Rita Kakati Shah
- Mathematics & Management, 2001
Rita Kakati-Shah is the Founder and CEO of Uma, a strategic diversity and inclusion coaching, consultancy and training platform, that empowers confidence, leadership and resilience in women and minorities around the world. Rita is also a Distinguished Alumna of King’s College London, and has won many international awards in recognition of her work as a business leader, entrepreneur and pioneer in empowering women and girls, youth development and diversity and inclusion.
Rita started her career on the equities trading floor of Goldman Sachs in London where she spent a decade before transitioning into the CNS clinical trials and drug development industry. She is also a frequent media contributor, author and advisor to Fortune 500 companies, serving on multiple boards and committees around the world.
Describe your career journey from being a student at King’s to being in your current role.
During my time at King’s, I was a Summer Analyst on the equities trading floor at Goldman Sachs. This led to the start of a 10 year career at the firm after I graduated. I then transitioned into the healthcare industry, led business development for a CNS clinical trials service provider, relocated to New York City, then took a career break to raise my children. Having witnessed the difficulties faced when resuming a professional career, I started my own business, Uma, to empower individuals looking to return to work after a career break. With a presence in San Francisco, London and New York, our community grows every day.
What’s the one thing you enjoy most about your current role?
Being an entrepreneur means you are constantly creating new concepts and ideas. Combine that with also being the boss, now you can shape the entire direction and philosophy of your company. Through our platform we have created a unique experience for our members where they are not only connected with job experiences across industries, but build confidence, resilience and the fighting spirit to progress in their new journeys ahead. Nothing beats the feeling of seeing the actual difference you have made to a person’s life.
What have been your biggest achievements in business and your career so far?
During my time at Goldman Sachs, I was a recipient of the prestigious Excellence in Citizenship and Diversity Award. It was a true honour and a great opportunity to meet senior leadership at the firm who were such role models in my career. After starting Uma, I was honoured by the United Nations at the Global Sourcing Council’s 3S Awards for being a socially conscious business that positively impacts people’s lives. Now my business is regularly featured in entrepreneurial, business and lifestyle publications across the world as a thought leader and role model to others.
How did your time at King’s help you with your career journey?
I have to thank King’s for my introduction into investment banking. I studied Maths and Management and my business school tutor at the time, Jane Raybould, played a very significant role in helping me decide which direction to take. The resources, countless hours of advice and pep talks were truly invaluable resources.
What is the best piece of advice you have for current King’s Business School students on achieving success in their careers?
Success isn’t just handed to you on a plate, it comes after much perseverance and dedication. First and foremost you have to be passionate about what you want to do. Once you feel that buzz, that pull toward a certain field or company, you need to go all in. By that I mean doing your research, attending as many networking or career events as you can and meeting prospective employers for coffees.