Absorb Everything: Career Advice

Jasbina Ahluwalia asks Sheila Dharmarajan: It’s a pleasure to have you. Sheila is the Head of Business Development at ZelnickMedia and is responsible for originating investment opportunities and outreach.

Prior to joining ZelnickMedia, Sheila was an on-air television reporter CNBC and Bloomberg Television where she regularly reported on a wide range of business news and breaking stories. She also served as a host of The Future is Now, a Yahoo! web series focused on innovation and cutting edge technology.

Before her foray into television, Sheila was an investment professional where she focused on analyzing and executing private equity investments across a range of industries, including healthcare, consumer retail and information services.

Sheila graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, earned a BS in Finance and Management and earned her MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Welcome again, Sheila.

You have a variety of professional experiences. I’m wondering if you have any interesting experiences or anecdotes to share with our listeners regarding your early years as an investment professional, especially as a South Asian woman.



Sheila Dharmarajan

Absorb Everything in Investment Banking

I had a big takeaway that I learned at the beginning of my career, particularly when I was in investment banking.

There is a lot of urban legend and lore about investment banking, the hours that you work, some of the crazy things you have to do and all the hard work you have to put in. All of that is true.


Absorb Everything, Be In The Room

One thing I learned early on in life is, just being in the room is a huge learning experience.

When I was an investment banking analyst, I was not doing anything glamorous.

  • I was crunching the numbers.
  • I was carrying the books.
  • I was organizing the meetings.
  • I was doing the research.


But I also got to be in the presence of some very talented CEOs and investment professionals.


Absorb Everything, Learn Everything

Those are all huge learning experiences.

I think there is this notion today that, as soon as you come out of school and start your professional career, you have to start a highfalutin, big position jobs.

Don’t forget, when you’re young, you can learn a lot just by being there. Don’t focus too much on the exact job and what you’re doing. You’re learning a lot just by being there.

Absorb everything you can.


Tell Us:

When you got your first job, did you absorb everything you could in that situation? What did you learn? Share with us in the comments section below.


The above is an excerpt from Jasbina’s interview with Sheila Dharmarajan.

The entire interview transcript is at: Sheila Dharmarajan Interview – A Career in Private Equity, Investment Banking & Business Media Reporting

Listen to the entire interview on: Intersections Match Talk Radio – Jasbina’s Lifestyle Show

Listen to the entire interview on Blog Talk Radio: A Career in Private Equity, Investment Banking & Business Media Reporting

Listen to the entire interview on iTunes