Kelley Grad and Former McKinsey Consultant Shares Career Success Tips!

Sash Sreetharan, 2013 Kelley Grad and former McKinsey consultant, shares how he chose his career, favorite Kelley moments, and advice on how to be successful in your future career. Read his Bio below!

  1. What initially drew you to the Kelley School of Business?

Honestly, I grew up in Singapore and had never heard of Kelley until I applied. A friend of mine was at IU and spoke highly of the program.

  1. How did the experiences at Kelley contribute to your professional development and influence your career path? (e.g. internships, case competitions, professors, study abroad programs, student organizations)

The undergrad program at Kelley is very well thought out.

The mandatory 100/200 level classes created a strong foundation – I developed my business acumen and honestly, where would I be without those basic excel and accounting classes? Probably burning the midnight oil at work   and spending my weekends learning excel.

I-core served as an opportunity to holistically think about a business – I came out of it with greater appreciation for the less “glamorous” sides of business (e.g., supply chain management). After which I spent my last couple of years taking investment classes which were more specific to my career choice.

I was also a part of the Investment Banking Workshop which is probably the most envied program on Wall Street. Professor Haeberle has fostered a great pay it forward culture in the workshop. Today, along with alumni, he is able to prepare and annually place 50+ students in investment banking jobs. Remarkable. A few years ago I was one of those students and the program helped me get my first break –an internship at Goldman Sachs.

  1. What was your first job out of college and how did you land it?

I started my career as a Business Analyst at McKinsey’s Boston office – Interestingly I’d never considered a career in consulting but I tagged along with a couple friends to a McKinsey presentation. Found the work interesting and was fortunate that a couple of the alumni who worked at McKinsey were part of a student organization (Board of Aeons) that I belonged to. They set me up with an interview and the rest is history.

  1. How did you land your current job and what are your main responsibilities?

I currently work as an Associate at The Invus Group which is a $5BN family investment office in New York. I was reached out to by headhunters about the opportunity. Met the team – they were very thoughtful and grounded investors and I decided it was a great fit.

Our company partners with entrepreneurs to help grow their businesses and my two main responsibilities are evaluating businesses to determine which ones we’d like to partner with, and supporting our portfolio companies as they grow.

  1. What advice can you offer to current Kelley students who aren’t sure what professional direction they want to take in life?

I generally tell students (not just students, everyone) to follow their passions and that will eventually lead to success (and more importantly happiness). But I’ve increasingly realized many are unsure of their passions. It’s not alarming at all – college is meant to be an environment where you discover yourself. Given that, if a student is remotely interested in a space I’d suggest reading more about it. If you can’t read about the topic for an hour without getting bored, it’s simply not for you. If you’re genuinely interested in a topic, the next step would be reaching out to alumni in the space (LinkedIn makes this very easy). Many of us have romanticized views of certain jobs and speaking with someone who actually lives it can be extremely insightful and revealing. Additionally, if you impress them, they could help you land that internship/job.

  1. What advice would you give to current Kelley students on how to be successful in their careers?

Follow your passions and keep an open mind.

Follow your passions: We spend more than half of our awake hours at work and you ought to do something that excites you! Hard work will get you far but not as far as someone who doesn’t even consider it work.

Keep an open mind: Science and technology are catalysts of change and anyone set in their ways will soon be dinosaurs. In order to be successful you’ve got to evolve with the times –Learn, unlearn and relearn.

  1. If you could grab lunch tomorrow with any of your Kelley professors, who would it be and why?

It’d have to be either Prof. Geoff Sprinkle or Prof. David Haeberle.

Students will always find it easier to like professors who offer an easy A. Who doesn’t love the GPA boosters?? But Prof.  Sprinkle’s honors managerial accounting class was among the harder classes in Kelley and yet I haven’t met someone who isn’t a fan. He has a warmth and genuineness that is very rare. He truly cares about his students and it comes across.

Prof. Haeberle – Without him, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today (professionally). And he’s the only person I can say that about. His Investment Banking Workshop gave me my opportunity.

  1. What do you know now that you wish you would have known when you were an undergraduate?

When I was at Kelley there was cultural pressure (from my peers not the Kelley staff) to add an Accounting major if you’re interested in pursuing finance – the rationale being it’s only a few extra classes. While I agree that it does keep your options open (and appreciate the optimization of majors to classes taken), I think extra majors are overhyped. It sounds cool but it really doesn’t add much value. I’m constantly in awe of friends with a deep understanding of their field and have noticed them fast-track to senior roles. Maybe students further explore the topics they’re excited by rather than majoring in everything under the sun?

  1. What do you do for fun?

I’m a martial arts aficionado – I train Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Appreciate a good game of poker as well.

By Carol Maldonado
Carol Maldonado Career Coach Carol Maldonado