Growing Up at Roundarch Isobar: the path from entry-level to Vice President

Saurab Bhargava and Sean Shelby

When Roundarch — now Roundarch Isobar and part of the Dentsu Aegis Network — spun out of Deloitte Consulting in 2000, Sean Shelby and I were just beginning our consulting careers.? The new venture offered an elite consulting experience in a smaller, more dynamic startup environment with a collegial culture.? We saw the opportunity to continue solving tough problems for the same caliber of clients, but we hoped to receive more responsibility, more individual attention, and more autonomy over our work.? We also wanted to work with people we admired, and to learn from leaders who demonstrated true commitment to building a great company and developing the careers of their people.? Even as entry-level consultants, ?C1s,? we believed that we had a real opportunity to grow our careers rapidly and eventually advance to senior roles that seemed very distant at the time ? manager, director, and even vice president.? It was an ambitious aspiration, given where we started, but it seemed worth the commitment.

We were recently both promoted to vice president.

Soon after being notified, it struck us that we were the first members of the Roundarch Isobar management team who had taken the entire journey from C1 to VP.? Reflecting on this experience, we recalled the many decision points over the years in which we had choose to remain at the company that launched our careers or to take a different path.

For me, I remember once entertaining the idea of pursuing an MBA degree as a more expedited path to attaining senior positions, feeling that to be a logical choice based on so many others who have successfully taken that step.? While it would mean a short time away from my career, I considered that in the long run it could result in my getting to very senior roles in a shorter time.? As I reviewed this option with friends and family ? including some leaders from Roundarch itself, who supported the choice even to the point of providing letters of recommendation ? I started to discover that the experiences I was getting at Roundarch and the attention I was receiving in my career would far outweigh the benefits of the MBA degree.? I chose to stay.

Sean had a similar choice to make.? After working on some very challenging projects, he decided to take some time to explore other passions and spent a year traveling in Africa and Asia.? When he returned to America, it was a difficult decision to also return to consulting, especially in a demanding setting like Roundarch Isobar.? Like in my case, when Sean weighed all the factors, it was the chance to work with people he admired and trusted that solidified his decision to come back.

In an industry where many people hop from company to company every 3-5 years, we know that our story of starting from the ground level of a company and ascending to the ranks of senior leadership of the same firm is very rare.? We also know that companies that make real investments in their people and take seriously the work of establishing a vibrant culture are equally rare.? Thirteen years ago, we hoped that Roundarch would be a place that values its talented employees and the contributions they make, and we bet our futures on that hope.? Our company has always held true to those values, even as we continue to grow, now as the US arm of Isobar, and today, we are thrilled to see that promise fulfilled.? We are proud to be the first members of the Roundarch Isobar management team that ?grew up? at the company.

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