Kaushik Joshi, MBA ’05, joins Christopher Reichert, MOT ’04, to share learnings from his role as a Global Managing Director at Equinix and provide insight on the future of 5G and the impact it will have across sectors, particularly in tech and real estate.
Sloanies Talking with Sloanies is a conversational podcast with alumni and faculty about the MIT Sloan experience and how it influences what they're doing today. Subscribe and listen on Apple Podcasts, Google, and Spotify.
Christopher Reichert: Welcome to Sloanies Talking with Sloanies, a candid conversation with alumni and faculty about the MIT Sloan experience and how it influences what they're doing today. So what does it mean to be a Sloanie? Over the course of this podcast, you'll hear from guests who are making a difference in their community, including our own very important one here at MIT Sloan.
Hi, I'm your host, Christopher Reichert, and welcome to Sloanies Talking with Sloanies. My guest today is Kaushik Joshi, an MBA from 2005 who goes by KJ. So welcome KJ!
Kaushik Joshi: Thank you for having me. It's been absolutely a pleasure, honor, and a privilege.
Christopher Reichert: Thanks for joining us, and I know that we're both in snow conditions. I'm in Cambridge, Boston area, and you're in Lake Tahoe. So I bet your view is a little bit nicer than mine.
Kaushik Joshi: Well, again, I do miss Boston, not for its snow, but definitely, the views on the Charles River were amazing. You can compare Charles River versus Lake Tahoe.
Christopher Reichert: Yeah, it can be definitely. Again, do you have any plans to go skiing this week?
Kaushik Joshi: I'm not a skier, I'm actually a golfer. I didn't see snow until I was 27. Again, just to be very honest there, growing up in Mumbai, India, it wasn't a place where we found much snow.
Christopher Reichert: That's true. Well, so let me give some background before I start a conversation. KJ is currently the Global Managing Director who's responsible for all aspects of global relationships with Equinix's largest Platinum Hyperscale Cloud customers. Prior to that KJ was VP of Corporate Strategy at Equinix. A manager at Bain & Company and McKinsey, just after leaving Sloan. Prior to Sloan, Kaushik was at Perot Systems. On a side note, my almost first job, I should say, after college was at EDS, another [Ross] Perot company. Sometimes I wish I had actually done it, he was an interesting character, right?
Kaushik Joshi: He was, I learned a lot from him.
Christopher Reichert: And Kaushik is a native of Mumbai, he mentioned India, and he's also a US. citizen. He is fluent in six languages, which of them including English, and then your five native languages, right? He practices Hatha and Vinyasa yoga, enjoys Hollywood and Bollywood movies, which are fun, as well as sampling single malt, whiskeys and gins. Do you have any favorite gin, by the way?
Kaushik Joshi: Actually, it's Nolet. N-O-L-E-T. It's absolutely the best gin ever.
Christopher Reichert: What is it?
Kaushik Joshi: No, it's N-O-L-E-T, Nolet. It's actually a Dutch gin and one of the finest gins that you'll ever taste.
Christopher Reichert: Oh, I'll have to try it. I ran across some Boodles last night, and it brought me back to some nights in college with some friends, and thanks to Facebook, allowed me to let them know. On the last but not least, he's been married for over 20 years, and has two teenage or almost teenage children. I'm just about to enter the teenage stage myself with my kids.
Kaushik Joshi: Thank you, Christopher. Well, today is my 22nd anniversary.
Christopher Reichert: 22nd, congratulations!
Let's see where to begin? I think that you have a technology thread throughout all your work. At EDS, sorry at Perot Systems, and then at McKinsey and Bain, you've always been focused on the technology sector. First I guess, on analyzing it, right? Tell us a bit about that, the work maybe in McKinsey and Bain that led you into Equinix.
Kaushik Joshi: Yeah, sure. And you're spot on. I mean, I have been passionate about technology ever since my... In fact, my undergraduate degree is in electrical engineering. And then I joined Perot Systems, which was eventually acquired by Dell. I focused on technology, worked all over the world. Then at McKinsey, I served a lot of clients in the technology space. I had clients that were in the hardware, semiconductor, software and services all the way to SaaS, and the new cloud platform.
I was fortunate enough to have seen the entire value chain across the technology spectrum, both at McKinsey and at Bain. And that gave me a very good vantage point into what I really wanted to do going forward, which was I wanted to be in a technology industry, which was going to be providing infrastructure as the world was getting more and more digitized and shifting to an online world.
I found Equinix, which is a very small data center company, back in the day at 11 years ago when I decided to join them, and I thought that they had a huge potential, and that'll give me the right platform to actually implement what I've learned in my consulting days. And so finally after seven years, I decided to quit consulting, and go into an operating role into a real operating company, which was focused on technology and real estate infrastructure.
It's been an amazing journey. The company had less than a thousand employees. Back when I joined, they were a few hundred million in revenue, and the company is now 6 billion plus in revenue, 70 billion market gap, 11,000 employees. So it's been a tremendous journey.
Christopher Reichert: Wow, that's a huge change. It’s number one, I guess, in the data colocation.
Kaushik Joshi: That is correct. We are the largest colocation and the data center provider globally. Today we operate in over 225 locations worldwide. And again, it's been a phenomenal growth and journey when we serve a variety of digital providers—whether it's Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook's of the world—or large enterprises like Pfizer's, and Exxon's, and Chevrons of the world. We are end-to-end service provider, to both cloud service providers as well as enterprises. It's been again, an amazing journey, and it's great to be a contributor to that journey.
Christopher Reichert: I was thinking of that my Facebook posting on the Boodles gin probably went across an Equinix data center at some point yesterday.
Kaushik Joshi: Very likely.
Christopher Reichert: I guess, the question I'm looking to get here is unpacking the business model of Equinix. There's clearly the data component, which is the 10 millisecond or less latency between data centers and information. There's the providing, I guess, an agnostic colocation center for competitors. You might have competitors in the same space, and there's a trust component there that goes with that. But I want to just start with 5G first.
Kaushik Joshi: Sure.
Christopher Reichert: This has been one of these rollouts that's driving a lot of market interest. I got a new phone, it's 5G enabled. To be honest, I haven't really noticed huge difference, I think that I'm... Just to unpack 5G for a moment, it seems to me that there are three versions that I'm aware of. There's the low band 5G, which is about 20% faster than LTE. LTE seemed fine, but midband six times faster, and then, mmWave which is 10 times faster. Those are kind of techie stuff, right?
Kaushik Joshi: Yes.
Christopher Reichert: And in my experience as a CIO and as a consumer, even at my own house now that everything's remote, wireless is less reliable and robust than wired. And there's a lot of talk about 5G opening up new opportunities, and new markets, and new potential. Where does Equinix fit in that side of it? And how do we close the gap between wired reliability and wireless reliability, and how does that drive market growth, as you guys see it?
Kaushik Joshi: Christopher, lots of good questions buried in there. And so, let me start with where we are in the 5G journey as an industry, I'm not going to talk about Equinix. But the infrastructure is still getting laid out in terms of towers, and software, and the edge locations as we call it. And we are still in the early stages of the S-curve as we call it, and I'm sure you're familiar with the S-curve.
Christopher Reichert: Right.
Kaushik Joshi: And so, while the devices are ready, the applications and the use cases—and I'm going to use the word use cases and I'm going to describe some of those use cases—they are actually not ready. Some of the prime use cases for 5G would be autonomous vehicles. Today we only have, or we're still in early days of what Tesla and many other automotive manufacturers are testing, in terms of autonomous vehicles. For that to really be operational, we need a really good 5G infrastructure that can actually enable a real-time monitoring, tracking, and management of autonomous vehicles, right?
Second very good use case would be VR and AR. In today's world, I'll give you a very simple example, if my customers want to do a virtual visit of one of our data centers, because they are not able to visit it because of COVID, they still have to go to a reliable fiber infrastructure, which is physical and not wireless. But we fully anticipate that by 2025, and I think they are three years away from that maturity curve, when the infrastructure is going to be fully laid out across the country. And in many cases, a lot of other countries, it could be Singapore or Western Europe, and there's a rollout that's happening all around the world.
Number two would be a lot of applications and use cases that are still early days in testing, whether it's autonomous vehicles, virtual reality, whether it's even robotics. For example, today we are seeing surgeries, early days of surgery, being performed remotely. Now, to be able to do some of that while I'm sitting here, let's say in Lake Tahoe, and I'm not a physician or a surgeon, but if I wanted to do it in Bay Area, the latency and all of the physics will come into play, right? I think we are two, three years away from a lot of these 5G applications, whether it is industrial IoT, whether it's autonomous vehicles, manufacturing, there's a numerous set of applications that will be ready from both from a user perspective as well as adoption perspective.
While the infrastructure is slightly ahead, the users are actually not ready for something like that. Today what you're using 5G for is basically surfing Netflix on your phone while you are going to be traveling on a plane or a train. You are a business to consumer, right? Sort of application or use case. The real value is in business to business. And that is going to drive a huge change in the way the industry is going to see adoption.
But what we are doing is we are investing heavily in our edge infrastructure. We are evaluating different factors of our data centers, including some of a smaller compact data centers under a cell tower. We are also evaluating acquisitions in this space. We are partnering with leading tower companies.
There's a lot going on in this space where Equinix will be a natural player, where our large core data centers will be in large campuses, but then we'll have hundreds of small locations. Our edge data centers sitting under a cell tower, or in a remote location, it could be in Alaska, it could be in Africa, where we are essentially enabling 5G traffic.
Christopher Reichert: So that, I guess the idea as I visualize that, that means getting it out of wireless and onto wired infrastructures as quickly as possible to close the gap, and maybe keep the bandwidth freer, I suppose for other applications?
Kaushik Joshi: That is correct.
Christopher Reichert: There have been some controversies about a 5G rollout. Well, let's talk about the amusing one first—conspiracy theories. You're a fan of Breaking Bad, I understand, right?
Kaushik Joshi: I am. Absolutely.
Christopher Reichert: Did you ever watch a Better Call Saul?
Kaushik Joshi: Yes, I have.
Christopher Reichert: Well, if anyone hasn't watched it, by the way, if you like Breaking Bad, you'll like Better Call Saul, because it continues the great storyline, but a little less dark. It's not too much less dark, but still. Anyway, one of the characters, if you might recall, was Saul's brother, the kind of the wacky, esteemed lawyer who had all sorts of radiation hypersensitivities. And of course, there've been all sorts of confluences of conspiracies between Coronavirus, news skeptics, fake news, and 5G just seems to be stuck in the middle there.
And I'm wondering, so this is now maybe a societal question more than a technical question, but why do you think that happened at that moment? Is it disenfranchisement from the people who don't have technology, and are frustrated that they don’t, and they're seeing this as a way of holding them down? Or what do you think is behind that?
Kaushik Joshi: Some of it is lack of education and awareness. Some of it is also fear, uncertainty, as you call it F.U.D. Fear and uncertainty are big drivers of some of that. And in all fairness, there's not enough data and evidence out there. It's still early days to prove the theory one way or the other. Back in the '50s and '60s, we had physicians recommending smoking, right? And there were advertisements that had to say, you should be smoking one pack of Camel a day. And 30 years later, now we know that was not the brightest idea.
Christopher Reichert: Right, maybe with Coca Cola with cocaine, right? [laughter]
Kaushik Joshi: And the point being, I think there is still some... I'm not a physician, I'm not saying one way or the other, whether it's humble, or we just don't have the data to support it one way or the other. All I can say is that again, you cannot be in denial. Technology is here to stay, advancements are here to stay. We can build a better mouse trap. If you learn that let's say certain radiation is not exactly appropriate for a human body, then let's not have cell towers on the rooftop, not for building. Let's have a cell tower that's a little bit further away.
Again, I think the design evolution will actually guide, and will be guided based on what we learn over a period of time. And the same way we now have non-smoking airplanes, right? I mean, back in the '70S and '80s, smoking was allowed and there was a separate section. Now we don't have it because the data has told us that this is not good, right? I think we will evolve from a design, and form factor perspective and say, "If it is harmful, let's actually take away those cell towers away from our buildings." What I would say is we don't have to fear technology, we have to embrace it, be able to find a way to get around some of the challenges it produces.
Christopher Reichert: Educate, absolutely. I remember just on the smoking on plans, hilariously back, I guess in the '90s I flew on a Cathay Pacific flight, and I think I was assigned row 45 and smoking began at row 46. And I just remember thinking, this is ridiculous. I am completely getting smoked upon, as if there's some sort of invisible shield between the two rows, right?
Kaushik Joshi: And imagine you are a smoker on the other side, you're saying, "Why is he fearing it so much." But I think it's a perspective, I definitely don't want to beat up the people who are paranoid about it. I think there's just not enough data out there, but if there is data out there, we will have to find a way around it.
Christopher Reichert: The other controversy that I've read about, and you touched on, was this the small mini colocation centers, I guess. And I've been reading recently about people up in arms in Houston, about these big refrigerator size boxes appearing on their sidewalks, or lawns, or neighborhoods, which to me is a hand-fisted, obviously the deployment of 5G. How do you see the edge strategy being deployed in a way that doesn't do that sort of thing?
Kaushik Joshi: I think, again, it goes back to the point around where we are going to locate the towers. Some of these edge colocation centers or edge data centers will have to be closer in proximity to these towers. And just like we are very neutral and we serve all the major cloud providers and major content providers, whether it's Netflix, or Prime, or we are neutral. Similarly, tower companies are neutral, you'd have antennas from T-Mobile, Sprint, and with AT&T and Verizon.
The idea being that let's locate these towers in locations where they're actually... If the residents are out opposing it, then you are to find locations where they're going to be away. The proximity and location is going to be very, very important. Again, it's a little bit of a sidebar, I own a couple of childcare centers on the side. And then in some of those childcare locations, we don't want a gambling site close by or we don't want... There are certain restrictions on location.
It's all about real estate, where you're located, and you're going to have to find a way around it. And we have to basically say, "Where can we locate it in within a reasonable geographic distance that is not intrusive or objectionable by a resident?"
Christopher Reichert: In terms of Equinix and 5G specifically, I mean, as a data center—which moves data from point A to point B, and et cetera—is 5G just kind of like a fire hose of data that's opening up, or are you guys actually using the 5G technology yourselves leveraging it? We're going to be a 5G provider, so to speak, as opposed to-
Kaushik Joshi: No, we will not be a service provider and we are not leveraging it so far. It's still early days for us, but we are not... Again, the strategy is evolving, our role in the ecosystem is evolving. In some cases, we partner with the tower companies, in some cases we want... And the service partners like whether it's Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile. And then we also partner with other service providers like AWS, Microsoft, and Google, who are also trying to enter the space. The ecosystem is still evolving, the roles are not yet defined. And I think over the next 12, 18, 24 months, it's going to get clearer. And we are definitely putting in a lot of energy and focus on this area.
Christopher Reichert: I wondered about some of those big players—Amazon and Google, and probably Facebook—are famous for bringing a lot of their technology in-house. So they own the entire stack. Do you see that happening more and more?
Kaushik Joshi: I do, I do, because that's the other, what I call frontier, they have already captured the homes, whether it's through Amazon Prime and Amazon. They've already looked at corporate data centers, but now Edge is the next frontier, where the battle is going to get played out between the big players. In fact, Amazon just launched their 5G Wavelength product in Boston, Houston, San Francisco, and one more market, I think Miami.
Christopher Reichert: And that's a B2B product?
Kaushik Joshi: That's a B2B product, correct.
Christopher Reichert: Does that mean that the cost of business is going to go up in terms of, particularly now in the real estate side of things, literally owning the spot where the center is or the edge center is?
Kaushik Joshi: It's already happening. I mean, you're seeing a pretty big consolidation in the space where American Tower, SBA Communication, and Crown Castle, the top three players are scooping up the small players, and there's a lot of consolidation already happening in the tower industry. And similarly that's happening in the data center industry too. I mean, Equinix and Digital Realty, two major players are essentially consolidating the industry.
Christopher Reichert: Interesting. And so do you think that the importance of 5G in the daily life of, I guess, B2B, but also B2C, do you think that the value of say, a 5G rollout, and I'm not sure which one is really going to... I don't even know which one I'm using on my phone, but it is what it is, right? I'm dependent on whatever T-Mobile, whom is my carrier, decides to do in terms of speed. But do you think that it's the importance of this new technology is that licensed and unlicensed technologies can flourish? So IoT in the house, and also generating data for all of you?
Kaushik Joshi: Absolutely. And I think you will not be able to envision today some of the applications that are possible going forward, and a number of things that you will be able to do while being on the road and while being mobile, and away from a computer attached to do a wired network or wifi network. And the applications are numerous, the potential of this technology is huge. And I think it can actually make a lot of difference in areas without access to internet. In fact, today 89% of the United States has access to internet access, so the U.S. population, roughly 90%. There's still 30 million people or 33 million people out there who do not have access to regular internet. I mean, that's pretty big in my opinion, and those who have, the pandemic has actually made it very obvious that all things are not equal. And when a lot of families who do not have the infrastructure to be able to support a child to do remote schooling on Zoom, they just don't have the basic internet infrastructure at home. I think those are the possibilities of what can be accomplished with 5G, and not just in the U.S., but in countries like Africa, economies like Southeast Asia. You are enabling internet access to seven billion people.
Christopher Reichert: Before we started recording this, you talked about growing up in India, and how high school graduations and proms was, you went, you came home, and went back to homework and your chores, because you were competing with 1.3 billion other people to get ahead in a developing economy. Do you think... I mean, for me that 10% that you talked about that are missing from internet access, just in the U.S., not to mention the other billions who are further behind. For me, it's a competitive component that would make sense for, I would think, so the government or large companies or whatever to invest in. So that is a competitive edge.
Part of what I noticed about Equinix is that it is clearly a technology company. A lot of expertise when it comes to the actual technology of moving bits from A to B, but it is a strong real estate company as well. It has to have the locations for its investment colocation centers. From what I understand, it kind of brings together a couple of interests of yours. Tell me about that side of the business and where do you think that goes?
Kaushik Joshi: Absolutely. We at Equinix are a real estate investment trusts, which operates differently than a regular C-corporation. We are listed as a REIT, and so definitely the real estate is a very big component of what we do. And technology is getting differently disrupted in a lot of different vectors, but as I touched on earlier, the real estate is now getting disrupted in a very big way.
We are technology, whether we are talking about intelligent automation, whether we are talking about the edge data centers, towers, or the fiber infrastructure, all that is actually physical real estate. And the real estate as we saw it 5, 10, 15 years ago, and as you see it now is going to be very, very different. For example, the office infrastructure, COVID has shown us that people can work from anywhere.
What does it mean in terms of office buildings, and how they're designed, and collaboration? Real estate as a sector, which is half of the world's wealth is concentrated in real estate, is getting disrupted in a massive way. And technology has a very significant role. Equinix is certainly trying its best to be the digital infrastructure provider in this area, the preferable digital infrastructure provider. But we do believe that there is a material opportunity going forward, where even MIT, and graduates of MIT who have a bank for real estate and technology, have something to offer, particularly as the real estate industry is getting heavily disrupted.
Christopher Reichert: Interesting. Every country must have its own rules and regulations for how to engage with real estate. How does Equinix, what is it doing to kind of buildup expertise there or keep abreast of probably a very complex transaction?
Kaushik Joshi: We definitely have a lot of people; we are a highly distributed global company. I personally have over 75 team members across the globe. Again, our headquarters is less than 400 people, and we are 12,000 people employed company. As you can see, everybody's highly geographically distributed, we have experts on the ground, we work a lot with partners, or brokers, infrastructure specialists, and government, to essentially identify the right infrastructure.
Even in infrastructure, I also put in the physical infrastructure, which is the buildings and the warehouses or data centers, but I include fiber, because it's a very important component. And number three would be power, because power is such a big ingredient and component of what we will offer. Fiber, power, and physical real estate are three important ingredients in our business. And we have a very significant amount investments going in three areas, including sustainability. Today we want to make sure all our data centers are highly sustainable, the power resources renewable, so on and so forth.
Christopher Reichert: Interesting. And I know historically that data centers were located on a crossroads of the railroad system, which had a lot of land to lay cables and whatnot. Do you think that throughput on 5G will disrupt even that model?
Kaushik Joshi: It will definitely. And now we are also talking about satellites, not just 5G, but companies like Amazon, they just got their patents approved for nearly three and a half thousand mini satellites into orbit. It's not just going to be 5G, but also satellites. Everything is going to be above ground, and so what happens to all the billions of dollars of fiber that has been laid already. I think definitely there's a massive disruption in the real estate technology segment that's coming in the next 5-10 years.
Christopher Reichert: That's amazing, I'm interested to watch how it unfolds.
You know what? There was one thing I did want to go through, but I can talk to you now about it, was I've never heard of this True Colors style summary, it looks fascinating.
Kaushik Joshi: True Colors is, again, it's very much like Myers-Briggs, it's a slightly more simplified and there are four personality types and the colors. And so, gold has been basically my personality type, but it's closer to, I would call it an ISTJ, ESTJ, they're also variant. And then there's blue as somebody who is more people-oriented. Then there's green who's bigger picture and strategic. And then there's orange, which is... There are four different colors and it's a slightly simpler variant of Myers-Briggs.
Christopher Reichert: I think if I look at this close to now, I'm probably in the blue territory.
Kaushik Joshi: Oh, well, no wonder you're a great people person doing all these interviews and I am a super gold.
Christopher Reichert: On Myers-Brigg, I'm ENFP, and actually the E, I've done it so many times, but I did it at Sloan. I did it at the Harvard Kennedy School, I've done it, whatever. And the E is oftentimes have had these little dot matrix stars they used to put on them. And E was like off on the margin, like about the fall off the page of mine.
Kaushik Joshi: If you realize, we both are absolutely really opposite, I'm an ISTJ and you've got an ENFP, we are completely opposite personalities. And that's what's amazing about the tool that I learned in back in Sloan, and because we did our Myers-Briggs and it helps... Where people come from and their personality types, and this has been a tool that I use all the time, even after-
Christopher Reichert: As I reflect on it, I also took one called the Johnson O'Connor Foundation had this test. And it was one of those things where at the end of the day, they gave you kind of like, here's what you seem to like, right? It's not that you can't do anything. For example, for me it was design and architecture. I got like a 97% retention on, they give you tests, and I did them. And not so much accounting. They said, "Look, we're not saying you can't be an accountant, but we can think you can be happier over here."
Kaushik Joshi: It's always good to know before. I wanted to be making movies, and then finally, when I did my Myers-Briggs and I'm like now, I'm going to be a very good businessperson, but I'm not going to be a great movie maker. I'm not going to waste my time.
Christopher Reichert: The ambivalence. It's true, I'm really comfortable in that middle zone where your ideas are kind of floating around, and that makes other people very uncomfortable. They kind of want to get to the decision, type of thing. And I'm like, well-
Kaushik Joshi: NF and P, you're definitely a blue.
Christopher Reichert: Yeah, I think so. First of all, I liked your PowerPoint, this whole thing, I'm going to shamelessly steal it. But the 10 lessons learned from working with Amazon, they're long-term thinking, the customers not competitors. Frugality is good, I believe in that too. Metrics that matter most, margins versus cashflow, it's really interesting stuff. It's a good way to present your journey.
Kaushik Joshi: I mean, first of all, in all full disclosure, I actually, whenever a new team member comes into my team, I actually use this to orient them, because I want them to really understand... I have about 75 people in my team, and I always take the first day, one hour with them and say, "This is how I'm thinking about it, you can oppose whatever I'm saying, but you must propose an answer." Because it's hard to orient people and make them comfortable, but at the same time, let them... Setting a set of ground rules and saying, "Here's what I expect from you."
And the bar is high, and they gave me Amazon principles, right? You're not going to accept mediocrity. And literally the business has grown 4X. And because of a very large global team, I've people in Japan, Australia. It's very difficult to align them unless you actually present a very consistent, crisp and say, "This is what I need, I need you to know that, look, I'm a human, I have children, I have all of that, I have hobbies. If you can talk about all that, but I also expect results."
Christopher Reichert: Right. I was wondering how you managed the expectations when people aren't on the same page in a positive way.
Kaushik Joshi: This tool has worked really well for me because that also shows I'm vulnerable, I'm open to show what's my personality type, what's my leadership style. And I use this every single time there's a new team member who joins my team. I send this in advance, so they read. And then it's a dialogue and that allows them to open up a little bit and say who they are.
And sometimes people are not comfortable talking about their family situation, or their leadership style and all of that. If you are a vulnerable and if you show your both sides. So you want to be a challenging leader and get the best out of your people, but also be an understanding and collaborating individual.
Christopher Reichert: The strengths and challenges columns were interesting as well. So you admit that your stubbornness, your unintentional harshness, but I think people, like you say, if people understand where you're coming from, it may be a depersonalizes it and they go, "Oh, that's just KJ, but what's the underlying message that he's trying to give me?”
Kaushik Joshi: That's right. And I think that is how to overcome what normally takes six months of getting to know each other and dancing around and getting to know people, one hour we are able to get through. And when this person reads this, I mean, you were able to get to know me very quickly without actually having to ask a lot of basic questions.
Christopher Reichert: That's true, absolutely. But that aside, I want to come to Sloan for a moment. How did you choose to Sloan of all the business schools? Going back to graduate school, how did you choose?
Kaushik Joshi: Yeah, great question. In fact, my wife and we toured... I won't name names, but we went to Philadelphia, went to Chicago, we went across the river in Boston. And fortunately I had a couple of choices, and when I did the ambassador program and I actually spent some time at Sloan. And the people I met, they were just like me, they were builders, they were developers, technologists, extremely humble people.
In fact, by nature, even after all these years, I'm still an introvert. I am not the first person to go on and jump on a stage and go rah rah. And I think I just found more like-minded people, and I really felt comfortable and at home at MIT, and I felt like this was my kind of school, compared to anything else I saw in Philadelphia, Chicago, or across the river in Boston. And I just connected better.
When I did programs in one of those schools, I won't name it. One of the ambassadors of that school came and picked me up in a BMW and he took me to his apartment, which was a really nice apartment. And I'm like, "Okay, I'm not a trust fund kid, nor am I a legacy child." And I just couldn't connect with that person, he was a great individual, but it just was a difference in the way I was brought up. The way I connected with people at MIT, I just felt at home.
Christopher Reichert: What role did your partner play in going to Sloan?
Kaushik Joshi: First of all, we had spent a couple of years in Boston. So living in Boston was definitely one of the factors compared to living in Chicago or Philadelphia or any other city.
Christopher Reichert: Wait, wait. I'm from Philadelphia, be careful.
Kaushik Joshi: Well, I'll take that back then. Again, it's just my wife Rajni, she has been a partner, a wonderful partner for so many years, now 22 years. In fact, we’ve been seeing each other for 25 now. So it's almost a quarter century. And I think she really liked Sloan, she connected with the significant others at Sloan. We did some C-functions, there was a really good opportunity for her to meet with like-minded spouses.
In fact, she was pregnant at that time and we were expecting our first child, and she connected with some expectant mothers and of course, significant others. And so the bond she was able to form, with other significant others at Sloan, was very material. And that definitely helped me lean more towards Sloan compared to some of the other options I had.
Christopher Reichert: And do you have any courses that you remember you took or lost over memories?
Kaushik Joshi: Absolutely, the two of my favorites were, Roberto Rigobon's microeconomics course. And I actually took... Economics was one of my absolute favorite subjects always, and at Sloan, it was also my favorite topic. And then Andrew Lo, finance, and Andrew Lo was really one of my favorite professors. Both allowed me to get really good detail... As a technologist, two areas where I didn't have a good grounding in was economics and finance. And t Sloan really rounded me off there. And even today I am grateful for all the skills I picked up in modeling and particularly accounting and finance. I'm using it in my daily life even now. I mean, it's just an amazing gift that I got from Sloan.
Christopher Reichert: Do you keep in touch with many of your classmates?
Kaushik Joshi: I am, in fact right before the holidays, my core team in my cohort, we all got together. Jennifer, Brian Roughan, they're both in Boston right now. And Matt Vokoun, who's in the Bay Area. We all got together and got on a call. So yes, we try and speak at least once a year, if you can.
Christopher Reichert: That's fantastic. Do you have any do-overs? Anything you missed that you wish you had done?
Kaushik Joshi: Engage more on the MIT undergraduate courses on campus, and get to know more people in non-Sloan programs. I think as I think more and reflect more on it, MIT had so much to offer. And think I should have done at least a few courses at the MIT campus, and spent some more time in the Infinite Corridor. I mean, Sloan is a little bit isolated in a separate building on the other side of the campus, and I really wish I had spent more time on the MIT campus.
Christopher Reichert: I feel fortunate that I'm here in the Boston area, so I can take advantage of the IAP when they offer them to the local alumni. But maybe with more remote, and 5G, I guess, it'll be easier to do that.
Well, thanks very much Kaushik Joshi, KJ-
Kaushik Joshi: Absolutely.
Christopher Reichert: For joining me on Sloanies Talking with Sloanies. This has been a pleasure to meet you and get to know you.
Kaushik Joshi: Thank you very much for having me. Again, it's an honor and a privilege, so anytime I can be of help to other Sloanies, I'm happy to be, please feel free to reach out to me. And thank you again for having me.
Christopher Reichert: My pleasure, my pleasure. And I'm going to go and get a bottle of Nolet gin.
Kaushik Joshi: Nolet, yes, please.
Christopher Reichert: Excellent.
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