The Secret to Her Success
The life of a wealth advisor has its ups and downs. Ironically, it is for those ups and downs that an advisor must prepare their clients.
The not-so-secret secret to success for Radhika Mehta-Sharan, (M.B.A. ’02), senior vice president at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, is diving deeper with her clients—understanding them as individuals with unique and complex intricacies. Mehta-Sharan is a CFA charter holder and holds Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA), Certified Financial Planner (CFP), and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC) designations. She credits New York Tech for preparing her for the role of being a wealth advisor who is recognized by Forbes.
Born in New Delhi, India, Mehta-Sharan came to the United States in 1998 after earning her bachelor’s degree from Delhi University. She was always interested in finance, and knew Wall Street was the place to be if she wanted to be the best. Mehta-Sharan cold-called and applied for various financial firms. Her persistence paid off. “After nine interviews with Merrill Lynch, I got a call that there was an associate position open,” she says. “I was hired on the spot.”
Since joining Merrill Lynch in 2000, Mehta-Sharan founded MS & Associates , a private wealth advisory group within the company, where she and her team focus on executing investment management plans, developing retirement planning strategies, designing diversified portfolios, and producing optimized insurance for their clients.
“At New York Tech, I had professors who were in the industry. I also had small class sizes and a faculty that taught towards the goal of preparing you to succeed,” she says. Mehta-Sharan sat down with The Box to talk about her career and what it is like to be on the School of Management’s Business Advisory Board.
You have been in the business through the financial downturns of the dot-com bust, the housing crisis, and the pandemic. What have you learned?
The most rewarding lesson I have learned from such upheavals is that tough times and volatility are great indicators of true leadership. Anyone can be a leader when it’s sunny times and great weather, but true leadership is about being a leader through times of uncertainty—that is the indicator. Times of uncertainty for many are also times of tremendous opportunity for innate leaders who assume the responsibility of helping others.
Was there a project or course that stood out to you at New York Tech?
My final project for the M.B.A. course was about a cruise ship and the feasibility of owning one versus not. When thinking deeply about this project, its lesson is simple and relevant. Life is about assessing choices, making hard decisions, managing the risk in those decisions, and accepting the sacrifices/liabilities. It was insightful to be able to come together with classmates, all from different walks of life, to create a team and jointly work on decision-making. The varied perspectives were all part of what made the project such an applicable learning experience.
Tell us about your position at Merrill Lynch.
I am a wealth management advisor. I manage money for high-net-worth families, corporate executives, female investors, medical professionals, business owners, and smaller institutions. I founded my team, MS & Associates, and we specialize in holistic financial planning. First, we begin with a deep understanding of the client, their values, and what is meaningful to them and their families. Then, we develop the appropriate strategies to help them accomplish those goals. Essentially, my team and I have created a disciplined process and we follow it with precision for each client we onboard. On a macro level, it is money management. On a granular level, our process revolves around money management with a very specific focus in mind that aligns with our clients’ goals they are wanting to accomplish with their wealth.
What made you want to be a wealth management advisor? What do you find exciting about it?
What attracted me to an advisor’s career is the exciting and important role we play in people’s lives. It is fulfilling to be able to help people succeed in their financial lives, which then liberates them to indulge in their personal lives, focusing on their families, careers, and pursuits of happiness.
What has it been like to be on the School of Management Business Advisory Board?
The Business Advisory Board at the School of Management is an exceptional confluence of successful alumni and leaders within the industry that come together for the unique cause of making our school better. I have enjoyed the hard work labored by everyone on the board to not only help the program get accredited but to also spread our institution’s name and influence on a global level. I am proud of New York Tech for making the valiant effort into the development of targeted programs and extracurricular education to enrich and prepare students for the challenges that lay ahead of them. The Business Advisory Board is making sure students are not just graduating, but graduating with the skill set that makes them marketable and immediately hirable. We are focused on creating future leaders in business. Having said that, it has been a fantastic journey. Though we are still very much on the path of progress, we have accomplished so much and that makes me very proud.