Shashishekhar (Shashi) Don is the owner and founder of Conscientia Consulting, a boutique firm that serves as a consultant for early-stage funds and financial services startups.
Apart from running Conscientia, he is also currently working as a distinguished portfolio manager and CTO at a New York-based boutique Proprietary trading firm.
Shashi started forging his career path with a clear vision of what he wanted to become in the future. He graduated as Valedictorian during his undergraduate studies and earned two master’s degrees soon after that.
He studied Bachelor of Engineering in Polymer Science and Technology at the University of Mysore in Mysore, India, and graduated in 1998. After that, he pursued higher studies at the University of Akron in Ohio, where he got his master’s degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science and in Polymer Engineering.
During his 20-year career, Shashi has learned and mastered the skills needed to become a successful IT executive. He extensively helped his clients by developing the most reliable technology solutions that will help them leverage their assets in order to improve quality, productivity, and team building and management in their businesses.
Spending two decades working in the financial technology industry has made him an expert in hardware, software, networking, and system engineering. Shashi also made use of mature technologies to create innovative financial applications that produce significant improvements in systems with reduced implementation time.
In the past, he also made significant contributions and handled important roles in a number of respected companies.
Additionally, Shashi is CTO of another fund in which he is the key player for growing the firm from a couple of people to now employing more than 50 people across the world. They have established offices in Toronto, CN and Chennai, India. Shashi has been personally responsible in helping build teams at both the locations. Revenues have grown from hundreds of thousands to tens of millions. During this time, he has successfully built all necessary infrastructure from ground up including but not limited to back tester, big data warehouse, analytics and visualization framework, and trading system. Furthermore, he has used market microstructure knowledge to build a portfolio of trades with a consistent revenue stream.
At Bloomberg, Shashi became a team leader and one of his achievements there is leading the improvement of the company’s email operations. After that, he became a Senior Associate at Morgan Stanley before becoming the Vice President at Credit Suisse where he led the development of a next-generation HFT trading system and dark pool with enhanced capacity, flexibility, reliability, and speed. In the following years, he served as a Director at Barclays Capital and then BNP Paribas.
Outside his successful career, Shashi is highly committed to becoming a responsible and loving husband, father, and community member.
He and his wife support a number of organizations and institutions by giving donations or volunteering.
What made you decide to start Conscientia Consulting?
Being in the financial and technology industry for over twenty years, I have always felt the joy in helping my clients maximize the potentials of their businesses. Over the span of my career, I have dedicated my time to develop the best technological solutions for big companies.
Seeing that I and my colleagues can be a great help to aspiring entrepreneurs or startups, I opened Conscientia Consulting.
Being in the industry for two decades, how do you deal with failures?
As cliche as it may sound, failures should be seen as stepping stones towards success. If one method fails, try your next best option, then do it over and over until you find the right one.
Let’s simply put it this way. In finding ‘the one,’ not all of us always get to settle with the first person we meet. Most of the time, people go through a lot of heartbreaks before finding their life partner. The same is true with success. We don’t always get it right the first time. But always remember this: Every wrong decision leads us a step closer to the right answer.
What do you enjoy most about being an IT professional?
As I’ve said earlier, being able to help my clients make me very happy. I most certainly enjoy the fact that I am able to help and be part of their success.
Aside from that, nothing beats the excitement brought by working with the most advanced technologies, having an exchange of brilliant ideas with awesome people, and developing the most suitable technological solutions for my valued clients.
What are you most excited about?
I am very excited about having more opportunities to do greater things compared to what I have accomplished in the past. I believe that my 20-year career, filled with ups and downs, and discoveries, has equipped me well enough to face another decade or more of maximizing the potentials of our current technologies.
What words do you have for your younger self?
Hey Shashi, it’s okay to take things slow. Take your time learning what you can one step at a time.
Please know that you’re doing great and if you feel like giving up, think about how far you’ve come and about the people who support and believe in you. Lastly, keep doing what you’re doing because you are on the right track.
To whom or what do you owe your success right now?
It wasn’t always rainbows and butterflies. So I’d like to thank the people who stood by me and gave me support whenever I needed a push. I am blessed to have a very supportive wife and loving kids who serve as my greatest inspiration.
Aside from them, I also am very thankful to my alma maters for equipping me with the best training that I needed to start with my career and to the people who gave me opportunities to prove myself. Because they believed in me, I was able to leverage and improve my skills and knowledge while working on breakthroughs in the world of technology and finance.
What organizations do you support and why?
This is our way of giving back to our community and to people who helped me become what I am today. We’d love to see other young people reach their dreams so we help them in ways that we can. Aside from that, I personally enjoy sports like tennis and badminton.
What advice can you give to others?
True success means pursuing your passion and being able to celebrate every victory with the people you care for. So never focus too much on your career. Instead, find balance in life. Take time to have fun, make your family feel important, and don’t forget to help other people.
As for your career, seize the moment and always challenge yourself to be better because, in reality, it is us who set limits on ourselves.