x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Key points to remember for Indians when returning home

Kartik Varma and Dhruv Agarwala give advice to Indians settled oversees who are planning to return to India.

Kartik Varma and Dhruv Agarwala, who graduated together from Harvard Business School in 2002, quit high-paying corporate jobs in the West to return to India five years ago.

Mr Agarwala left General Electric in the US and Mr Varma quit the Children's Investment Fund in the UK to set up iTrust Financial Advisors. It is a personal-finance company in Gurgaon that offers a range of services covering mutual funds, insurance, tax and financial planning.

Their advice to Indians settled oversees who are planning to return to India is as follows:

Come with a long-term growth strategy and vision. Don't expect to see money immediately. You should plan to be here for the long haul.

Never compare your salary with your peers in the West. You will feel like a loser. A fresh MBA graduate might easily make US$500,000 (Dh1.8 million) a year in financial services in the US, but do not expect to land a 20m rupee (Dh1.65m) job as soon as you arrive in India. If you decide to return today, you should come for the opportunity that exists tomorrow.

India is a functioning anarchy. Road-rage is rampant, road infrastructure is abysmal. Power cuts are frequent. If you call a plumber today, he might show up only a week later. Things will break down, but don't let these small irritants deter you.

Don't expect the same quality of life you would get in the West - at least not cheaply. If you want a large house or want to send your kids to an American school in India, be prepared to spend more.

Burn your bridges. Don't even let the theoretical temptation of returning to Western comforts distract you. If you are a permanent resident of the US, surrender your green card.

In a few years, the luxury of returning to India might not exist. A new graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology or Indian Institute of Management might be more valuable than someone who left for foreign shores 15 years ago. The opportunity to return exists now.