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Defining success with data-driven decisions: Dhiraj Rajaram

Defining success with data-driven decisions: Dhiraj Rajaram
The Siliconreview
09 April, 2019

Dhiraj Rajaram is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Mu Sigma, the world’s single largest provider of solutions for data analytics and decision sciences. Born to a middle-class family in Chennai, India, Dhiraj earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering and moved to the United States to pursue a Master’s Degree from the Wayne State University, Michigan. He followed this up with an MBA from the prestigious Booth School of Business from the University of Chicago. Subsequently, Rajaram took up a job as a consultant for Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) and later on, for Booz Allen Hamilton, India. His time in these illustrious companies allowed him to develop and nurture contacts that would help him establish his own company.

Working as a management consultant, Dhiraj’s job was mainly concerned with providing business solutions with the help of data analytics. Working for large business solutions firms like Booz Allen Hamilton, Dhiraj had acquainted himself with all the intricacies of his industry and strongly believed that he could improve the current status quo by building a model of business that leveraged applied mathematics, data science as well as programming and one that was scalable to provide cutting-edge solutions for today’s challenges. It is with this vision and a strong desire to make it big that drove Dhiraj Rajaram to quit his high paying job in the United States and start his own business consulting firm in India. He decided to name his company Mu Sigma, a combination of the Greek symbols for standard deviation and probability distribution respectively.

As with every emerging business, Mu Sigma required money and the only way its tenacious founder could get it was to take a loan by mortgaging his house. Rajaram credits this decision taken at the conception to him having developed a greater sense of responsibility to follow through with his vision. Dhiraj faced numerous struggles and had to overcome serious odds, chief among them was competition. The corporations that he would be up against were IBM, Accenture, Deloitte, etc., all of which were established giants in the industry. Having initially worked by himself, Dhiraj wanted to make sure that the people he hired at the early stages would share his vision. He not only looked for brains and aptitude but also character, as the first few employees would go on to form the core team.

After struggling in the initial stages, his company grew and so did the number of clients. After four years of constant struggle, trial & error and improvisation, Mu Sigma secured a funding of $30 million from venture capitalists in 2008. The money helped Rajaram expand and hire the best and most talented people. Three years later, Sequoia Capital, one of the biggest names in venture capitalism pumped in $25 million into Mu Sigma, which was shortly followed by an astounding $108 million investment. An additional investment of $45 million in 2013 raised the company’s evaluation to a staggering $1 billion, propelling Mu Sigma into the coveted unicorn club. Dhiraj Rajaram soon became famous and was even ranked on Fortune’s 40 under 40 and went on to win the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Mu Sigma now boasts of more 140 companies from the esteemed Fortune 500 list amongst its clientele.

Dhiraj Rajaram is a shining example of the true entrepreneurial spirit and his story serves as an inspiration to anyone wanting to make their mark in the world of business.