Talha Sheikh, a director at ScottMadden, joined the firm in 2015 after receiving an M.B.A. in marketing and business analytics from the University of South Carolina. Talha works in the firm’s Rates and Regulation practice area and is heavily involved in the Rates and Regulation CoP. He also holds a B.B.A. in marketing and financial analysis from the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi.
Birds of a Feather
Talha was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and spent his childhood living on air force bases throughout Pakistan. Each year, his family would move to a new base when Talha’s father, a fighter pilot in the Pakistan Air Force, received a new posting. Although change was hard—each move meant a new school and new friends—Talha was able to see much of Pakistan. One of his most cherished memories is being awakened at 3 AM by his father to travel to an airstrip to watch fighter jets train and practice landings.
Talha has a love for books and sports. He obsessively read detective stories throughout his childhood and also committed himself to basketball. Practicing on an empty court for hours became a habit for him—an early sign of his dedication and personal drive.
That same drive eventually took him to business school at the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi. During that time, Talha became a volunteer, assisting with aid efforts for the victims of the 2008 earthquake in Ziarat by collecting and loading supplies on aircrafts in the middle of the night. In late 2013, he got an opportunity to move to United States, and within six months, he and his parents packed their bags for their next big move and headed to America.
Spreading His Wings
After a month in Houston with his family, Talha’s parents left him to build his life in United States. The goodbye was heartbreaking, and the homesickness was real. He took the opportunity to experience more of the United States and went to live with his cousins in Bellevue, Washington. There, he took up cycling as a hobby, and one day, on a whim, found himself on a day-long trip from Bellevue to Seattle. All the while enjoying his new life in Bellevue, Talha was already planning his future and saving money for his next move—graduate school.
He made the journey from Bellevue to Columbia, South Carolina, to attend the University of South Carolina (USC). He couch-surfed until he found a humble abode with a few Pakistani friends for only $250 per month and purchased a bike for transportation. He took in his surroundings and reveled in the newness of the food and social events, understanding university culture a bit more day by day.
Still, Talha was most fixated on finding himself a job. When a ScottMadden partner came to visit USC and offered him a chance to interview, he took the process very seriously, knowing it could be the start of a new and promising chapter. Talha was offered a position and moved to Raleigh. Today, after nearly 10 years, his advice to new consultants is “take advantage of the tremendous landscape of opportunity at ScottMadden…and express gratitude for what this firm has to offer. If you can, immerse yourself in areas you’re interested in. It’s a great place to develop deep expertise.”
Building a Home
Outside of work, Talha is always up for an adventure. He enjoys traveling and spending time with his family. From traveling to Turkey, the United Kingdom, and throughout the United States, he and his wife, Aroosa, are always looking for the next place to explore together. In fact, they have a pact to venture out of North Carolina each quarter, and they try to visit Pakistan at least once a year.
Between travel and work, Talha enjoys spending quality time with his two-year-old daughter, Aleeza. He loves being a girl dad and has no words to describe the feeling. Though work can be hectic at times, he has learned to balance his work and personal life. Understanding his daughter is growing up so quickly, he cherishes the moments and memories he is creating with her every day and looks forward to those to come.