Meet the investment banker who plays the flute, composes music, enjoys trekking and is just as fond of driving.
Ajay Gupta, the new infrastructure finance head at HDFC Bank's investment banking division, is a man of many interests. He has dabbled in a whole lot of things, including golf, but music is what he loves the most. “I am deeply into music. Me and my brother (who manages a private equity fund) play together,” he says.
Gupta certainly is not like the usual investment banker. His route to investment banking has been a long and winding one. After a degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, and a post-graduate degree from IIT-Delhi, he joined the civil services in 1994. He was part of the Delhi Andaman Nicobar Island Civil Services (DANICS), which administers Delhi and other union territories of India.
At DANICS, he was posted in Daman and spent five years as general manager of Omnibus Industrial Development Corporation, where he was responsible for developing industrial estates and housing infrastructure. It was while working at DANICS that he decided to “upgrade his skills in finance”.
He won a full scholarship for a management course in finance and strategy at Vanderbilt University in the US. After graduating, he worked briefly at Morgan Stanley's securitized products group in New York and then later joined the Wachovia Bank.
"My friends often joke that I have covered the colloquial distance from Parliament Street to Wall Street," Gupta jokes about himself.
He returned to India to set up Wachovia's infrastructure finance business in the country.
In 2009, he joined GE Capital after Wells Fargo acquired Wachovia. He was the senior vice-president and leader of infrastructure finance business at GE Capital before moving to HDFC Bank in October.
“I had my fair share of working with multinational corporations (MNCs). Also, I have been tracking the developments at HDFC Bank for almost over a year now. I was very impressed with some of the people they hired, some of the deals they were involved,” Gupta said, explaining his move to the country's second largest private bank. For Gupta, the transition from the US to Delhi, and now to Mumbai, has been fairly smooth . It won't be long before he sets out to explore the city’s roads in his sedan.