MD & CEO, IIFL Wealth Management
GOAL IN LIFE: To continue with the successful entrepreneurial journey and continue to innovate.
BEST LEADERSHIP LESSON: Be honest, be grounded and stay focused. Times may be bad but if you do not lose focus, you will be back in the game.
If one flight does not take off, another surely will - and it might even take you to a better destination. That certainly happened to Karan Bhagat's career flight path. In 2001, after graduating from IIM Bangalore, he got an offer from Cluster Consulting in Barcelona. But the offer was cancelled following the dotcom crash. Bhagat calls it a 'fortunate' moment as his entrepreneurial aspirations bloomed from then on.
Bhagat, who hails from a Marwari business family of Kolkata, had started a travel agency in 1996 before joining IIM, but that did not work out. When Barcelona did not happen, he taught English and Math for a while. Then, he joined Kotak Mahindra Bank, and rose to head the bank's wealth management practice for Mumbai. But the itch to do something of his own never died. Urged by his wife, Shilpa, who was working with HDFC, he quit in December 2007, and approached Nirmal Jain, Chairman of IIFL, to start a venture.
In April 2008, Bhagat along with his friends Yatin Shah and Amit Shah were given the responsibility of setting up IIFL Wealth as a unit of IIFL Holdings. The company now manages assets worth Rs 66,000 crore. It reported Rs 242 crore as annual revenue and Rs 74 crore as profit before tax in 2013/14. No doubt, Jain is delighted. "I never set revenue or profit targets for Karan, but growth has been phenomenal because of mutual trust, vision and Karan's ability," he says.