No matter what career you will ever have, you will always have some element of the business world impacting your actions.
Puja Sachdev ('09, MSBA) is a highly sought-after attorney practicing family law in San Diego, but – to the person who is not a legal expert – it might be a bit of a mystery as to why a degree specializing in financial and tax planning would be so critical to her practice.
Turns out, there were two very important reason Sachdev's MSBA degree paid off for her: First, when she earned her MSBA (Master's of Science in Business Administration) in 2009, she had already been a licensed attorney for two years, but she longed to open her own practice. "Many lawyers fail at running their own firm because they may be good attorneys, but they are not financially savvy business owners," she said. "Before I started my own practice, I prepared a three-year business plan. Most attorneys don't take the time to do this because they'd rather focus on the law and not the business."
Secondly, since Sachdev practices family law, "the in-depth knowledge of finance and tax laws helps tremendously when reviewing business documents and working with financial experts who conduct valuations of assets that need to be divided," she said. "I was the first family law attorney in San Diego to obtain the designation of Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, which is primarily held by financial professionals."
I was the first family law attorney in San Diego to obtain the designation of Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, which is primarily held by financial professionals.
While she is now well-established in her law practice, Sachdev didn't set out to be an attorney. Born in Bangalore, India and moving to the U.S. with her family at the age of three, she completed her bachelor's degree as a dual major in marketing and management. After graduation, she became a research analyst for Franklin Templeton Investments, but soon realized that she wanted the opportunity to work with people and made the decision to become an attorney. She attended law school in San Diego and became a California licensed attorney in June 2007. Two months later, she embarked on her MSBA at San Diego State University and was awarded her degree in December of 2009.
In 2011, Sachdev set up her own practice and she's become a legal powerhouse ever since. After having met the rigorous testing, experience and educational requirements, she was licensed by the California State Bar as a certified family law specialist in May 2013. Also in 2013, she received numerous recognitions for her work in family law, including being named Top 40 Under 40 by San Diego Metro Magazine and as the San Diego Daily Transcript's Top Attorney for Family Law. In addition, Sachdev has been honored among the Top Young Attorneys by The San Diego Daily Transcript in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Sachdev's willingness to become an expert in finance and taxation, a field not normally pursued by attorneys, has helped her to create a unique and in-demand role for her specialized knowledge. Having done that, she recommends that today's SDSU students blaze a similar trail by finding talent that gets them noticed. "In today's competitive job market, there is little room for those who blend in," she said. "To stand out, find a niche in your field that really interests you and pursue it."
In today's competitive job market, there is little room for those who blend in. To stand out, find a niche in your field that really interests you and pursue it.