The saying, “the only constant is change” certainly rings true for alumnus Guli Rajani, MS CoE ’68. Over the years, Guli has experienced a series of changes and transitions in his professional life, all of which he reflects back on as learning experiences and opportunities for growth.
In fact, even as a young adult, he embraced the idea of change and moved from India to Philadelphia in order to continue his education at Drexel University. He experienced the first of many transitions when he moved to America – leaving behind his family and his familiar surroundings.
“I didn’t plan on staying in the U.S. but after I earned my Masters, I got so many job offers I changed my mind,” Guli said.
His first job was as a process development engineer with Pfizer Inc., one of the largest global pharmaceutical companies, based in New York City. Throughout his years with Pfizer, he also held senior positions in research and development, operations audit and international strategic planning, M &A, etc.
Already, Guli had learned the benefits of varied work experiences through his many positions at Pfizer.
“I found that if I stayed within the same department, a chance for advancement was slower,” Guli said. “If you’re willing to take a risk and move into a new department, the opportunity for growth is often much faster.”
He also went on to explain the difference between finding the right company and finding the right position within that company.
“Joining the right organization or company is sometimes more important than taking the right job,” he said. “Once you are in an organization that you know is a good fit for you, there is often opportunity to change positions and move around. But if you are with an organization that you’re not happy with, no matter how much you think you like the job, you’ll never really be happy.”
After Pfizer, he made a career change as the director of corporate finance with Standard Brands, a consumer products packaging company. He drew from his experiences as an operations auditor at Pfizer to help him in his new job with Standard Brands.
“I found a connection even though they were very different jobs in different industries,” Guli said. “In both positions, the training of an advanced degree in engineering and my MBA in International Marketing/Finance enabled me to apply the same analytical skill sets.”
Throughout the years, Guli worked in senior finance officer and treasurer positions for a number of other companies including Nabisco, RJ Reynolds, Chase Manhattan Bank, WG Trading and Consolidated Edison. Just some of his transitions include going from chemicals to pharmaceuticals to auditing to finance to investment banking to private equity funds. But each time he took a new position, he kept with him the many things he had learned in his past experiences and used them to his advantage.
A milestone accomplishment during his career was when he served as vice president and treasurer during and after the largest leveraged buyout at that time of RJR Nabisco.
In 2000 he decided to venture into yet another new position – an entrepreneur in the legal services support area. Guli is currently Chairman and CEO of his company, Infocache Corporation, a New York-based litigation service and data management company with offshore facilities in Mumbai, India.
In addition, he recently launched RKS Legal Solutions, LLC which offers a series of IP support services to law firms, attorneys, corporate and individual inventors for their various IP and associated legal services support needs.
“Something I realized right away is that if you want to be an entrepreneur, you need to be willing to do everything and anything,” he said. “Looking back, I wish I had started my company at a younger age. Enthusiasm and high energy are things you have when you’re younger but experience is something you gain with age. As an entrepreneur, enthusiasm and energy are two really critical traits to have.”
Guli wanted to share some advice with current Drexel students and young professionals.
“You should not view yourself as an engineer, scientist, accountant, and so on,” he said. “Rather, you should view yourself as a problem solver. That way you will be ready for transition because you have a more open mind and are exposed to addressing new problems, opportunities and situations.”
He went on to explain why students should seek the difficult courses, not always the ones that will get you an A.
“Sometimes it is the experience that you have that is more important than the grade you receive and valuable experiences in the classroom will really help you get ahead in life.”
And his final nugget of knowledge, perhaps the golden rule by which he has lived his entire life, is, “Given today’s fast-moving times, it is best to embrace and be ready for change. Keep reinventing yourself as needed to get ahead.”
Information about Guli’s companies can be found at www.infocachecorp.com and www.rkslegal.com