Seema Mody joined CNBC in July 2011 as a reporter.
Previously, Mody was an anchor and reporter at CNBC-TV18 in Mumbai, India. She co-anchored two programs for the station, “Power Breakfast” and “After the Bell,” as well as co-produced and anchored special features on “Mumbai Fashion Week” and “Tech Toyz.” While at CNBC-TV18, Mody also reported private equity deals and M&A activity across India exclusively interviewing global private equity heads including CEO/President of Warburg Pincus, Chip Kaye. She also covered the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. Mody provided India market updates on CNBC World’s “Capital Connection” and “Cash Flow” daily.
Prior to joining CNBC-TV18, Mody worked at Accenture Consulting in their Strategy and Supply Chain practice where she focused on the life sciences space.
Mody is a graduate of the University of Washington in Seattle where she holds a B.S. in Biological Sciences. During her freshman year, she co-authored and published a research paper on the efficiency of medical heart valves for the American Heart Journal.
We chatted with this South Asian American star who is quickly moving up the ranks at CNBC. We hope to continue seeing much more of Seema and a possible interview with fellow South Asian American, Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsi.
I would say Narayana Murthy, head of Infosys. What he did with Infosys really changed the way India was perceived by other countries in 2004. He was and is an entrepreneurial leader. I would Love, Love to interview him.
ASIANCE: Where did you grow up? You seem to be interested in science, business and fashion. How did you land into the business world? CNBC?
Seema: I grew up in Oregon, born and raised in Portland! I went to the University of Washington where I majored in Biology but I took a lot of Business classes on the side. I always had an interest in the financial world. I was super involved in school. I was just one of those dorks! I was very involved with extracurricular activities. I was also involved with Indian Classical Dance. I went through a lot of competitions in college.
During my Junior year at college, I went to India. That was my first experience working in India. I worked at Biocon, which is a biotech firm in Bangalore, India. That was the most amazing experience because it opened my eyes to how India is becoming this emerging Asian superpower. Before that, I had gone to India at least once a year with my family but this was a different experience. It was 2006, I was working by myself in India. This was a time where India was starting to be recognized as an up and coming emerging power. So it was really fun to be there at that time.
After college, I worked at Accenture Consulting where I focused more on strategy and supply chain. I focused on the Healthcare and Life Sciences area as well as Media. I was a Biology major however I used my summer internships to focus on the business side of science. Consulting was a great way to combine both of my interests.
There is a major shake up in one of India’s most respected private equity funds as four managing directors at Sequoia Capital are set to exit to set up their own fund, reports CNBC-TV18’s Seema Mody
ASIANCE: Do you visit India often?
Seema: I have friends and extended family there. After Accenture, I still had that India itch. I knew I wanted to do something in India. I had been grooming some of my relationships in India for awhile. After that summer internship, I wanted to come back and work full time but I didn’t know at what capacity. After spending two years with Accenture, I decided to go off to India and interview with various firms and that’s how I learned about the opportunity with CNBC TV18 out in Mumbai, India.
ASIANCE: How did you come back to New York?
Seema: I came in as an anchor/reporter at CNBC-TV18. I was working there for about a year and half, thoroughly enjoying my experience. It was a really fun experience. Somehow this opportunity fell into my lap. So I found my way back here.
ASIANCE: Is there anything that makes you nervous?
Seema: It’s interesting. As a journalist, your work is determined by the inflow of news. While you might have a broad view on how the stock market might open based off the futures and macro headlines of Europe the night before, you still can never be too sure. Your preparation is mostly done on the go as news breaks. That’s the most challenging and exciting part of this job. You constantly have to stay on top of all the news, whether it be the European debt crisis, the unemployment numbers in the US or earnings from tech heavyweights like Apple or Intel.
I think it’s being able to understand how these factors are impacting the market and to conduct your analysis on the go. You’re not given time to sit down on the set for the hours before you report.
These are market hours so you really have to be able to do things in a short amount of time. I find it to be exciting!
ASIANCE: What’s the easiest?
Seema: I think I’m too early in my career, that nothing is too easy at this point. Every day is exciting and challenging.
ASIANCE: Regarding India, is there any person or business head that you would like to interview of make the US viewers more aware of?
Seema: That’s a really good question. I would say Narayana Murthy, head of Infosys. What he did with Infosys really changed the way India was perceived by other countries in 2004. He was and is an entrepreneurial leader. He built Infosys during a time when India was starting to break away from being just, a third world country. I would Love, Love to interview him. I think he’s fascinating and what he has done for India has played such a large role in where India is positioned today.
Of course, even the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh. He has had to deal with so much over the last few years as India has developed, evolved and grown into this emerging market. It would be an amazing experience to speak to him about the ups and downs India has had to face over the last couple of years.
Company Chief Financial Officer (CFO) V Balakrishnan tells NDTV, how Infosys would remember Narayan Murthy, who nurtured it from a 10,000-rupee company in 1981 to the multi-billion dollar Company it is today.
Infosys Chairman on what it takes to be a Leader
ASIANCE: How about Indra, CEO of Pepsi?
Seema: Oh yeah that’s a good one! For sure! She’s done so much for Pepsi and has a very interesting background. I have a lot of respect for what she’s been able to do the consumer goods industry. She’s transitioned the image of Pepsi and made it into a staple. Interviewing her would be an honor.
ASIANCE: What do you think of the Occupy Wall Street protests? Any clashes with the protestors?
Seema: I do see them because I live in Manhattan. I feel for the Occupy Wall Street protestors. It’s a tough time in America and I understand their position and what they are trying to achieve. What’s wonderful about this country is you’re allowed to advocate and voice your opinion. I think that’s what has really been shown here with Occupy Wall Street. It is one of the plus points about being in America. This could never have happen if it was perhaps China.
ASIANCE: Is there another female business journalist that you admire? Anyone else whose career you followed?
Seema: Finance, I think Maria Bartiromo. She’s amazing. I have a lot of respect for what she’s done and the platform she’s created for herself and for CNBC. I really respect their work. The quality of the projects they work on is just amazing. I think they have done really good job in setting an example for female journalists, like myself, who are still in the process of carving their niche.
ASIANCE: Did you ever meet any of them?
Seema: I haven’t yet but I hope to since they are in New York City
Start grooming your relationships now. Take classes on the side if this is something you really want to be doing. Speak to anyone who is willing to hear you out.
ASIANCE: Are you involved in the market yourself?
Seema: I’m not personally invested. We’re not allowed to do so. As a financial journalist, you naturally feel for investors right now given the type of volatility in the markets.
ASIANCE: It’s crazy! In the morning, you could be down 300 but at the end of the day, you could be up 200. You really can’t call it anymore.
Seema: You really can’t and it’s so funny, I joined during a time where we saw the highest volatility since 2008. It was such an interesting time to join the channel because we were conducting evening coverage at least three times a week, which is highly unusual. We only do that during crisis time. Covering the European Debt Crisis and the volatility in the US markets has been such a good learning experience from a financial journalist perspective. I’ve learned so much in the last three months.
ASIANCE: What would you tell other girls who would love to do what you’re doing? How should they break into the business?
Seema: Start grooming your relationships now. Take classes on the side if this is something you really want to be doing. Speak to anyone who is willing to hear you out. We get into this habit of not disclosing our dreams and career ambitions because we are unsure if they are going to work out. I would say take the risk. You never who will be able to help or provide constructive feedback.
ASIANCE: What is the hardest part of your job? What is the easiest? Is there a show or job at CNBC that you would love to move into?
Seema: I’m just looking forward to getting better at what I do. I’m emerging myself in the financial community in New York City, really getting deep into the details of my analysis. As long as you focus on doing the best in front of you, everything else will come in time…and that includes opportunities.
ASIANCE: Do you ever get nervous while you are on television at all?
Seema: I think there is always that initial level of nervousness. I’d like to think that not as much anymore but we always have our moments of slip ups. You just have to learn how to recover.
ASIANCE: Were you ever intimidated by anyone? Why?
Seema: I don’t think so. If anything, I feel lucky that I’m able to interact with the financial community and traders on Wall Street. CNBC gives us that platform to interact with the very best.