Please tell us about yourself
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.
How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and unusual career?
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 (Bachelors of Applied Finance) 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.”
Tell us about your work
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.”
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.”
Who are your role models?
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.”
What are you doing currently?
Pooja worked with the valuations team in San Francisco focusing on technology, and is now working with the consumer markets valuations team in New York. “I see an exciting future for how technology, particularly e-commerce, and retail come together. Whether it’s Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, or Walmart’s acquisition of Jet.com, the two sectors are becoming inextricably linked. I am excited to be able to leverage my experiences in both sectors, and bring that to our clients.”