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Breaking the mould news
Ananth Koovappady
08 December 1999

To the common person, the words 'management consultant' generally brings to mind a pin-striped, suited, stiff personality who invariably believes that he/she knows it all. J. Rajagopal, managing director of KPMG's consulting practice in India, breaks this stereotype mould. Tall, very affable and extremely easy-to-get-along, Raj (as he is known to all) belongs to a different breed of consultants.

Born in Calcutta, where he did his entire schooling, Rajagopal went on to graduate in commerce in Madras. He then completed his chartered accountancy course with a well-known firm of accountants and, simultaneously, also completed his company secretary course.

On condition
Known to do the unexpected, after his accountancy he went to the US to pursue a degree in management - at a time when all his batchmates went on to take comfortable jobs in accounting.

After graduating from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1980, he joined a well-known firm of management consultants, Coopers & Lybrand. Such was his passion to serve in the country of his birth, here again, against all norms of Indian students going abroad, he joined the firm on condition that they would send him back to India.

He entered the intriguing world of management consultancy by choice, and not accident, like many others did at the time. He was always keen on consulting as a career, and found the profession fascinating. The varied problems faced in this profession and the different facets of management challenges it offered satisfied his thirst for "solving problems". Further, the different people across a variety of functional disciplines he would meet satisfied his "never ending urge to meet and interact with new people".

Most important of all was, he liked "winning". And consulting, according to him, was the only profession where you know immediately if you have won or not.

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Breaking the mould