01 Jun 1998
Coming Full Circleby Orna Feldman photograph by Webb ChappellTopics:
The son of a well-traveled Indian ambassador, Devtosh Khare has spent most of his life away from his native land. Born in China, Khare was educated mostly in Belgium, Pakistan, Germany, and the United States. His peripatetic upbringing has given him a command of several languages and an uncommonly broad perspective on the world, but it has also left him with a strong desire to reestablish his Indian roots. "I have a commitment to India," he explains. "I want to start my own business there - something that will have an impact on people's lives."
Such clarity of purpose hasn't always guided Khare. Indeed, he came to business only after he added to his undergraduate engineering major at the University of Pennsylvania by enrolling in the Wharton School's five-year, dual-degree program in management and technology. "I saw technology, finance, and international trade as cutting-edge areas," Khare notes. "After two days of programming classes, I knew engineering would be too tame." Completing the Wharton program in just four years, Khare earned two BS degrees, one in engineering, the other in economics, both magna cum laude.
Following his graduation from Wharton, Khare says he "stayed with the herd and went into banking." But after two years working 100-hour weeks as an investment analyst at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corporation (DLJ) in Los Angeles, he decided that "moving money around is not what life is about for me. I want to build a tangible business."
With his goal of getting into business in India, Khare thought HBS would help him gain professional credibility while establishing a network of valuable business contacts. "Whatever field I ended up in," he notes, "I knew I would get a world-class education at HBS." Khare has tailored his activities at the School - both in and out of the classroom - to fit his professional goals. For instance, as one of ten HBS students chosen for the Kauffman Entrepreneur Internship Program, he spent last summer in India at Aditi Technologies, a software startup founded by Pradeep Singh (MBA '84). There, he constructed a business plan to solicit venture capital and helped with strategic planning for a new Web-based product launch. To further expand his knowledge of India's thriving entrepreneurial landscape, Khare also did some work as a summer associate at DLJ Private Equity Fund, analyzing and structuring investments in a variety of Indian business sectors.
After graduation, Khare plans to work in a hypergrowth, high-tech Silicon Valley company or in private equity in Singapore or Hong Kong before pursuing his entrepreneurial dream in India. "I need to get operating experience and an overview of the markets and economic trends in the region and to make some contacts with India's business leaders," he explains. "Then I'll be ready to go out on my own." He believes that India's service sector offers the most exciting business opportunities. "Whether it's pizza delivery, retail banking, childcare, or software, the growth trends in India are with the service economy," he says. "It will be great to get in on the action."