Nirusha Shetty has always been ahead of the curve. Within a year of joining one of her first jobs, Nirusha contributed two product ideas which generated $500,000 in revenue to a global company. After an illustrious early career, Shetty went on to be the youngest person in her MBA program at the National University of Singapore. And now, only five years into her career, Shetty is a senior implementation specialist developing digital solutions at Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
But it hasn’t been easy. Nirusha shared how she overcame stereotypes and gender bias that made her coworkers and classmates devalue her contributions. Then, she shared why she has made BCG her next career move, and gave us her best career advice for young women who want to follow in her footsteps.
Fairygodboss of the Week: Nirusha Shetty
Senior Implementation specialist, Boston Consulting Group
Tell us a little about your career. How did you get to where you are now?
I got a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, then worked in product management launching healthcare mobile apps for the Asian-Pacific region. After a few years in that field, I decided to pursue an MBA. While working on my MBA, I did product and strategy internships with Apple and Dell in Singapore.
Throughout my short career, even though I was in strategic business roles, I made sure to develop skills in multiple coding languages. My experience working for global clients — along with my mix of technology skills — led me to Boston Consulting Group in Munich, where I help to solve our clients’ problems with digital solutions.
What is an accomplishment that you are proud of?
I joined Bosch at the beginning of my career, and within a year of joining, I volunteered to take up pre-sales and product ideation while simultaneously working in product development. Pre-sales and product ideation were completely new to me, and on top of that, this was the first time Bosch was entering the healthcare vertical in India.
Every day was a new learning experience in this entrepreneurial environment. However, by observing my seniors and self-learning online, I contributed to two product ideas which generated $500,000 in revenue. I was awarded best employee for my contribution. This entire experience taught me at a very early stage in my career to get out of my comfort zone and test new waters whenever the opportunity arises.
What is a challenge that you've faced and overcome?
One challenge that I had to overcome in my professional life was other people’s perception of me. When I was a product developer in a male-dominated engineering company, the public perception was that I was not a technical person because of my gender. I successfully surpassed this stereotype by going the extra mile in my role. I let my work do the talking.
When I joined business school, I was the youngest candidate in the school. Again, the perception of some of my classmates was that I lacked experience. My ideas were rarely listened to. By the end of my program, I had made sure that my voice was heard by constantly participating in class and by participating in several global case competitions. I was eventually awarded best presenter in one of my classes, and I ended up representing APAC region in the prestigious Hult Competition.
Who is YOUR Fairygodboss and why?
My sister, Anusha. I look up to her because of her passion towards her job in technology. She works with fulfilment centers across Amazon India to improve the Amazon customer experience.
What do you do when you're not working?
I love reading fiction and non-fiction. I have read close to 150 books, and I’m hoping to finish more books this year (especially the Sapiens series). Otherwise, since I’ve just relocated to a new continent, exploring Europe is my newest hobby.
If you could have dinner with one famous person - dead or alive - who would it be?
I would want to have dinner with Indira Nooyi, the CEO of PepsiCo. Being a women in business and experiencing professional challenges every single day, I want to know what it was like to be in her shoes at a time where Indian women making domestic decisions was a big deal and Indian women making global business decisions was unheard of.
Lightning Round: What is your karaoke song?
Fix You by Coldplay.
Lightning Round: What is your favorite movie?
Pursuit of Happiness with Will Smith.
Lightning Round: What book would you bring with you on a desert island?
I would bring my Kindle with all my books.
Lightning Round: What is your shopping vice? What would you buy if you won the lottery?
Books, skincare products, and travel tickets.
What is the #1 career tip you'd like to share with other women who want to have successful careers like you?
Be open minded. Never miss an opportunity that you are excited about just because you think it’s tough to achieve or it looks or sounds complicated. There is no harm in trying. And most of the time, these exciting yet unsure opportunities end up being the best decisions you make.
Why do you love where you work?
BCG is not just an organization, but an educational institution in and of itself. It is amazing how much importance is given to learning and development at BCG. Every day you have something to learn; not only at work, but by attending insightful talks from the best minds at BCG.
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