A Journey More Rewarding Than the Destination-Bharat Ravuri, PGP Founding Class & MD, Principal Asset Management

By Alumni Engagement

In the Markstrat business simulation game during the PGP programme at ISB, Bharat Ravuri’s team got pushed to the rear of the pack because of an inadvertent oversight. A quick diagnosis ensued, which led to an alternative approach that helped them inch up the table to a respectable position. The secret to the turnaround, Bharat reveals, was mindfulness to the sundry standpoints within the team. “It’s important to heed to the diverse perspectives because a problem can be solved in many ways; not necessarily in the only way we see. ISB has taught me this.”  “Having an open mind to listen, to what others have to say has helped him” says Bharat, this helps him think out of the box and be more creative.

Bharat, PGP Founding Class, is the Managing Director, Principal Asset Management, Principal Financial Group. “For someone who began his professional career as a technical person, it’s unthinkable I am where I stand today.” Bharat does not believe in making elaborate plans for life, rather he keeps an open mind, seizes opportunities, and makes the most of them.  “While plans are fine, they bring about a certain rigidity. One can adapt to situations better without a plan.” His dogma rather has been to enjoy the journey. “We can’t manage the outcomes, we can only manage the process and the journey, and if you enjoy the journey, results will automatically follow.”

“Our class graduated after a very ‘difficult phase of 9/11’. Despite limited opportunities, students of our class have ‘built reasonably good careers in different streams’. It was all a ‘result of our network, our hard work, and the education we received at ISB’. At the time of graduating none of us in our wildest imagination would have thought we would be doing what we are doing now.”

“ISB opened up my world and my eyes to a lot more about the way businesses are run. Listening to the views of the stalwarts visiting the campus was an uplifting experience. Their abundance of knowledge was jaw-dropping and their humility infectious. One could sit with them, discuss for hours and it was easy to connect with them. It showed that humility is an essential virtue to have, irrespective of who or what you are.”

Bharat’s connection with ISB is very close to his heart. His daughter was ten days old when he stepped into ISB. “I often tell her that since she started her journey on the campus, I would like to see her in a programme at ISB one day.”

Giving due priority to family and health is the wisdom Bharat gained during his executive education programme at ISB. However, there are times work assumes greater significance, he asserts. “We spend much of our active life working. It is a significant component of who we are, what we are, and so there can never really be a clear demarcation between work and life.” 

Bharat says his definition of success has changed over time—from getting the right job, right salary, and how people perceived him to about enjoying the journey. “Success is what’s in the present moment. It’s being happy about what I am doing today, contributing to my family, contributing to people around me and being able to help them every possible way.”

ISB, he says, has changed much since his days and all alums need to pitch in enthusiastically. “The School has been at the forefront of driving new programmes and has never shied away fulfilling organisational needs. As responsible alumni, we need to be more active in the activities and be its brand ambassador.” Bharat proposes ways the alumni could help. First, their vast experience can help students stay better informed and prepare them in better decision making. Second, in today’s gig economy entrepreneurship opportunities are aplenty and alums can aid by their network in the industry. Alumni who have businesses in similar areas could be effective mentors and advisors; help connect to networks; support by investing or in any other plausible way. Third, alums have and should continue to build the brand of ISB.

Bharat is greatly inspired by a Michelangelo quote: ‘The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark’. “As a leader, I believe failures must not be feared. Even if we do not achieve the desired results, they should not deter us from trying. The limits we impose on ourselves for the fear of failure and others’ perception of us is our undoing most often than not. Breaking those shackles will give us the freedom to operate and disrupt the industry we are in.”

Bharat loves farming and reading, most of which he enjoys during his leisure time. “Farming taught me humongous lessons that white collared jobs have not.” Adding to that he advises the current class is that they must follow their passion, take advantage of the opportunities, and concentrate on the learning. That will translate into money in the longer term. ‘Focus on your journey, enjoy it, because 20 years from now you might end up doing something very different.’