There is a proverb in English Language “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. You have freedom to replace “power” word with “money”.
Rajat Gupta was prominent figure not only in India but also in International Market. Before Indra Nooyi became CEO of PepsiCo or Vikram Pandit took control of Citigroup there was Rajat Gupta, the original “global Indian” who was the first to head a major Western business i.e. one of the top 4 management consultancy firms like “ McKinsey”
He was born in Kolkata to a Montessori school teacher mother and a journalist father. He lost his parents at the age of 18. His education took him from IIT, Delhi, then ITC to Harvard Business School in Boston. He graduated at the top 5% of his Harvard class and landed the much sought after consulting job at McKinsey & Company. Gupta served as corporate chairman, board director or strategic advisor to a variety of large and notable organizations corporations including Goldman Sachs, Procter and Gamble and American Airlines, and non-profits including The Gates Foundation, The Global Fund and the International Chamber of Commerce. Rajat Gupta is the co-founder of four different organizations: the Indian School of Business (ISB) which is one of the best B-Schools not only in India but in the world also.
He is kind of epitome for me, a person from a relatively humble background, out of sheer hard work and merit, could really rise to the top of the ladder.
People who know him say Gupta has personal warmth and a knack for connecting with people, taking an interest in their careers and families. Not a back-slapper or a joker, Gupta likes small groups and tends to steer conversation towards topics in which he takes a professional or philanthropic interest.
Last year, Rajat K Gupta delivered a commencement speech at the Hyderabad-based Indian School of Business that he helped start. ”Try to make other people successful,” said Gupta, one of the world’s most prominent Indian-born business executives. ”If you work on making other people successful, they will in turn make you successful beyond your dreams.”
And guess what, he lived up to his words. He tried to make other people successful, illegally.
So what went wrong exactly?
He was envious of the wealth that his peers were amassing. His envy could have affected the choices he made — orienting his post-McKinsey career around making money, handing over large chunks of his money to Mr. Rajaratnam and, at least according to prosecutors, going to great lengths to groom favor with Mr. Rajaratnam.
Such envy extends well beyond people accused of committing crimes. The inequality among the rich is a major force pushing many graduates of the country’s top colleges to Wall Street and drawing middle-aged professionals from other lines of work to finance.
So why there is debate on whether this is crime is committed out of pure greed or oversight and why the corporate india is defending Rajat Gupta?
Let’s analyze the situation “Rajat Gupta was a mistake at McKinsey. He goes out as a child and steals a lollipop from the nearby store but doesn’t suck on it so there is no criminal intent is established. It’s only his sheer stupidity and vacancy of intellect that allowed him to do this. This is bullshit.” ” Actually he was managing partner at McKinsey , so one think he didn’t lack was intellect. What he really lacked was credibility and he betrayed the trust of many people.Consultants are so important in the society, business leaders and investors rely upon them and when a person is entrusted with the fiduciary duty, when he is selling information for private profit in public or private standing is a heinous crime. No one is doubting his intellect but what people are doubting is his intent,when that doubt is cast over someone who is trusted.”
His lawyer is still defending him saying all the charges are baseless. Rajat Gupta was awaiting an arraignment on one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and five counts of securities fraud. The charges carry a potential penalty of 105 years in prison.
So it all boils down to greed for money which is root cause of all evil. Before ending this article, let me share one story with you which opened my mind to think about it.
The Edgewater Beach Hotel
In 1923, at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago, eight of the world’s wealthiest financiers met. These eight men controlled more money than the United States’ government at that time. They included:
The president of the largest independent steel company;
The president of the largest gas company;
The greatest wheat speculator;
The president of the New York Stock Exchange;
A member of the President’s cabinet;
The greatest “bear” on Wall Street;
The head of the world’s greatest monopoly;
The president of the Bank of International Settlement.
Certainly, one would have to admit, that a group of the world’s most successful men was gathered in that place; at least, men who had found the secret of “earning money.”
Now let’s see where these men were twenty-five years later:
The president of the largest independent steel company, Charles Schwab, lived on borrowed
money for five years before he died bankrupt.
The president of North America’s largest gas company, Howard Hopson, went insane.
The greatest wheat speculator, Arthur Cutton, died abroad, insolvent.
The president of the New York Stock Exchange, Richard Whitny, was sent to Sing Sing Penitentiary.
A member of the President’s cabinet, Albert Fall, was pardoned from prison so he could die at home.
The greatest “bear” on Wall Street, Jesse Livermore, died a suicide.
The head of the greatest monopoly, Ivar Krueger, killed himself.
The president of the Bank of International Settlement, Leon Fraser, also died a suicide.
Each of these men learned well the art of earning money, but it would seem that not one of them had ever learned how to live the “rich life”, which was their birthright.
It is stories like this one that have caused many well meaning, but ignorant people to say, “See, I told you it is not good to have a lot of money, it’s bad,” or, “It just goes to show you that rich people really aren’t happy;” but of course, that is just not true. For although these eight men would appear to have “slid off the track,” there are many wealthy people who are very happy, and who do a tremendous amount of good with their money; they live healthy, well-balanced lives.
Excerpts from famous book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill
Money or power is a tool which in itself is not good or bad but how you use it makes it good or bad.