Posted: 16 February 2005 at 11:09pm
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From washing tea cups at Standard Chartered bank, to becoming a successful human resource consultant, the story of Dr Raju Bhatia's life is as rags to riches as a story can get. One of eight siblings, Raju lived in the chawls of Andheri. Poverty forced him to work as a peon in the bank at 15. There he washed tea cups, wiped tables and kept the office clean. He failed in almost
all his subjects in class nine and his teachers wrote him off. However, he managed a second class in his SSC. Egged on by his mother, he pursued a college education. Life was tough. Bhatia remembers attending college from 7 am to 10 am, working at the bank till 6 pm and then, giving tuition to children from the chawl.
The hard work paid off. Bhatia topped the Bombay University in the Commerce stream and never looked back. He breezed through no less than the prestigious Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad in 1984 and proceeded to the University of Missouri for a doctorate in Human Resources.
Armed with the PhD, Bhatia joined Tata Exports in 1988. Here he designed the Tata-Human Resource Development (HRD) network for all Tata companies. The next stop was Standard Chartered Bank, where he joined as Head of Human Resources in 1994. The irony was more than evident. The peon, returns to the same bank as HR chief. Says Bhatia, "The union was overjoyed. For them, it was their little Raju who had become the Boss Man. It was a good innings. I was able to bring the management and workers closer together." By this time,
Bhatia had got a home organised for his aged mother, a car and some savings.
He worked with two other multi-national firms after this: Ernst & Young and McKinsey.
In 1998, he set up his own HR constancy firm: Centre for Change Management in Mumbai. Today, he has 58 clients and 24 HR experts working for him.
Bhatia is a popular management expert and divides his time between corporate consultancy and lecturing management students and executives around the country. Author of several books, Bhatia has become an expert on issues connected with Success.
Speaking to Pune Times after presenting a racy three hour audiovisual lecture titled: 'Sleeping with Success' for the students of the Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (SIBM), Bhatia gives his late mother the credit for his success. Breaking down as he speaks, Bhatia says, "She was my primary inspiration. It is because of her love and caring that I did not
pick up any vices and remained focused in life. I miss her." He has some straight-forward advice for youngsters: "Know what you are doing and do what
you know. And of course, never ever give up your dream"