Jaithirth (Jerry) Rao
India
Jaithirth (Jerry) Rao
  • Founder, Chairman, Value and Budget Housing Corporation (Real Estate; IT; Banking)
Born in Bangalore, India (1952). Chemistry, BSc, Loyola College (1971); Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, MBA (1973); University of Chicago, MBA (1981) Entrepreneur-in-residence, Harvard Business School (2008)
“It’s getting better, but it’s nowhere near where it should be if we want to provide... homes..., if we want to give our fellow citizens a minimum level of dignity, which I think they deserve.”

Summary

Jerry Rao is the current chairman of the Value and Budget Housing Corporation and is the founder and former CEO of MphasiS Corporation. In this interview, Rao discusses his career trajectory, beginning with Citibank in 1984. He discusses the challenges of opening a foreign bank in India and how the foreign exchange shortage in Indian helped propel Citibank’s success in India. He eventually moved to California to head Citibank’s technology department. Rao fully transitioned to the technology industry in 1997 when he and his partners developed a software for banks to provide their services online, MphasiS. He discusses the challenges of starting a technology company in California during a time in which most computer programmers were in India. He also details his decision to sell the company in 2007, foreseeing the industry becoming concentrated in large corporations.

In 2009, Rao founded two companies—Value and Budget Housing Corporation and a mortgage finance company—after realizing India’s housing industry had no large, reliable company to build affordable housing. He discusses the challenges of India’s many regulations and required construction permits and how the company manages to stay profitable despite the slow building process. He also details how he believes a company can best embrace social responsibility through employee volunteer time, and how and why he came to publish a book of poetry.

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Jerry Rao is the current chairman of the Value and Budget Housing Corporation and is the founder and former CEO of MphasiS Corporation. In this interview, Rao discusses his career trajectory, beginning with Citibank in 1984. He discusses the challenges of opening a foreign bank in India and how the foreign exchange shortage in Indian helped propel Citibank’s success in India. He eventually moved to California to head Citibank’s technology department. Rao fully transitioned to the technology industry in 1997 when he and his partners developed a software for banks to provide their services online, MphasiS. He discusses the challenges of starting a technology company in California during a time in which most computer programmers were in India. He also details his decision to sell the company in 2007, foreseeing the industry becoming concentrated in large corporations.

In 2009, Rao founded two companies—Value and Budget Housing Corporation and a mortgage finance company—after realizing India’s housing industry had no large, reliable company to build affordable housing. He discusses the challenges of India’s many regulations and required construction permits and how the company manages to stay profitable despite the slow building process. He also details how he believes a company can best embrace social responsibility through employee volunteer time, and how and why he came to publish a book of poetry.

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Video Clips by Topic

Innovation

Jerry Rao describes his company's innovative strategies for building affordable housing and competing in India's real estate market.

Keywords: India, Innovation


Liberalization

Jerry Rao, a serial Indian entrepreneur in IT services and low cost housing, describes the burgeoning of "entrepreneurial spirits" as regulations and policies governing industry were liberalized in the 1990s. 



Regulation

Jerry Rao, a serial entrepreneur in IT services and low cost housing, and founder of Value and Budget Housing Corporation, describes the impact of regulation on the construction industry in India, and the need for further change to enable the building of affordable housing.


Regulation and Corruption

Jerry Rao, Founder of the Indian Real Estate Company Value And Budget Housing Corporation, discusses the causes of corruption in the real estate sector. He blames a regulatory system which keeps adding new laws without removing old ones, requiring him and others to secure multiple approvals from layers of lower and middle level civil servants.


Corruption

Jerry Rao, founder of the Indian real estate company Value and Budget Housing Corporation, says that his company avoids corrupt payments, especially because it plans an IPO in the future, but corrupt parties do approach the lawyers, architects and others in his firm’s eco-system, who undertake work for many companies and are often not well-placed to reject all irregular payments.
Keywords: India, Corruption


Education

Jerry Rao, a low cost housing entrepreneur, discusses how the lack of water and power for toilets in rural areas in India causes huge drop out rates in schools for girls entering puberty, and what needs to be done. 

Keywords: India, Education


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Interview Citation Format

"Interview with Jaithirth (Jerry) Rao interviewed by Geoffrey Jones, June 1, 2016, Creating Emerging Markets Project, Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School, http://www.hbs.edu/creating-emerging-markets/."