other eight guys on the field, as well as from the thousands of other players with the same goal as you.
The main reason why it is my greatest achievement to date is it was a goal I set for myself when I was a teenager, once I realized that baseball was more than a hobby. From that point on, the decisions I made, everything I did on and off the field, physically and mentally, were done with the goal of being drafted. It was a long hard process but fast forward seven years later I was finally able to say I achieved my goal.
How was the transition from a career in baseball to finance?
It was a difficult transition. Once I was done playing baseball, I was suddenly 24 years old and my ‘work experience’ of being a collegiate and professional baseball player over the last six years was quite atypical. Ultimately though, the things I learned over my years of playing baseball really gave me a unique skillset and outlook on work ethic and discipline. I think these intangibles that I learned were the difference in bridging some of the gaps I may have had in my work experience. Facing new challenges and working to overcome them was not something new to me, and if anything, some of the challenges I faced in my baseball career make the problems in my day-to-day life and career seem not so bad.
The concept of winning as a team was always one that stuck out to me when I was a player, and that has transitioned into my wealth management career as well.
Over my life, I have been a part of numerous teams, and have had hundreds, if not thousands of teammates. The concept of winning as a team was always one that stuck out to me when I was a player, and that has transitioned into my wealth management career as well. I love the idea of growing relationships and working together with clients like we’re a team, and we want to achieve their financial goals and ‘win’ together. I think this theme was the largest driving factor that led me towards wealth management.
What inspires you?
The thing that inspires me and drives me the most is my future self. I have images of what I want for me and my family 5, 10, 15 years down the road, so just like back when I was a teenager making those tough decisions to get drafted, I make my decisions and lead my life with my future self and family in mind. I’m also very inspired by the people around me. Seeing others who I admire or look up to work hard and achieve their goals is something that motivates me to follow in their footsteps.
What did baseball teach you about life? About your career?
Baseball is easily the most humbling sport I have ever played. Anytime you think you have it figured out, if you cut corners, or act with any complacency, the game will humble you. Hard work and passion are not things that you can fake, well you can, but just like baseball, life will find a way to humble you. I think this concept really sticks with me today.
Baseball is a game of failure, the best hitters in the world are only succeeding three out of 10 times. So, finding a way to mentally work through and separate what happens in those other seven times is something that did not come easy to me and took years to master. It’s easy to be able to work hard and go about your business when things are going well but being able to do it when things aren’t going your way is a life skill that I am incredibly thankful for and is one that has helped me achieve many goals in my life outside of baseball.