Interview with Hansini Sharma

1. How has your career path changed up until now?
My career path has been a journey; I started my career at Sabre, a travel technology company based in Southlake, TX. I wish I could say I had this vision of a career in travel, but the reality is that I kind of fell into the industry. When I was in college, I only applied to jobs that didn’t require a cover letter. Fast forward a couple months and two other students declining their offers, I got mine. Sabre gave me a home where I could try different things and be a member of different teams across the organization. Ultimately I left to pursue my MBA at Stern, and after that I went right back into travel after unsuccessful attempts to pivot into investment banking. The first two years after business school I worked for two different travel tech companies, and they weren’t quite the right fit; I didn’t find the work to be strategic, and the cultural fit wasn’t right for me. Ultimately I ended up at Acquis Consulting Group, an experience that has changed my life for the better. In my 6 or so years here, I have had the opportunity to work on projects ranging from change management to technology implementations to procurement strategy, all the way to building and leading my own practice, Corporate Travel. My journey has been a series of being in the right place at the right time, a strong dose of luck, guidance from the most amazing mentors, and sheer hard work.

2. Did you have a mentor who helped you get to where you are now? If so, what would you say is the most important thing you learned from your mentor?
I am lucky to have a few mentors who have been transformative to my life both personally and professionally, but the people who have inspired me most are my parents. My dad told me many years ago (and continues to remind me) of this: luck is preparation for an opportunity; the harder you work, the more luck will find you. I believe this is a quote from a roman philosopher, but the context he shared this with is important. He emphasized that I’m in control of my path, not necessarily the specific titles or salaries, but how I manage the situations I am in. It’s in my control to make the best of every opportunity I am given, how I react or perceive a particular situation, and how much I choose to gain from the roles I take on. If I work through them strategically and with a positive mindset, I’m likely going to find myself in positions where I am getting a seat at the tables I want to be sitting at.

3. What advice would you give to those pursuing their first business venture?
Don’t let your emotion overtake the practicality of your decision making. Work is personal, I won’t deny that, but when someone you trust tells you that there is an opportunity to improve or that you might be exposing yourself to a risk, know when to accept the feedback. You are not your business, but your business needs you to be able to make sound and logical decisions for it to grow.

4. Why did you decide to become a mentor/ investor for the Hospitality Innovation Hub Incubator?
My entire career has been in travel and hospitality, and this space is desperate for new ideas and new mindsets. The Hospitality Innovation Hub Incubator is the perfect place for the brilliant minds at NYU to come up with ideas that could transform the industry as we know it. I’m inspired and excited by the energy the students bring to their work; it’s so promising and exhilarating to see what this next generation of future leaders is passionate about.

5. What book are you currently reading?
The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women by Valerie Young

Hansini Sharma