These days, a story which is in the limelight of every financial newspaper is the story of Rajat Gupta, a story of Rags to Riches, how a simple person from Calcutta transformed his destiny to become the first ever Indian born CEO of Transglobal Firm ‘McKinsey’.

But, when I read the recent articles about him, few questions come to my mind…

  • What is the limit of money, how much do we actually require?
  • Where the education system is lacking, doesn’t being ethical and doing right is a part of being an educated personnel’?
  • At the most what can a child at 18 can dream of?

Do ask these questions before proceeding further,

Reading about all this, I started thinking whether Socrates would still stand by this quotation written by him “Even if we know we can get away by doing the crime, Even if no one ever finds what we are up to. It’s our vices that affect us more than it hurt our victims”.

Yes, this story is really not an ordinary story because the last time I read about Rajat Gupta was when he was elected to the position of Director in McKinsey and was interviewed by Business Today, and at that time reading about his hardships and the way he progressed was really inspiring.

Rajat Gupta is a person who is definitely an idol for many students (including me), he has been a symbol of success and it’s for sure that if you have known his story a year early then you can only be astonished, inspired or even envied him.

It’s not an ordinary story because Rajat really didn’t use any malice or wrong practice to reach this top, but he worked hard day and night and wasn’t disturbed by the circumstances.

A bit of Rajat Gupta’s Background:-

His father was a freedom fighter who died when he was 16 and his mother died when he was 18, but he studied hard to get in IIT-D securing 15th rank in IIT-JEE .He made a tough decision to join Harvard leaving a high paying job at ITC when all his friends were going for Jobs. Most of the recruiters were not talking to him in Harvard, as he was on a student Visa and McKinsey rejected him because he didn’t have any experience. But due to the recommendation of his professor Walter Salmon he was re-interviewed and selected directly for McKinsey.

He became the Head of McKinsey in 1998 which was also the first time that a non-white was given such an elite post. He remained there till 2007 i.e. completing full 3-3 year terms, which is maximum for a person to serve as a head of McKinsey.

Beside this, he was also in the advisory board of Harvard and the Kellogg School of Management and also a co-founder of Indian School of Business. He did lots of philanthropic work with likes of Dr. Manmohan Singh, Warren Buffet, Bill & Melinda Foundation and gave a new direction to American Indian Foundation (AIF).

People used to describe him as soft at heart and as a smart person.

CRIMES:-

He has been convicted by the Securities and Exchange Control (SEC) for passing on confidential information to hedge fund Billionaire ‘Raj Rajaratnam’, who runs a ‘Galleon Group’ and is currently behind bars.

He is also convicted of running his own firm by the name of ‘New Silk Route Partners’ and also providing private consultancy to firms even when he was employed by McKinsey.

However:-

But, if you have read the story that is aptly covered by The Wall Street Journal and Economic Times or heard the tapes between him and Raj Rajaratam you will find that somewhere he was aware of his moves which is shown by the obscurity of his thoughts while talking to Raj .Secondly, he is a person who is so much involved with philanthropy and everyone close to him praises him so much.. So it is really the money which motivated him so much.

As said by Terry Connelty, Dean of Agene School of Business when asked about the question of   ‘Why Rajat did so?’ he said: – “you can never underestimate the seductive power of zeroes added to numbers. If you’re in hedge fund mangers’ circle and you’re not rich like them, you can start asking ‘why can’t I get that? I am every bit as smart.”

Motives are still not Clear:-

But the people who are close to Raj and Gupta, who know the details of the deal, believe that Gupta did not seem to profit much from the tips. Some conjecture suggests that he may have passed information to Rajaratnam because of the hope for future profits. If that’s true, and it’s not at all clear that it is, how much did he expect to make?

So, verdict is not yet out but the question still remains ‘why did he do that’? Would a person like ‘Rajat Gupta’ indulge in such crimes? Doesn’t it show the human tendency of never ending greed? Doesn’t it make us ponder about the values and the education we are imbibing our students with?

We really don’t know what the verdict would be… but one thing is certain it really made me think about my actions and where they are going to lead me.

P.S.:- I do not know Rajat personally nor do I have any personal interest in any of its ventures but I still do hope that Rajat Gupta do have some powerful argument for his actions because irrespective of whatever crimes have been imposed on him, I still see him as my idol.

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With inputs from articles that appeared in The WSJ and Economic Times.

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