Unconventional is an understatement for Gautam Bhandari. After studying chemistry at St Stephen's College, Delhi, he picked up a PhD from the University of Delaware in the US. And then decided his first job should be in the semiconductor industry. "I worked in a technology start-up, Advanced Technology Materials Inc.," says Bhandari, who has 20 patents to his name. Then he enrolled at New York University's Leonard N Stern School of Business for an MBA infinance in 1999.
"In my previous job, I was handling business development. An MBA was a good skill set to have," explains Bhandari. Next step: Morgan Stanley. "Morgan's work ethic and strong culture appealed to me the most,"says Bhandari. The transition from semiconductors to finance was tough initially. He first honed his skills at the global markets division and then did investment banking.
After almost two decades abroad, Bhandari landed in India just before the Lehman crisis hit. In August 2008, he was made the head of Morgan Stanley Infrastructure in India, Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. "I love being back, but sometimes you do miss some of the efficiencies that you are used to in, say, New York or London," says Bhandari, who believes in empowerment and delegation at work.
Gautam Bhandari, 40, MD, Morgan Stanley Infrastructure (MSI)