Saira from the USA, business founder and finance expert
From: California, USA
Studied: MPhil, Management Studies at the University of Cambridge, Judge Business School
Now: Managing Partner at Life Sciences Advisory, a Silicon Valley advisory firm
Why did you choose to study in the UK?
Given my interest in finance and medical innovation, I wanted to pursue an advanced degree with an international perspective alongside classic academics. The graduate education system in the UK provides for both.
I believe it is important for students to travel outside of their country to participate in and contribute to an evolving global education system.
What are your best memories from the UK?
Cambridge instantly felt like home. The scenery is gorgeous and the history is inspiring.
Saira, right, with friends from Cambridge on her wedding day (Photo credit ©Saira Ramasastry)
My best memories are of the lasting friendships. Many of my Cambridge friends travelled to San Francisco for my wedding! We have stayed in contact – even after 17 years.
My Christ’s College scarf from 1998 is still an important part of my winter wardrobe!
Did you do any paid or voluntary work while living in the UK?
Prior to Cambridge, I was an investment banking analyst at Wasserstein Perella in the US. I continued to work for the company in the London office during my graduate studies.
What did you do after graduating?
I had the opportunity to help establish the global healthcare investment banking division at Merrill Lynch & Co. It was an exciting opportunity to re-enter investment banking while building a financial franchise.
How did your UK studies help you take those first career steps?
Cambridge positions its students to think global and think bold, and also provides a strong support system for students taking their first career steps. With the university’s network, support and strong academics, I was able to pursue opportunities that may not have been available had I stayed in the US.
Saira, left, with her family (Photo credit ©Saira Ramasastry)
How do you feel your country has benefited from the knowledge and experience you've gained?
I can only hope that looking at business with moral and global concerns in mind will have a benefit. In addition to excellent academics and a global network, Cambridge instils an important sense of business ethics and world community in its students.
I have valued that perspective through my career and personal life. Doing good and doing well are not mutually exclusive.
How often do you return to the UK?
I spend a great deal of time in the UK. I serve as an advisor for Prime Minister David Cameron’s dementia legacy initiatives (the G8 Dementia Summit, and World Dementia Council) which brings me to London for an important reason. Also, London and Cambridge have become important healthcare innovation clusters.
I am still in contact with many of my friends from the Cambridge Judge Business School, and am honoured to serve on the Alumni Advisory Council.
What's your advice to anyone in your country today who is considering studying in the UK?
Studying in the UK is such a special opportunity. Savor your time! And while your classroom may be in the UK, try to see how it is truly part of a global academic program.