“To win the Distinguished Alumni Award, especially in the entrepreneurial field, confirms what I have been doing,” Khosa said. “Not only growing the business, but leveraging it to make a difference in the lives of so many people.”
Despite graduating first in his class with his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Rajasthan, Khosa was unable to secure a job due to discrimination. He came to the United States to begin a research fellowship at the University of Maryland while getting his master’s degree in structural engineering. Things didn’t go as planned then either—before graduation, he was offered a job with the State of Maryland, but the offer was later rescinded due to the waning economy. Left with only $60 and two weeks before he had to vacate student housing, Khosa found a job in the post-tensioning industry—with no prior experience or knowledge in the field.
He began the job in 1971 at Atlas Prestressing Corporation as a design engineer and then moved on to become division engineer. He joined INRYCO Inc. in 1973, where he worked in sales, management, and consulting positions. Inspired by his colleagues, he applied to the Evening MBA Program, determined—due to the advice of a coworker who had graduated from Booth—to only attend the best business school he could.
“I felt that if I had to make myself better, and I had to have the best education, Booth is the place when you talk about an MBA,” Khosa said.
Two weeks before graduation, he found himself at a crossroads yet again. By then he was working at a different firm, and he resigned from his job, correctly predicting the company wasn’t a viable business. He was left with three options: find a job in the United States, go back to India, or start his own company. His father urged him to start his own venture, and out of desperation, Khosa set out to found AMSYSCO.
Time and again, Khosa has turned challenges into new opportunities. For example, in his Booth years, Khosa once received a low grade on a marketing paper after the professor didn’t grade two pages that had been stuck together. The instructor offered him the opportunity to write a new paper on marketing challenges and solutions for his employer. Khosa later drew on ideas from that paper when building AMSYSCO. While most post-tensioning companies focused on the lowest prices and limited technical support, he wanted his business to be grounded in customer service and high product quality.
With only $44,000 and no outside financing, Khosa started AMSYSCO in 1981 out of the basement of the home he shared with wife, Bharati, and son, Neel Khosa, ’07. Today, AMSYSCO is a midsize company based in Romeoville, Illinois, providing unbonded post-tensioning systems on commercial structures, including Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois; the Minnesota Twins baseball stadium and the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis; and Millennium Park and the Midway Airport parking garage in Chicago. More than 100 of its high-rise towers are listed in the skyscraper database of the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat—AMSYSCO’s largest market being downtown Chicago.
Now in its 38th year, AMSYSCO has continuously turned a profit—even during the financial crisis. Khosa attributes the company’s consistent success to client relationships and product quality, the pillars on which he built his business.
His own early hurdles have inspired Khosa to share that success by giving tremendous support to future generations of students. His generous gifts have established the Rattan L. Khosa Student Entrepreneurs Program at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago. He endowed the Rattan L. Khosa Scholarship, which provides support to Full-Time MBA students, giving preferential consideration to qualified Kashmiri Hindu Pandit students.
“Having been at Booth, and graduated from Booth, you have an education that not many people have,” Khosa said. “It gives a pleasurable feeling to belong to such a community of successful people spread around the world.”