Why we do what we do has been saved
Why we do what we do
Meet Dhruva Bharadwaj
Faces of Deloitte Advisory is a series of true stories that explore the personal history of our practitioners, highlighting key experiences that defined their values and explaining why they do what they do. In this story, Dhruva describes the deep passion he has for building relationships by helping others.
I was born and raised in Bangalore, India in a small, close-knit family comprised of my mom, dad, and brother. My dad was a rocket scientist, who worked for the India space program for more than 40 years. And my mom was a banker, who eventually quit so she could work for a non-profit.
From a young age, I always loved problem solving and public speaking. I had a passion for debating, a deep interest in regulatory affairs, and a desire to help people. I was an avid debater and won several debate competitions for my high school. Solving problems for people excited me and was perhaps a result of a deeply rooted belief that our actions should always benefit others. So, of the career choices that I was exposed to at that time, law spoke to me the most above others, and attending law school seemed like a logical next step.
For most of my time at law school, I always assumed I would work in a court room doing litigation; but as they say, life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. In my final year of law school, I started interviewing at law firms but I wasn’t having any success in my job search. In my head I remember thinking, “Oh my god, what is going to happen to me?”
Fortunately, right at that time, Deloitte was expanding its advisory practice in Hyderabad to ramp up data privacy. I was excited for the opportunity, but at the same time questioned if this was really what I wanted to be doing.
Those hesitations quickly went away once I started working with the people who would become some of my greatest mentors. From day one, several people took me under their wings to ensure my success. Then, once I started working with clients and doing all the cool things we get to do, I was hooked. I knew this was what excited me and was exactly what I wanted to be doing.
This was all happening back in 2011-12, right at the time big companies were having to navigate regulatory complexities related to data privacy. It was so exciting to be in a burgeoning field with all kinds of potential—and it fit so well with the fact that I had a law degree and could understand all the changing regulations.
But after a few years of working, I started to realize that I had more to learn about the business side of things. I felt like getting an MBA would help me reach the next level in my career.
Applying to business school wasn’t easy. The first year I applied, I faced rejection after rejection. So, I kept working hard to improve my GMAT score and the next year I was accepted at Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. Throughout this difficult period, my dad was my greatest cheerleader and kept me motivated. My leaders at Deloitte were equally encouraging and I knew I aspired to be like them someday as a leader in the organization.
Having such great support and identifying these goals made the difficult times easier. Thanks to the support of my team, I was even able to take a sabbatical to make sure I could prepare properly for my next chapter.
Though leaving my family in India was difficult, I knew coming to the United States was a natural transition for me. I was already working with US-based clients and knew, after my MBA, that I wanted to continue to foster those relationships and make an impact that matters for my clients. It was the same time I met my best friend (and now wife), who grew up in the United States and became a natural guide to help me through the transition.
As soon as I finished my MBA, I moved to Seattle and got right to work. It was difficult at first to learn how to foster those relationships in person and make sure I was networking with the right people. But, despite any challenges, I always felt supported by Deloitte and by my colleagues.
Living for others and inspiring those to come
I strive to pass on the support I receive internally at Deloitte to my external clients every day. This is something that has been engrained in me since I was a child—something my mom inspired me to do through her selfless actions going to work at a non-profit. She always told us to make sure that we are beneficial to society in one way or another. And that’s what client service is all about—helping others and serving their biggest needs.
At the end of the day, we get to work with real people with real problems—that I get the opportunity to tackle. It is so satisfying when, at the end of a project, a client comes to you and says thank you for doing what you did.
But none of this can be accomplished without a great team. And to make a great team, I think every individual needs to be motivated to do their very best. I do everything I can to create a culture of collaboration, one where every team member feels comfortable using their voice. And it takes an empathetic leader to make people feel that way.
When I started at Deloitte, I feel like my leadership style was just focused on getting things done. Now, I take a much more empathetic approach. I want every member of my team to feel the support that I feel every day from my own leaders. In fact, for every project I lead, I set up periodic happy hours for the team, even if they are virtual. I want my team to know that I don’t just care about getting the work done, I care about them as people, too. Because everyone has hobbies that motivate them or de-stress them outside of work.
For me, I love to cook—cooking is such a great way for me to decompress at the end of the day. To keep me occupied during the pandemic, I even created an social media account to showcase the food I make.
It’s so important to make relationships on your team and with your clients—because at the end of the day we are all human beings, balancing multiple things, and managing our careers. Sometimes I wish I could go back and tell my younger self that my career is a marathon not a sprint—one where I continue to learn, grow, and help others, every single day. I hope to inspire others to have that same mentality.
Get in touch
Manager | Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory
Dhruva is a Manager in the Risk Advisory practice at Deloitte serving some of our largest Consumer clients. He has over 8 years’ experience in internal controls and compliance, IT assurance, cyber risk strategy, and data privacy. Dhruva has worked with clients extensively helping evaluate and improve risk management programs that support IT and business strategies. Outside client service, Dhruva is also actively involved in Deloitte’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion initiatives. Dhruva holds an MBA in Strategic Business Management from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.