Voices of Nium with Mahathi Mahabhashyam, Senior Vice President, Engineering at Nium

7 Minute read
5 months ago

Mahathi Mahabhashyam began her Nium journey almost seven months ago and brought with her nearly two decades of engineering experience, delivering impact by scaling businesses across India and the US. Mahathi joined Nium from Uber, where she led key cross-product services and machine learning in payments and identity risk as the Director of Engineering.  

Prior to Uber, Mahathi was the Principal Engineering Manager at Microsoft, where she spearheaded platforms for Retail Data/AI and Energy verticals in the Azure for Commercial Industries team and the CodeSearch team of Azure DevOps. Mahathi also lent her skillset to Google, where she was Senior Software Engineer for Google Apps for Business product group. In Mahathi’s early career, she interned at Amazon and worked with Microsoft in the US on product development for Skype for Business and .NET Compact Framework.  

Today, we invite you to get acquainted with Mahathi on a deeper level. Why is she so passionate about working in India? What’s the greatest lesson she’s learned in working with global tech giants? How does Mahathi encourage and motivate her team? What are her aspirations for the future of Nium’s tech stack? And, perhaps most importantly, as an ardent sci-fi fan, what’s the one movie she believes is a “must-watch” for those interested in a futuristic world? 

  1. You’ve worked with various teams and organizations across Asia and the United States. India is your home, but what do you appreciate most about the local tech environment?  

Throughout my journey working with large tech companies and organizations across India and the US, I have been fortunate to work with some amazing engineers and leaders who have helped push me to learn, grow and challenge myself. The tech talent pool in India is vibrant, with many engineers and leaders creating lasting impact through their work – its humbling to have collaborated with such talented colleagues across the years. 

  1. Having worked with Nium, Uber, Microsoft, and Google, what would you say is the biggest lesson you’ve learned collectively from these tech giants?  

Over the years, I’ve learned that the key to building great products is to invest in building great teams that are customer focused, autonomous and self-motivated. Magic can happen when teams come together to solve difficult challenges – it’s important to own the journey and the outcome. This has personally shaped my own leadership journey and it’s something I hold very close to my heart. 

  1. What would you say is your proudest career moment to date? 

This is really a hard one. As a techie, I would say that every few years, I tried to learn a new tech stack and push myself outside my comfort zone; whenever I was able to walk into a new area, ramp up and deliver in the new space/role, that was a proud and confidence-building moment for me. Looking back –whether it was building a still-in-RFC peer-to-peer network establishment (ICE) protocol as part of Skype for Business, owning the search platform for AzureDevOps, building my first Android app as part of Google Apps for Business, setting up the charter for Energy vertical in Azure for Commercial Industries, or leading an extremely high scale Risk Platform for Uber – each of these cherished experiences have, through their ups and downs, taught me all that I know. As a leader, though, what has given me pride and inspires me every day, is to see the people I have mentored, managed or worked closely with, take off in their careers and succeed amazingly! Nothing can compare to that reward. 

  1. Why did you decide to join #TeamNium?  

For me, Nium was an opportunity to understand the fascinating world of cross-border payments, whilst simultaneously building a deeper insight into how startups work. The last 6 months have given me ample space to explore both. I’ve also been lucky enough to work with a team of incredibly passionate colleagues and I am thankful to Nium for this learning journey so far!  

  1. What do you think makes Nium’s tech offering stand out from competitors? 

One of the key competitive advantages that Nium has is the depth and reach into the individual markets it supports, and how it can provide payment functionality seamlessly to customers. Clients can integrate with our Nium tech stack - and not worry about how to route money to a particular country, how to get the best FX rate on the transfer, or even how to deal with individual bank/country regulatory nuances. They can focus on building their core business while Nium worries about seamlessly scaling for their payment needs. 

  1. Nium is actively recruiting globally for several tech roles including data engineering, infrastructure support and software development. Which traits/characteristics do you believe make a successful Nium’er in tech 

In general, tech is a space that is constantly evolving with newer tools and languages emerging all the time, so the key to success as an engineer is building good analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as having a passion for coding and architectural design 

  1. Although things are starting to shift, tech, in general, is a male-dominated industry. What advice would you offer to women who are eager to jump into the world of technology but are perhaps thrown off by the lack of female representation? 

To quote a most inspiring leader, Mahatma Gandhi - “Be the change you want to see in the world”. One thing that I would say to all the women who are looking to explore tech as a career, is to follow their passion and not to be sceptical because of any metrics. I have personally been fortunate to have been mentored by some amazing female and male leaders, and if you are passionate about the space and the learning that tech careers offer, by all means jump in, and be a force to reckon with! 

  1. To end things off, a little birdie tells us that you are a sci-fi enthusiast! What’s the ONE movie that you recommend to anyone keen to dip their toe into the world of futuristic thinking?  

Well, if you want to go old-school, one of my all-time favorites is “Star Trek: Next Generation”. It caught my fascination as a young schoolgirl and made me a huge sci-fi enthusiast in the first place. Of the more recent movies, “Interstellar” would be my favorite and a must-watch for all sci-fi fans! 

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