Bloomberg extols ‘moral leadership’ at Business School

first_img Bloomberg program has worked with officials to help them govern more effectively, creatively Founded global information company, became three-term mayor of NYC Gore decries attacks on facts, science, reason Mayoral initiative heads for year two Relatedcenter_img Bloomberg named Commencement speaker In Class Day address, former vice president and climate defender criticizes ‘would-be autocrats’ Calling on the Harvard Business School Class of 2019 to demonstrate “moral leadership,” Class Day speaker Michael R. Bloomberg, M.B.A. ’66, invoked integrity in the service of country and capitalism.“Being ethical does not require a master’s degree,” he said. “It requires having a conscience and following it.”Addressing the crowd braving Wednesday’s afternoon chill on the lawn of Baker Library/Bloomberg Center, the former New York City mayor recalled his youth in Medford and his years at Harvard Business School (HBS) — or, as he expressed it, at the Hong Kong and the much-lamented Wursthaus.“I was always one of those who made the top half of the class possible,” joked the speaker, who also founded Bloomberg L.P. and Bloomberg Philanthropies and serves as the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action and the World Health Organization’s Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases. His daughter, Emma, earned her M.B.A. from HBS in 2007.Bloomberg said it was as a 24-year-old in his first job after earning his M.B.A., at what was then Salomon Brothers & Hutzler, that he learned the importance of both ethics and philanthropy in capitalism. Under the tutelage of managing partner William Rogers “Billy” Salomon, he realized, “When it came to ethics, there was no compromising.”This principle reaches beyond business, Bloomberg stressed — particularly today, when people are questioning not only our economic system but the fundamentals of our government. “My luckiest break was taking a job out of College where I got to see the ethics I learned growing up put into practice in the workplace,” he said. “But when we look at today’s world, it’s not clear that everyone with a degree in business has those principles. And that’s one reason, I believe, that this great country of ours is suffering from an ethical crisis that is corroding our society.”Faced with rising income inequality and partisan politics, the public today sees “truth and science being trampled with reckless abandon” and the rule of law “attacked and undermined,” he said. The result is a lack of faith that can foster extremists on both the left and right, he warned.“More and more Americans — especially in your generation — are questioning whether capitalism is capable of creating a just society,” he said. “Their faith in America and all that we represent is being shaken. If we do not act to restore it, the turmoil in our politics today will be only a prelude of what’s to come, and that could shake the very foundations of our society.”,Part of the answer, he stressed, is regulation. Citing both Teddy Roosevelt’s breaking up of the monopolies and Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, he said politics should mute the worst impulses of the business world in order to promote public good.“I’m as much a capitalist as you will ever find,” he said. “But anyone who believes that unfettered capitalism works hasn’t read history.”Beyond strengthening laws and regulations to keep the capitalism’s excesses in check, Bloomberg focused on personal responsibility.“Public faith in private markets rests on individual actions,” he said.Emphasizing fairness in the workforce, he detailed how valuing workers pays off in loyalty and retention, a good act that makes good sense. “Be honest with your colleagues, clients, and contractors,” he said. “Don’t ever try to take advantage of them. And don’t hesitate to speak up when someone else does.”He urged the graduates to align themselves with companies involved with philanthropy as they move into the business world. Citing his own firm, the speaker noted, “At Bloomberg, philanthropy gives us a competitive advantage in recruiting and retaining talent — and it’s as good for the bottom line as anything a company can do.”M.B.A. Class of 2019 Student Association Co-Presidents Triston Jay Francis (from left) and Sana Mohammed, join Class Day student speaker Brandon Rapp, M.B.A. ’19, and HBS Dean Nitin Nohria onstage during HBS Class Day. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerHowever, he added, philanthropy should not be only a corporate policy. “Give back on your own,” he said. “Don’t wait.”On the same note, Bloomberg announced that next year, with Bloomberg Philanthropies’ support, HBS will hold an alumni conference on investing in the age of climate change. He called it “another example of where doing right and doing good are aligned.”Finally, he called on the assembly to make their voices heard through the ballot box. “Elect people who understand that it’s their obligation to make capitalism work for everyone,” he said. “That means picking up where Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt left off and modernizing capitalism for our time.“America must always be a place where it’s possible to get rich through perspiration and innovation,” he concluded. “But it must never be a place where the middle class steadily loses ground — and where many of those feel trapped at the bottom.”last_img read more

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Raj Technologies CEO Raj Mehta: The Problem Solver

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York When he came to the United States from India in 1978, Raj Mehta knew he had to make money, so he took a minimum-wage job in the Washington, D.C. suburbs before earning a computer science degree from the University of Maryland. He would soon start his own company, Infosys International in Plainview, now Raj Technologies, with just a single computer and a determination to succeed.Your company was known as Infosys International for some 30 years. Now it’s Raj Technologies Inc. What happened? We had to reach a settlement with a big company, Infosystems of India. We had to change our name. There was no way we could fight a $12 billion company.Was the name change difficult for you? It was definitely a lot of work. People know who we are. We have contracts with federal and state governments. I have worked hard for over 30 years and I’ve been using this name all of that time. It’s going to take some people time to adjust. All of our contracts had to be renamed, with the new name. But I also like Raj Technologies.Why did this big company do this now? We asked this question. They said, “So what? We came after you when we did.”What does Raj Technologies actually do? We are an information-technology company and we work primarily in the public sector and for Fortune 500 companies. What we do all depends on what the client wants. They may want to change their finance systems, or their HR systems. This means they have to change their software. So we go out and do an analysis. We implement the solutions they want. Is the company profitable? We are a privately held company so we don’t disclose those figures. But we are a healthy company with an excellent reputation.When did you come to this country? In 1978, from India. I first went to Maryland. I knew I had to make money so I got a job as an accounting clerk in Maryland. I was making minimum wage, about $5 an hour.What happened next? I went to the University of Maryland and studied computer science. I already had two bachelor’s degrees in India. After I graduated Maryland, I joined Sperry Corp. in Virginia, working on NASA programs. I worked on a lot of different government programs, including for the U.S. Air Force. I went out and made the customer happy.How was the business started? I started the business in 1986. I had four years of savings. If I didn’t make money for four years, it wouldn’t have mattered.How much were start-up costs? I just had to buy a computer for myself. I spent my time going out getting clients. At that time, if somebody offered me $500 I would do their job. You need to grow. You want to establish yourself. Money isn’t important. I would just say, “Give me the work.”When did the company start to grow? I would say in the early 1990s. Until then, I had only one or two people. [Business reports say the company now has 65 employees.] But we remain basically a small, minority-owned company.Are you finding it hard to hire qualified people in this strong economy? It is always hard to find the right people to match your culture. We are very family oriented here. We don’t have set things for people to do. Nobody says, “That’s not my job.” When we hire people, we don’t expect them to know everything. But we do expect them to find the answer to things.You operate a television production studio that broadcasts your own show. Why? I started this six years ago. It’s a public service from me. I help a lot of people. I was thinking, “How can I help more people?” By having my own show I can give people knowledge. I interview government officials, political figures. I once interviewed a cardiac surgeon. He described the operating room. That was important for people to know.What keeps you up at night? I think of whatever happened that day. I say, “Okay, this or that happened. Let’s move on.” Then I sleep well.last_img read more

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