Ferren Rajput had hit rock bottom at one point of his life. This is his story of how he climbed out of that hole.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
Ferren Rajput: My parents are from Pakistan. When they got married, they immediately left the country. I was actually born in Yemen. Within a few months of my birth, my father was appointed as a medical officer in Africa. I was there for about 11 years.
Then my father was moved to Hong Kong for another five years. Then he retired and migrated to the US when I was 16. Part of our family was already in the US. I came to the US in 1981 and finished high school here. I went on to college.
Sramana Mitra: What did you do for college?
Ferren Rajput: I started as a premed student in Denver. I was very much interested in math and science, but I found that I was more suited towards the financial world. I was in University of Denver for a couple of years. I left for a couple of years and then I returned.
Upon graduating high school, I and my best friend both went to the Air Force. I wanted to be a jet fighter pilot. I’ve always had a passion for aviation. He got in, but I didn’t. At that time, you needed 20/20 vision to be a jet fighter pilot. They offered me the opportunity to be more of an artillery aircraft pilot, but I wasn’t interested in that.
I decided that this is not something I’m going to do as an employment. I’m not going to work for anyone as a pilot. Eventually, I will establish my own financial well-being to be able to do so. That became my mission. The finance industry was what I was interested in at the moment.
Right from day one, I was strong in mathematics. As I pursued finance, I ended up as a stock broker. I went into investment banking as my first line of career. At college, I already had my feet wet in the aviation industry. Becoming an investment banker gave me the opportunity to understand the back ends of businesses and what it takes to become a public company.
I did really well doing the Wall Street stuff for a few years. The mortgage industry got really hot. I moved into the mortgage industry right at the turn of the century. The mortgage industry was able to allow me to have the financial means to get my pilot’s license and go out there.
In 2007 to 2008, everything crashed. So did my company. I lost everything. That was the turning point in my life. There were a couple of things that happened to me that resulted in my move from financial world to a business in aviation.