Luis Miranda, ’89

Chairman and Co-Founder
Indian School of Public Policy

Luis Miranda

Luis Miranda is chairman and co-founder of the Indian School of Public Policy, which maintains an active partnership with the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. He is committed to helping India become a more prosperous society by training the next generation of public-policy professionals and grassroots leaders.

Miranda has taken on many roles in the public sector, finding synergies among the causes he supports to create even greater impact. He serves as chairman of both the Centre for Civil Society, a leading free-market think tank in India, and CORO, a grassroots leadership-development nonprofit. A cofounder of Take Charge, a mentoring program for Catholic youth in Mumbai, he is also chairman of ManipalCigna Health Insurance, a senior advisor at Morgan Stanley, a blogger for Forbes and Thrive Global, and an advisor for a wide variety of nonprofits in microentrepreneurship, gender equity, and education.

As an MBA student at Chicago Booth, Miranda was involved with the founding of LEAD, Booth’s hands-on leadership program—an experience that taught him to challenge the status quo and tackle difficult problems head-on. He helped found two highly successful and award-winning companies—HDFC Bank and IDFC Private Equity—and invested in the growth of Indian infrastructure before pivoting in 2010 to focus on capacity building in the social sector and his family. In support of his commitment to create purpose in his work, Miranda and his wife, Fiona, as signatories to #LivingMyPromise, have pledged to donate at least 50 percent of their wealth to charity.

An active supporter of Chicago Booth, Miranda helped kick off the school’s Alumni Leadership Learning Circles in India in 2019 and teaches in Booth’s Accelerated Development Program. He also serves as a trustee of the University of Chicago Trust in India, a member of the Advisory Council at the Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation, and a member of Booth’s Global Leaders Group–Asia.

Looking back on his student years, Miranda says he’s thankful for lessons learned from faculty members such as Marvin Zonis and Harry Davis, who showed him that there is more to life than finance, and George Stigler and Gary Becker, who helped him understand the benefits of limited government and the role of incentives in his personal and professional pursuits. 

Harry Davis:

I'm truly honored to introduce my friend, Luis Miranda, Chicago Booth’s 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award winner in the Public Service category.

An alumnus of the Class of ’89, Luis is chairman and cofounder of the Indian School of Public Policy, which maintains an active partnership with the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy. Luis has also taken on many, many roles in the public sector. He serves as chairman of both the Center for Civil Society, a leading free-market think tank in India, and Coro, a grassroots leadership development nonprofit, as well as cofounder of Take Charge, a mentoring program with Catholic youth in Dubai.

He's also chairman of ManipalCigna Health Insurance, a senior advisor to Morgan Stanley, a blogger for Forbes and Thrive Global, and an advisor for a wide variety of nonprofits in micro-entrepreneurship, gender equity, and education.

Luis is a very active supporter of Chicago Booth. He helped kick off the school's alumni leadership learning circles in India in 2019 and teaches in Booth's accelerated development program. He also serves as a trustee of the University of Chicago Trust in India, a member of the advisory council at The Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation, and a member of Booth's Global Leadership with Asia.

Throughout all of his work, Luis has remained committed to helping India become a more prosperous society by training the next generation of public policy professionals and grassroots leaders while supporting the Chicago Booth community, both in India and around the world.

So my friend, congratulations, and thank you so much for chatting with me today. Where do we possibly begin given this fascinating journey that you've been on since we first met and worked together when you were a student? Many of us desire a clear sense of destination and a plan for getting there. It's a purpose-driven life. There are others who seem to be more open to what might happen along the way, following a more purpose finding or emergent strategy. In reflecting on your life, where are you along that continuum and what would be some examples?

Luis Miranda:

Well, Harry it’s great to be in a room with you. And let me tell you I'm nervous. Okay. And there are two parts to what I've done in my life since we graduated. One is comparing myself to Forrest Gump, the movie. I've just been lucky that I've had a lot of people give me so many opportunities for which I would not otherwise have thought about, and that led to this fascinating journey. And at the same time, it's also the need to have purpose in what I'm doing. So when I look at both of these things together, it's created that journey for me. Way back in 1989, when I was struggling at Booth to get a job after the crash of ’87, I got an offer to interview over the Asia Pacific region of Citibank. I wasn't interested in going back to India at that time, but to me it was a free trip to New York. Literally, I got drunk the previous night because I wasn't interested in that interview.

And I meet this guy the next morning who talks about this fascinating job in India developing foreign exchange products for India, which I didn't know anything about. And I decided to take that because it was interesting. The pay was terrible. I was the lowest paid guy in my graduating class. But it was the excitement of being able to do something creative in India with a great organization like Citibank. And then went on to various other stages. So when I look, for example, at starting HDFC Bank, I was at that time working with another multinational bank and I realized that I had enough of being in a multinational organization. I wanted to be in an Indian organization. And then I get a call from someone who used to work with me saying, "Luis, we're starting a bank. Are you interested?" And I immediately jumped up and said, "Yes."

So I was the third banker to come onboard. We had no idea how successful we would be, but it was just the purpose of being able to build an Indian bank and prove that we can do something, which will make sense for middle-class India. And that, again, ended up becoming HDFC Bank, which is India's most valuable bank today. And similarly again, in 2002, when I was trying to figure it out what I'd do next, I went to one of my mentors, a gentleman called Deepak Parekh who was chairman of HDFC. And I told him I want to do something meaningful and I want to work part-time. And he said, "Listen, Luis, I don't have that lifestyle, but we've got a mandate from the government to set up an infrastructure fund. Would you be interested in setting up and running it?"

And I said, "Sure." And here was I setting up India's largest bond domestic fund at that time where I had never had any investment experience before, nor did I have any understanding of infrastructure, and that fund did exceedingly well. So the point is that I've been able to get these opportunities like Forrest Gump, thrown at me. A lot of people said no to those opportunities, I thought it made sense. And part of it, and we can talk about it later, what I learned at Chicago about challenging everything and looking at things differently and that's sort of done it.

But at the same time, it always had to have a purpose. The moment I left something was when the only reason to stay on was for the money. And that's when I realized it's time to go. And people have wondered, for example, when I left HDFC Bank, and I left valuable money options on the table, or when I left the IDFC Private Equity and I was leaving carry on the table. And I said, "Life's too short to worry about those things. There's so much more than one can do in life." And that's, again, lesson that I learned from you and Marvin Zonis, that there's more to life than just finance.

Harry Davis:

It seems to me that one of your strategies is been more often to say yes than no.

Luis Miranda:

I've said no a great...Sometimes I regretted saying no, but yes, it is. When someone throws up something interesting, like take, say, IDFC Private Equity. I wasn't the first person they spoke to about it. The government had given IDFC a mandate. And two months later, I reached out then not for that particular position, but just look at something. And I was said, would you be interested in this? And you know, to me, it was looking at it from a Chicago Booth angle, which, I mean, the people before that felt it wouldn't make sense. Nobody believed you could make money investing in infrastructure in India. But I looked at it and said, "The whole world's investing in India at that stage and expecting to see a large growth." And unless infrastructure got improved, that growth would not come. So infrastructure would get improved over time.

And so we were the first people investing as a fund in India's infrastructure. And we created a new model. I mean, and here was I, again, as someone who knew nothing about infrastructure and not made an investment in my life. We said, "We need to look at infrastructure differently than the rest of the world looks at it. So let's create a growth private equity approach to infrastructure and aggregate assets, which we could then take public." And we did that exceedingly well. We took four companies public, some of the largest developers at that...Today for people we invested earlier at that time. And it's really that ability, which I learned at Chicago, challenge everything, ask the tough questions. And I think you mentioned this sometimes to me, it's not about knowing the answers, it's about knowing the questions to ask, and that's so true.

Harry Davis:

You know, your comment about it also has to relate to purpose. I'm really interested in your role as chairman and cofounder of the Indian School of Public Policy. It strikes me that really relates very much to the notion of purpose. And I'd just be interested, what gives you the greatest joy in that endeavor? Or I should say this endeavor, which is ongoing.

Luis Miranda:

Sure. It's actually been interesting when I, when I look back at ’89, when I graduated, I'd never have thought that I'd have this enchanted life. And today now I hear am I starting the public policy school in India. It actually came about a few years ago when I was sitting with a friend, again, casual Forrest Gump moment. Just having lunch with a friend, a guy called Jay Shah, who was doing consulting work with the government. And he said, "Luis, this is, with all you’re investing, you should talk to another gentleman called Parth Shah who started the Centre for Civil Society.” And CCS is a free markets think tank, which was the only place in the country where you'd see a poster of Milton Friedman on the wall. And because I'd been through the Chicago school, studied with people like George Stigler, known Gary Becker, I just sort of so connected with the place.

And eventually now I am the chair of the board over there. And we run a program, a short program, and we've been doing it for over 20 years, teaching young people about policy. And when we talk to our alumni at CCS, a lot of them said that the most affirming experience they had was at the academy when they learned about policy. So we said, "Why don't we create a longer-term course?” We initially realized that there weren't jobs available, so there's no point setting up a course if we can't get them employed. And a couple of years later, we decided, we should do it. And to me, it was great being in another startup mode, this time with a nonprofit perspective. And so we obviously had to, like in any startup, we had to basically get the team in place. We brought a Dean in, a guy called Shubhashish Gangopadhyay, who's worked with the government, been in academia, and been with the Civil Society for a long time. We built up an academic advisory council.

My former chairman, Shri Vijay Kelkar, who has actually spoken at the Harris school a few years ago. So when I brought him down there, we asked him whether he would be the chair of our board and he agreed to do so. And we brought in people like Michael Greenstone at UChicago onto our academic advisory council, Balaji Srinivasan is on our governing council, and built up what we believe is the best in class advisors. So for us at the school, we brought in faculty members, again, through a lot of the networks that all of us have, which is great. And we set up the school in 2019. Sorry—2019, correct. And our first batch graduated in COVID times. It was a nightmare to figure out how we can place these guys in a market where people didn't fully understand what public policy is.

It was right into the storm. And so when I look at my role over there, it's been just a lot of fire-fighting, but it's been fascinating. First of all, developing the strategic vision and planning for ISPP, it's been fundraising. We were able to get that initial seed funding. And we're in the process now of raising more money, building out the academic advisory council, placing our students—that too sucked up a lot of my time over the last few months. And today when the graduate—when the course got over in July last year, only about 10 percent of the class was placed. Today 96 percent was placed.

Harry Davis:

That's terrific.

Luis Miranda:

So we really struggled a lot to get there. And then focusing on the student experience, and here again is something which you'd be interested to know. I run a course over there called the Antarang Leadership Lab and it's LEAD inspired. And one of the people who I got to help me over there is somebody who I'd been sort of talking to an advising over the years who just graduated from Booth. And it was a LEAD facilitator, Nadeem Khan. So you've seen the connection of Chicago all over the place. And finally at ISPP I was responsible for getting Chicago Harris as our partner. And so Chicago Harris has a presence in India, our students get a certificate in public policy from the Harris school.

Harry Davis:

Well, thanks to you we have a wonderful presence. You know, there's this, as you know, there's this neon sculpture in the Harper Center that reads, "Why are you here and not somewhere else?" And, again, when you talk about purpose, I'm very interested also in values. What are some of your enduring values and where did they come from?

Luis Miranda:

I think I like to be fair. I treat people fairly and many years ago one of my colleagues when he was leaving us and migrating to Canada, told me, "Luis, you've been my toughest boss, but you've also been the fairest boss I've ever had." And I remember that conversation. I think that's been the best compliment I've ever got from someone on my team. Because we have to deliver results so we got to be tough, but we got to be fair. And that sense of fairness is something that I learned from my parents. I am also been fortunate, you know Fiona, my wife, and it's great to have a supportive life partner who can be along the journey with you and carry on.

So that element of being fair, trusting, and being able to treat people right, is something which I think is important. You can't always give them what they want, but as long as they believe you're fair. I think we've been able to achieve a lot. I was talking to just someone who we'd invested in, this afternoon I was talking to somebody, and he was telling me that he's now raising some money from a new investor. And he said that the new investor reminds them a lot of what we were like 15 years ago in my old fund. And that's what something believes is important.

But you've talked about this neon sign, "Why are you here and not somewhere else?" And thanks to you bringing that to my notice many years ago, there are thousands of people in India who know that story about that neon sign. And this is something which I tell everyone. You got to periodically sit down and ask yourself the question, "Why are you here and not somewhere else?"

Harry:

Yep. It's a good question.

Luis Miranda:

Yep. And it's a great way to validate why you're still around and also for you to remember why you initially came on board over here. And if you are meeting those objectives, you should carry on. And at some times it's also a good way, a good time for you to reflect whether it's time for you to move on. That's such a powerful installation we have at Booth.

Harry Davis:

You mentioned your parents. We've never really explored that. And you said some of those values, particularly this notion of fairness, you attribute to some extent to your parents. Could you give us any examples of that?

Luis Miranda:

Sure. It's things that are not necessarily taught you explicitly, but things that you observe. The way they treat other people. They treat their...My dad would treat his team. The way they would treat the domestic staff that we have. The way we treat other people in the stores, elsewhere. It's just a basic courtesy to people that we're all human beings at the end of the day.

The second is that there's more to life than just making a lot of money. And I'm not saying it's wrong to make money. I think it's very important. It gives you a good lifestyle, it sort of affords you to do things with that money. But you got to do something more than just hold on to it. It's being able to give back and share with that. And these are things that I also observe my folks do. The way they would help other people. When my dad died, I wrote a blog about the lessons that I learned from him. And one of the comments made by one of his friends was that my dad's life was full of relationships and caring for people. And the things that they said about it was not about how he made him a lot of money, he didn't, but the fact that he really touched the lives of people. And when I die, I would love people to just say that about me, that I touched their lives in a meaningful manner.

Harry Davis:

Well, you you've done that, my friend, you really have. You know, recently I read the interesting article that you wrote titled “Never Negotiate With Yourself,” and it was, as you know, stimulated by your relationship with a mentor in your life, Marvin Zonis. Could you explain that rule which has guided you?

Luis Miranda:

So, one of the regrets is that Marvin didn't know that I'd won this award. He passed away just before this award was announced. And when I got this award, one of my reactions was how sad Marvin didn't know about it. He, like you, are two fabulous men who born at the same time one year apart, and just be fortunate to have, not just me, but our kids also have you guys in our life.

So the story on this was, we set up a scholarship, Bruce Rigal, another classmate of mine, and I, with others, set up a scholarship in Marvin's name, to get an international student in. And one particular year, we had this young lady from India win this award, and I told her, "Meera, when you land up in Chicago, drop Marvin an email and tell him you'd like to meet him."

She didn't. And three weeks later, he reaches out and tells her, "Young lady, you must have settled in. Why don't we catch up for a lunch?" And they got together. They had a three hour lovely conversation. And at the end of it, she told him, "You know, Luis told me that I should get in touch with you. And I couldn't figure out why would a senior professor want to meet a young student?" And he told her this great line. He told her, "Meera, life is complicated enough. Don't complicate it more by negotiating against yourself."

And to me, that was such a great lesson, because quite often in life, we anticipate someone saying no to us and don't bring up the issue. And I've just learned through people like Marvin, that: let someone else tell you no. What's the worst that can happen when you go with a ridiculous proposition? At least you're going to be told no, nothing's going to be worse than that. You're not going to die or something like that. You're not going to fail. So I just believe that I will always ask. I will always ask and let the other person say no, as opposed to me saying no instead.

Harry Davis:

Ahead of time. Yeah. It's so smart. But I think, you know, I used to teach marketing and there was always a sense with the salespeople, that the critical issue is how many calls do you make rather than what personal characteristics do you have necessarily. And, you know, you get a lot of no’s, but you also get a higher number of yes’s.

Luis Miranda:

I mean, if you don't ask, you will not get the yes.

Harry Davis:

Yeah. That's right.

Luis Miranda:

That's it. And I've done enough fundraising and I learned that many years ago. Fundraising, by the way, is the best way to knock off any ego in you. You get so many no’s told at you that you sort of suddenly become very empathetic to people.

Harry Davis:

No, one of the things that I we're trying to encourage our students to experiment, to learn about themselves and so forth. And sometimes they say, "Well, what if it doesn't work? Or what if I make a mistake?" And I always say, "Well, that's the way you learn."

Luis Miranda:

Yes.

Harry Davis:

When you think about your career, have there been instances that were challenging where perhaps you made a mistake, but learned something important?

Luis Miranda:

Oh, I've made a lot of mistakes. I have a lot of mistakes. And that's what life's all about. How do you manage risk that when you do something bad you minimize the hit to you? So that's important. It's not about avoiding risk, but about managing the risk so that you don't bleed. And I've had tough times and been able to sort of look back and at situations. For example, going back in 1989 to India. It wasn't fashionable to be back. The economy hadn't opened up yet. I just happened to be at the right time three years later when the economy opened up.

And for example, for our fifth reunion, I didn't make it to Chicago, because I couldn't afford to do so. But, you know, eventually things worked out, because if you are working with purpose and just doing what you do well...I keep telling people, "Don't focus on the money." When people come to me with ideas for business plan, etc, and they talk about, "Oh, this is to be worth a billion dollars." I immediately tune off. I'd rather instead ask the question, "How is it impacting the lives of people? How's it making people better?" And if I make money in the process, great. HDFC bank, when we started it, we never thought it's going to be the most valuable bank in the country. We just said, let's prove that we can build a bank, which is not a foreign bank, not a common bank, a bank that is driven by the private sector in India and efficient. And it worked.

Similarly, when we set out to, to privatize the airports in India, and I was part of the privatization of one of the airports. We built a world-class terminal, but the aim was not that we'd make a lot of money, but let's just build a world-class terminal that we all will be proud of. And it made money. So it's not about chasing the money. And, so right throughout, I mentioned, you know, when we were starting IDFC Private Equity people said, "You can't make money." But we proved that you can do it. So it's really asking those questions, and we got things wrong, of course.

In 2008, when the global financial crisis hit us, we got massacred. And what did we do at that time? I wrote to our investors immediately saying, that, you know, the markets are down 40 percent, so you can assume that a portfolio is also down pretty much. And we're going to figure out how to get things done and work things around. And some of our investor wrote back and said, "Why are you being so pessimistic? You're making my portfolio look bad because you guys are saying we're doing badly." And six months later, the rest of the world acknowledge that the world was actually much worse. So it was really about being upfront about it and telling them.

Or, for example, when we were raising our second fund, I had a Booth alum, by the way. And my whole life's also been surrounded by a lot of these boots connections. And he, together with me, set up IDFC Private Equity. And then in the middle of our fundraise for a second fund, he just leaves because he got an opportunity somewhere else. And again, it was like, you know, being slammed, that suddenly you're in the midst of fundraise. You've got, you just raised your first close, and your partner's gone away. And we even went back to the drawing board, called up all our investors.

Some of them said, "Luis, were you totally transparent with us that you waited for the first close before you told us this news." And I said, "No, we were sort of, this news came to me as a shock." And we put everything on pause. We told any of our investors, "If you want to leave, even though you're contracted to stay on with us, you're free to leave." No one left. At six months later, we had a replacement. We raised a much larger fund than we plan to do so.

So I just believe if you're transparent and open, both with your team as well as with your investors and your other stakeholders, it becomes so much easier.

Harry Davis:

You know, this so much reminds me of something I read, as you probably know, our former Dean and other, secretary of state, etc, etc, George Shultz passed away last Saturday.

Luis Miranda:

Yes.

Harry Davis:

And he was a very important role model for me and I should add also for Gene Fama who hired both of us in 1963. And when he turned 100, George wrote the following. I just wanted to read this to you. He wrote, "December 13 marks my turning 100 years young. I've learned much over that time. But looking back, I'm struck that there is one lesson I learned early and then relearned over and over. Trust is the coin of the realm. When trust was in the room, whatever room that was, the family room, the school room, the locker room, the office room, the government room, or the military room, good things happened. When trust was not in the wrong, good things did not happen. Everything else is details." When I read that, Luis, I found myself thinking about you. And I really mean that.

Luis Miranda:

Thank you.

Harry Davis:

How have you, maybe you've already touched on this, but I don't think we've used the word trust. You talk about fairness. But how have you gained trust and possibly how have you ever lost trust?

Luis Miranda:

Trust is so important, you know, and when you were saying this I was reflecting on the importance of it. And I've come back to a networking model that I've done in one of those points over there. To be able to network well is the ability to build up trust with people. It's just being open, even when negotiating on investments. So some of the people we've invested in have said, “Luis, you're just open. You basically state what you want and you figured out how to maneuver to get to where you are." I do it with colleagues, when I've had situations where someone on my team has come back and said, "Luis, you recruited somebody not new at a higher salary than I have been given. Why is it so?" And I've told them, "You got to trust me that there is a certain reason I've done it." And sometimes I could explain, sometimes I couldn't, and basically take it and make them realize that in the long-term, I'm not being unfair to them. It's really demonstrating that continuously.

So today, for example, I can go and talk to so many people in the government or else wise in business and ask them for a favor, because they know that I'm not doing it with a selfish interest, or if I ask them to do something it's because there's a genuine need to do so. When deals go bad, for example, sometimes people say, "Was there something shady about the deal? Was there something not kosher?" When we've done bad deals people have never really attributed it to, was there something shady about it? It was always okay, it was a bad investment decision. And we've all made those investments. We've made bad decisions. Sometimes I've actually lost money because we've trusted people too much. But I'd rather lose money by trusting someone than sort of be non-trusting right at the beginning, it's the best way to build up relationships.

Harry Davis:

It's a very important word, isn't it? And it really has a lot to do with how others see us and what we do. I was reflecting this morning. I wonder if you can share a favorite memory of your time as a student at Chicago?

Luis Miranda:

I don't know how…Ok, let's talk about two incidences. One is purely being involved with you in that winter weekend retreat at Lake Geneva in ’88, ’89, when we were trying to evolve over LEAD. And it taught me a lot of lessons, because Businessweek had, a few months ago, told us that at Chicago GSB, that we're not a top 10 school and we were all shattered. And I walked up you and said, "Harry, how can we help?" And you said, "Well, let's get a bunch of students together."

So we've got a bunch of students together. We drank a lot of beer at Jimmy's, and we basically talked about, “Why is it that we came to Chicago? Again, back to why are you here and not somewhere else? And at the same time, one of the things that we aren't sort of happy about what's over here?” And things that stood out for Chicago, the flexibility, the curriculum, the theoretical approach, as to why things happen, etc, what reasons that we all came to Chicago and were important. But at the same time, some of the softer parts of life were not over there. And then you very graciously, convened that winter weekend retreat in Lake Geneva, which I gather is still a tradition carrying on at LEAD.

And through that came LEAD. And I was excited when, two years later, the graduating students across Class of 1990 ranked Chicago number one, when two years back the students ranked at number 20. And they all said it was because of LEAD. And that experience of working with you was phenomenal and a great memory for me. It also taught me a lesson. Harry, LEAD was your baby. But you made all of us feel that it was something that we all did. And that's something which I've learned even in my business life. That be generous with giving people credit for it.

Harry Davis:

Yep.

Luis Miranda:

The end of the day it's important to get things done. It's not so much who gets the credit for it.

Harry Davis:

And that's true. It's true.

Luis Miranda:

Yes. And the second episode is something which I don't know whether I should be talking on this interview, but why not? So, it was Carnival. We had this festival in Booth, and I was going with my girlfriend at that time. We went as George and Barbara Bush. I went as Barbara, she went as George. And we had this picture taken of me by what's the name...She took this...She was heading the alumni [inaudible], Kathleen Carpenter, and she took this picture of me in a very compromising situation baring my breasts. And she pasted it on her door. And you said, "Luis, when you get rich and famous, I'm going to come to you with that picture and blackmail you to give a donation to the school." So, hopefully she's lost that picture, but it is memories like that which bring a smile to us. The times I hung out with Bruce and Win and the fun we had together staying in an apartment. These are the great times I had in Hyde Park.

Harry Davis:

Yeah. Well, I always remember when you came in my office, again, there was a genuineness about, "What can I do? What can we do to help out?" And why would I not say, "Absolutely"? You know, there were a lot of people that were complaining about, "Well, I went to the wrong school," or whatever, but you and—there was a team of people that had a very positive feeling about, “How can we turn this around?” And so the school owes you a great deal. You and so many others during that time.

Luis Miranda:

Thank you, Harry. But that's a lesson that you taught me, which is that it's easy to complain, but it's more fulfilling if you can fix that complaint.

Harry:

Yep. So finally, I like to ask just what does being the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award mean to you?

Luis Miranda:

You know, when I got the news, my first reaction was "Mom and Dad aren't around to be excited with this news. Nor with Marvin." Because they'd have been so excited with it. To me, it was fascinating, because I struggled as a student at times in Chicago. I took Gene Fama on my first quarter thinking that I was a very smart guy from India. And I realized I was pretty mortified then, and I struggled through his class. I struggled to get a job. And over the next 30 years, I've just been so lucky to have come across so many people who've helped me along the way and who I owe this award to. And one of them, for example, is a gentleman called Jerry Rao. I don't know whether you've met Jerry.

Harry Davis:

I have.

Luis Miranda:

But Jerry won the Distinguished Alumnus Award for Entrepreneurship many years ago. And my connection with him has been fascinating.

I got to know him in 1989 when I joined Citibank. I was a junior right at the bottom of the bank. He was the country head. And because we had a Booth connection, he called me over and we had a chat. And then we lost touch a bit. When I was at ChrysCapital, we invested in a company that he had started off, which was one of the first KPO companies in the country. And then I went back to ID...and I started IDFC Private Equity. I went to him and I asked him, "Jerry, would you be on my board?" And then he said, yes. And just stayed. He's been my friend, mentor, and counselor all these years. And now it's interesting, that I'm a mentor to his daughter.

So it's these connections, which all are reflected in, I guess, the excitement that I have to be, I feel good about getting this award. And I hope it's a lesson to a lot of other graduates who struggle sometimes at Booth, academically, or later on in life, earlier in life, when you are not doing so well professionally, that all of this can pass. And you can, if you just keep plugging along and being fair to people and executing well, you can get what you want.

Harry Davis:

Well, I can tell you that when I got the email that you had won this, I literally, I was in the room here and I literally just yelled, "Wow, this is great." And Sue came in and said, "What's wrong?" I said, "Nothing's wrong. I'm just cheering because I am so excited that Luis is the recipient of this award." Plus we had a chance to have this conversation, which feels like you and I are together in my office, and we're just having fun with one another.

Luis Miranda:

Thank you. But you know, Harry, I'd like to also, I don't know if we have time, but I want to talk also about what you also talked to me about learning from experiences. And it's so important that the learning that we do is not something we just happened for two years at Chicago Booth, but it's a lifelong learning experience. So when I was sitting with you in May 2019, and you talked about "How can we bring these lifelong learning programs to the alumni?" And I said, "Why don't we do it with the alumni in India?" And you immediately agreed and everything fell into place. But it's that frame of what you set up, which is so important for all of us to learn, which is observe, experiment, reflect, and share, and finally, apply. And that continuous circle of doing it is so important and so Chicago-like. Thank you.

Harry Davis:

Yep. You can bring hard skills to these soft skills, which is, become a story scientist. You know, test your stories that you hold to see if they're true or not. And you only do that by engaging with your experiences in a productive way.

Luis Miranda:

Yep.

Harry Davis:

Well, anyway, congratulations Luis, it's been wonderful to chat and give my very best to Fiona.

Luis Miranda:

Thank you, Harry. Thank you for the support over the years, and for all the guidance.