Name: Shruti Ajitsaria
Position: Head of Fuse
Firm: Allen & Overy
Trained at: Allen & Overy
In Hot 100 for: Leading A&O’s landmark Fuse initiative. Read her full Hot 100 profile.
What’s your most vivid memory from being a trainee?
I absolutely loved being a trainee. I was involved in some very interesting deals and made some incredibly close friends, both in London and while on secondment in Paris.
My most vivid memories, however, revolve around the Allen & Overy bar in our old building in One New Change; it was situated at the exit of the building and I thoroughly enjoyed the tradition of starting the weekend with a few Friday night drinks with friends from my trainee intake and department.
Who has been the most influential person in your career? Why, and how have they helped you?
I can’t choose between two, both from my family. First, my husband’s ethos of treating his career as an integral part of his life and his firm belief in the importance of truly enjoying your job has always resonated with me.
Second, is my 7-year-old daughter, who learnt at school that you should never be afraid to try new things and that you should always try your hardest. I carry these three principles around with me in my daily working life and they have helped to guide the decisions that I make.
What was the best career decision you ever made, and why?
My best career decision was to qualify into A&O’s derivatives group. I have a genuine passion for the products and market, really enjoyed working with some fantastic clients and the department is full of like-minded, driven, interesting and fun colleagues.
From a personal perspective, it enabled me to work with David Benton for many years. He is a brilliant lawyer and one of the authorities on the derivatives market globally, but more importantly, I have always valued his honesty, humour and friendship. DAVID – DON’T GET A BIG HEAD…
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get to where you are/do the job you do?
I would always encourage people to try and make time for their interests outside of law; you never know where they might lead. My involvement in Fuse was sparked (excuse the pun) by the angel investing I do on Sunday evenings, and the start-up school program I completed at Google Campus during my maternity leave.
What work or career-related project or activity would you really like to do, but don’t have time for?
I always have several ideas on the go at any given time, but top of the list at the moment, is to use knowledge gained from completing the FT Diploma in Non-Executive Directorships, possibly by taking on a NED position.