After spending an undergraduate summer interning for Goldman Sachs on the trading floor, Mia Saini had an epiphany—she wanted to be an on-air reporter covering business. She recognized the need for news anchors who had camera presence, a background in business and economics from actually working on Wall Street, and technical training, which she acquired at MIT as she earned degrees in brain and cognitive science and comparative media studies.
Saini spent the next two years on Wall Street building business skills and then enrolled in Harvard Business School in 2008. “I was on the floor as Bear Stearns was collapsing and the world was falling apart,” she says. “And the reporters on TV were trying to explain things with no background in business, which was actually adding to the problem.”
While at Harvard, Saini helped start HBS TV to get on-air experience and then landed a job at Forbes TV in New York. To take the job, she had to leave school right away, but she completed her degree a year later while still working at Forbes.
In 2011, Saini took a job at Bloomberg TV as a foreign correspondent in Hong Kong, where she lived for three years before being transferred to Bloomberg’s global headquarters in New York City. She has interviewed hundreds of Fortune 500 CEOs, executives, politicians, and diplomats and was on the air to cover such major news events as the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 and the death of Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
After years of interviewing business innovators, Saini got the entrepreneurial bug. In January 2015 she resigned from Bloomberg to develop her own company, which will be called Oars + Alps and will offer a skin-care line for athletic men. “I knew I always wanted to build a business from the ground up,” she says, “and if I was going to do it, this was the right time.”
Saini says the venture is an exciting mix of her past experiences. As both an engineer and a journalist, she is used to asking questions and solving problems. She is using those skills as she develops her brand and products and works to source the right products with the right chemical compounds.
Saini and her husband, Alexander, have two kids and now live in Chicago, where her new company is based. “The only downside of startup life is I don’t get my hair and makeup done every morning like I did for the past five years,” she jokes. But she is perfectly happy handling that herself—and wearing jeans to work—if it means she gets to build her brand.