Life at Equity Methods: Sri

Sri Vaidhiyanathan Uma

An Interview with Sri Vaidhiyanathan Uma 

Data Scientist & Senior Consultant, Financial Reporting Services at Equity Methods 

During my college days, I completed a few internships in traditional management consulting and investment banking. Neither field clicked with me. But when I learned about Equity Methods at a career fair, it sounded super interesting. So I applied, and here I am.

I wear two hats in my work: data science and consulting. My work involves a lot of analysis, project management, and client communication. I work with various clients, from large multinationals to smaller, privately held companies.

Equity Methods offers a lot of freedom in shaping your trajectory. That’s how I built my experience in employee stock purchase plans or ESPPs, programs that let employees buy their company’s stock at a discount. I developed an interest in ESPPs, and the firm encouraged me to pursue it rather than stick to my lane.

Although ESPPs can be challenging to develop, it’s rewarding to see what a well-designed program can do. Quite a few have delivered outsized value to our client’s employees. A couple of years ago, I worked on an ESPP where employees could buy stock in their company for $20 a share. Now that stock is worth $100 a share!

I’ve also taken on larger, more complex engagements. One was to help a client design the best mix of instruments, like stock options and performance-based awards, for their equity compensation program. A big part of that challenge is defining “best.” Best in retaining the most employees or costing the least to the company. Then there’s the impact of different groups of employees, say, those who are retirement-eligible versus those who are not. We did a lot of scenario modeling to help our client decide.

There are two essential ingredients to success at Equity Methods. The first is curiosity. It would help if you were open to discovery because you’ll occasionally find yourself in entirely new territory—sometimes so new that nobody in the industry has ever tackled it. The second ingredient is resilience. At some point, you’re going to stumble. That is expected. The ones who succeed are those who can learn from their failures and move on. Often the most challenging learning experience turns into a personal strength.

Along similar lines, be open to asking questions. You can easily approach someone more senior than you and ask how things work. They’re more than happy to help. One of the first things that struck me was how empathetic the Equity Methods culture is to our clients and internal employees. The support and flexibility I’ve gotten since becoming a dad have been outstanding.

Our location in Arizona stands out to me too. I’m from India, specifically Chennai and Mumbai, very densely populated cities where space is at a premium. Our housing was so tight that when I was in high school, my parents handed me an iPad—I was a voracious reader—and said, “You’re getting e-books from now on.” Books had taken over the house. I love all the space here! You can see the sunrises and sunsets. And it’s all quite beautiful.

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