Love took her overseas and there she built a family, pursued adventure, and found career satisfaction. Neha Shah Groeber ‘01, the Outstanding Senior and Valedictorian for her class, attended Washington University in St. Louis and received her MBA from Harvard Business School. We asked Neha to answer a few questions for our latest alumni spotlight:
How did you come to live overseas?
Love! My German husband and I met after undergrad while we were both working in Chicago. A few years later, while we were both pursuing our MBAs, he received an exciting job opportunity in Europe so we decided to make the move – first to London for 4.5 years, and we’ve been in Munich for over 3 years now.
What do you do with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and how did you come to work with them?
We decided to make the move to Europe just as I started my MBA, so I focused on opportunities in the region and secured a summer internship with BCG’s London office that turned into a full-time offer once I graduated. I started with BCG’s traditional consulting track, focused on strategy work for financial services and consumer companies. Once I became a manager I narrowed my focus to retailers, e.g., grocery stores, hardware stores, specialty retailers, etc. When we decided to move from London to Munich, I transferred out of client-facing work to an internal role as “COO” for our retail sector, supporting our retail leadership team with various internal strategy, business development, IP and people initiatives.
What do you enjoy most about your career in the consulting and financial industry?
This may sound goofy – but definitely the people! When you spend so many hours at work, it’s important to surround yourself with people that have the right personal and professional fit. I have many colleagues that turned into friends from my time at both JPMorgan and BCG. Working with incredibly intelligent people on high-value, high-impact projects for some of the world’s most respected companies and governments is incredibly rewarding.
What do you enjoy most about living internationally?
Every day is an adventure – which can be a good or bad thing – but it definitely keeps life interesting. One of the best things has been having such easy access to travel; being a short flight or reasonable drive away from almost any European location. And also the people you meet along the way. I’m 99.9% sure that if I had stayed in Chicago or elsewhere in the US, my closest friends wouldn’t be the melting pot of folks they are today, and that variety brings a new/different/exciting perspective to my own life.
How did Shorecrest prepare you for life outside of the classroom?
Great teachers taught me how to learn quickly, think fast, and ask questions to better my understanding – all lessons that have served me well both professionally and personally. Having a well-rounded curriculum and set of extra-curricular activities taught me how to balance several things at once, something that’s crucial both during university years and then again once you start to balance work and family life. I love that the school encourages more than only academics... being “book smart” is not enough (and can even be a bit boring!) People like to be surrounded by others who can talk about more than just work, and I’m grateful for the opportunities I had at Shorecrest to build a strong academic foundation while also finding pockets of passion in sports and the arts.
What advice do you have for graduating Shorecrest classes?
2 things: Go abroad! I think I’ve said this in other Shorecrest speeches/forums as well. Whether it be medium/long term like studying or working abroad, or taking advantage of short-term travel opportunities, it’s always exciting (and appropriately humbling) to understand more about our world and its people.
And, if you can, try to study something that would be difficult to learn later in life. If I could do it again, I would pursue a STEM topic during my undergraduate years and save business education for an MBA down the road. I think business topics are ones that are easier to learn about at any time, while trying to become a biomedical engineer after your late 20’s is not usually feasible. I’m happy with the career I have chosen and how things have turned out for me, but as the world changes I think different skills will lead to success for the next generation.