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Self-taught guitarist. Weekend adventurer. In honor of International Women’s Day, we’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to Pooja Subramanian. Pooja has successfully leveraged PwC’s international network and has continuously pushed for a larger role for women at the dealmaking table. As a roving Valuations Manager, she uses her innate curiosity and skill at analyzing data to unlock value for clients in the consumer markets and technology sectors.
Pooja grew up in Chennai, a city in southern India. “I’m grateful to have grown up in a culture that encourages curiosity and learning. These traits were strong with me from the beginning and I was able to nurture them with the help of my family.”
When Pooja was 17, she was offered a full scholarship to study at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. “That moment changed my life and set me on a course for travel. I was nervous to move to another continent at the time, but with my family’s encouragement and my curiosity to experience something completely new, I set about this adventure.” After graduation, she joined PwC’s Corporate Value Advisory group in Sydney. “This was my first exposure to the art and science of valuation.”
Pooja has long had a penchant for working with numbers. “From a young age, I was fascinated with numbers and chose to study finance and accounting in Australia. To me, valuations is like telling a story with numbers. It’s about bringing together corporate strategy, company financials and capital markets – which are the building blocks to your valuation story. When the global financial crisis hit in 2008, it became clear why valuations are so important, and also incredibly complex. It was fascinating from an academic perspective.”
When Pooja got married, her husband landed a job offer with
a company in San Francisco. “Since I had the advantage of the Firm’s international network, it was the opportunity to experience a fantastic new city, so I decided to move from Sydney to San Francisco. After almost 5 years on the west coast, my husband and I have now moved to New York City. It’s been quite an adventure!”
Pooja and her husband Vivek, who now also works at PwC, have enjoyed exploring the cities they have lived in. “Most things about our day-to-day life have changed every time we have moved to a new city — from road rules, to the local coffee shops, to people’s attitudes. While any change can be unsettling to begin with, we have met some amazing people along the way, and the journey has expanded our horizons and made us more adaptable to change. I now think of multiple cities as ‘home’.”
“When exploring new cities, the first thing that catches my eye is the people – their pace, their attitudes, their lifestyles. I love exploring what the locals do, especially trying out the favorite local restaurants and travelling to the nearby weekend getaways.”
“I have learned a little something from every city I have lived in. Sydney was my first exposure to living in the developed world. In San Francisco, I met people with amazing entrepreneurial spirit and the passion to change the world. I’m now excited to call New York City my new home and discover what it means to live in what some call the greatest city in the world!”
After spending an entire day immersed in numbers, Pooja unwinds with music. “When I was younger, I trained in classical dance and music. I lost touch with those creative outlets over the course of my different moves, but since arriving in New York, I’ve been teaching myself to play the guitar. It satisfies my love of learning and brings music back into my life.”
Being in Deals, it’s common for Pooja to be the only woman at the table. “There are several advantages to having a diverse workforce. Men and women often have different ways of approaching a problem and offering solutions. While gender is only one aspect to diversity, the message is the same across the board – if you have a group where everyone thinks the same way, you are likely to all come up with the same solution, which can limit innovation and creativity.”
Wanting to ensure that more women join and stay in historically male-dominated roles, Pooja created, developed and executed AWAREness Talks during her time in San Francisco. “I wanted a unique and dynamic event that reached women in a different way. I used the talks to celebrate women of the past, present and future and to give women a community in which to share support and advice. My hope is that we retain women in Deals by offering them a network of support that helps them stay engaged and happy with their work.”
To stay engaged, Pooja anchors into the problem solving aspect of the job and she looks to role models both near and far for inspiration. “I am particularly drawn to Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, as a role model. We grew up in the same city in India and have a lot of crossover with regard to our culture. There are some unique challenges to being a female from a conservative Indian household, and wanting to succeed in the workplace. Her story of humble beginnings in Chennai to becoming the CEO of one of the most iconic brands in the world is a true inspiration.”