Background Note | HBS Case Collection | March 2000 (Revised August 2000)

Fall Before Rising, A: The Story of Jai Jaikumar (B)

by H. Kent Bowen, Richard Compton Squire, Sarah Patricia Vickers-Willis and Harry James Wilson


What is the relationship between good fortune, professional success, and a moral obligation to other people? Jai Jaikumar, who as a youth was saved by a shepherd woman after a tragic mountaineering accident in the Himalayas, and who later rose to the top of his professional domain, believed that good fortune, success, and obligation were necessarily and inescapably connected. This case describes Jai's understanding of the moral implications of his rescue, and its particular relevance for his subsequent professional success and ultimate appointment as a professor at Harvard Business School. As a teacher, Jai encouraged each of his students to ask the questions that he asked himself: How did you get this far in life, and what does this mean, if anything, for your duties to others?

Keywords: Personal Development and Career; Moral Sensibility; Motivation and Incentives;


Bowen, H. Kent, Richard Compton Squire, Sarah Patricia Vickers-Willis, and Harry James Wilson. "Fall Before Rising, A: The Story of Jai Jaikumar (B)." Harvard Business School Background Note 600-048, March 2000. (Revised August 2000.)