By: Britt LangfordManaging Director, JP Morgan Chase
Dear Dr. and Mrs. Reddy,
Your son, Raj was an exceptional young man. In the span of our acquaintance, I grew to admire and appreciate him personally. It is my hope that this letter and others will comfort and reassure you that Raj made a wonderful impact on each of us, lucky to have known him. My first interaction with Raj took place during the early spring of his junior year at Michigan. A colleague and I conducted a telephone interview of Raj as a candidate for our JP Morgan summer intern program. During the initial visit, Raj impressed with his upbeat, candid, and deliberate communication style which clearly evidenced a passion for the financial markets yet reflected underlying desire to know and help others.
Of course, Raj landed the internship and enjoyed a successful 2-1/2 months with us that summer. Another intern was assigned to me during that period, so my exposure to Raj was limited to casual office banter and larger group meetings. Clear even then, our hiring decision from the telephone interview was reaffirmed: Raj had a refreshing impact on all who encountered his lighthearted wit, positive spirit, diligent responsiveness, and insatiable appetite for learning and improving . At summers’s end, Raj was offered the opportunity to join us fulltime upon graduation, and we all celebrated his decision to accept.
It was almost a year later when I received the fortunate news that Raj had beed assigned to me for full time Analyst/Banker partnership. For the ensuing months nearing a year, Raj and I sat facing each other about four feet apart and separated only by a 42” tall cubicle partition. Raj and I routinely shared ideas and strategies about clients and prospects while he dutifully fulfilled with excellence the analytical and presentations preparations necessary for our mutual success.
If Raj ever had a bad day, I never new it. He was always that same upbeat person I had interviewed by phone so many months before. He was an un fillable vessel in terms of his desire to learn and improve. He often arrived extra early or stayed late, but always when situation called for doing so, and he consistently maintained a positive spirit regardless of the challenges or circumstances. He accepted feedback openly and he responded completely. He anticipated my needs or next moves thoughtfully, and he always delighted in successfully finishing my sentences or recalling facts I needed but could not seem to supply myself. Raj enjoyed a good laugh at life and work.
Perhaps most telling, Raj emerged as the “go to” Analyst for his junior colleagues that needed help with a project, system, protocol, or process - all of which seem to be in endless supply at an institution of our scale and complexity. Others frequently sought Raj’ s help not just because he knew the answers but primarily because he received the requests openly and without judgment.
With his passing all of us are searching to make sense of tragic loss. Early on his fellow Analyst rallied to complete the tasks attendant to the portfolio which Raj and I shared, each trying hard to do so as Raj would have done: that is, always with a positive, can-do, and upbeat spirit. I know several of them visited you in Beaumont in the early days after the accident, so you are well aware of the closeness they felt for Raj and each other. They, too, admired Raj. The following incident has helped us bridge our emotions because it reflects nicely on what we gained from our all-too-brief time with Raj:
On August 17, Raj and I scheduled a September 10 client meeting when we were to present the annual portfolio performance review together with her investment advisor and trust officer. Unbeknownst to me at the time, Raj stayed late that evening to draft our presentation before leaving for his vacation in Croatia. On September 8, the team’s Analyst discovered Raj’s foresight and found his draft. He had known that the meeting presentation would be a looming priority upon his return from vacation, so he tackled it before leaving. His proficiency and accuracy - preparing a book which required virtually no editing - was just as typical. Since his draft was usually the last necessary, there was little else/or us to do before printing and binding the prepared materials.
In my 31 years with the firm and 35 years in banking, I have had the privilege of working with many great people but none finer than Raj. When selecting and coaching future colleagues at all levels, and not just Analysts - my list of expectations for them will start with an inventory of the character qualities and professional skills which Raj brought to work each day. His legacy implores us to be conscientious about helping others openly. We should seek accuracy and precision while intentional thinking with greater foresight. Above all, we must treasure the lighthearted moments just as Raj always did. Thank you for raising Raj to be a man who impacted us all so favorably and completely.