Equipped with a hotel management degree, Rakesh Kaul would have joined the Oberoi hotel chain. But his father's sudden demise made it difficult for him to leave his mother alone and go off to another city. So he opted for a postgraduate diploma in business administration in finance and another in foreign trade.
So what does an aspiring hotelier bring to the table in financial services? "Customer is always right - the guiding principle of hospitality - applies equally in banking," says Kaul. Having started his career in Citi, Kaul has worked in various businesses in India and the Asia-Pacific.
Kaul's 12-hour workday begins with a daily morning huddle call at 8 a.m. taking stock of global markets and discussing the day's plan. His current 120-member team has grown from just a few members in 2006 when the company was set up with a clear focus on offering a world class equity brokerage platform to Citi's high net-worth clients in India and key NRI markets. While the business is well established now, it has weathered many challenges, especially during the downturn of 2008 when Citi globally had its fair share of the bad news.
Kaul's exposure to six different businesses at Citi has given him tremendous perspective. "It helps me devise five solutions to a problem and not try to solve it in a straight-jacketed manner," he says.
Kaul is a keen golfer and marathoner. "Running has made me more determined in whatever I do," says Kaul. He hits the road at 5.45 a.m. sharp. He is on track to go the distance.
37, Business Head, Citi Wealth Advisors
Been there: In 13 years at Citi, he has worked across six businesses
A-ha moment: When, in October 2004, Kaul was deputed to implement Citi Financial's Consumer Finance & Auto Business in six countries across the Asia-Pacific region. He was 32 then
Fitness: Has run over 100 marathons in the past five years. Runs at least 50 km a week