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[BUSINESS] Himanshu Bhatia: Chief Executive of Rose International

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  • chiayuan25
    The Boss A Flair for the Unconventional As told to Patricia R. Olsen. The New York Times Published: September 11, 2005 WHEN I was a teenager living in New
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 15, 2005
      The Boss
      A Flair for the Unconventional
      As told to Patricia R. Olsen.
      The New York Times
      Published: September 11, 2005

      WHEN I was a teenager living in New Delhi, I read "The Fountainhead"
      by Ayn Rand and decided I wanted to be an architect. My parents
      wanted me to be a doctor, but I stood my ground and took the entrance
      exam to study architecture.

      Admission to college is very competitive in India, especially for a
      professional degree. At the time, there were about 2,000 students
      competing for about 28 openings in the School of Planning and
      Architecture. I was one of six women admitted.

      I have a history of doing unconventional things. After I graduated
      from college, I saw an ad for a beauty contest and entered it for
      fun. I had no expectations. I grew up in a family where girls were
      encouraged not to attract attention to themselves, so this was more a
      rebellious act than any desire to win. To my surprise, I came in
      second. I was offered a modeling contract, but I had bigger plans. I
      left for the United States two months later.

      I had worked in architecture for a year in India, and I wanted to get
      a master's in my field here. The semester had already started in that
      program, however, so I got a master's in management information
      systems instead. I also got married. It was an arranged marriage.

      My last salaried job was working in information technology for Edward
      Jones, the investment firm. They had a program where I could work at
      home, which seemed attractive because I had two small children. But
      when they told me the hourly rate compared to my annual salary, I
      thought, "Is that all, for my qualifications?"

      My husband tried to talk me out of starting a business. "Why do you
      need to do something different?" he asked. I had seen my parents
      struggle, and I wanted a better life. "I have to," I told him. I was
      ready to fail. I started cold-calling and attending networking
      breakfasts. I wrote a business plan with the help of the Small
      Business Administration. I was lucky to get a few contracts and felt
      I owed nothing but outstanding service to these clients for putting
      their trust in me.

      The early years weren't easy. I was always trying to keep costs down,
      so I'd take late-night flights and look for the cheapest rental cars.
      Once I took a late-night flight to Arizona and couldn't find my way
      around. I ended up in the desert and it was pitch black. I wanted to
      put my head on the steering wheel and cry. Another time, in
      Washington, I hailed a cab to take me to a meeting. The cab driver,
      who had just arrived in the country, drove around for two hours. I
      was afraid I was being kidnapped. This was before cellphones and I
      was late to the meeting.

      It was sheer luck that we were able to survive when the technology
      bubble burst. A majority of our clients have always been government
      organizations. A few people said that wasn't too smart, but it saved
      us. We saw a lot of our competitors go under. I never understood the
      dot-com hype, and the business model just didn't make sense. I see
      the same thing now with the overvaluation of offshore companies.

      The lessons I learned early in life helped me immensely in making a
      company grow. My mother used to teach night school and wasn't there
      when I got home from school, so I learned how to fend for myself.
      When I was 12, she visited the United States for several months,
      leaving the household responsibilities to me. I had to learn how to
      use my time and energy wisely. I learned survival, which is what
      business is all about. I've also learned that as a leader, how kind
      you are is more important than how much you know.

      Two years ago we put a great deal of time and money into landing a
      new client in Texas, but the company chose three large multinational
      companies instead. I said fine, remember us. I got busy with other
      ways to strengthen the company. The client called recently and said
      one of its suppliers was not performing. They gave us the contract
      instead. Persistence pays.

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