The reason Stockland CEO Tarun Gupta chose Australia over offers from US and UK

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Tarun Gupta, who became CEO of Australia’s largest residential developer in December last year, had offers to study his MBA in Australia, the US and Scotland.

“I chose Australia as it was the only country that allowed 20 hours of weekly work back then,” he told SBS Hindu.

The work ethic was evident 29 years ago when Mr Gupta came to Australia as an international student. With just $50 after arriving from India, he couldn’t find work for the first 8 weeks before getting a job at an Indian restaurant in Newcastle.

“I cleaned toilets, cut onions, distributed pamphlets and did whatever the chef asked me to do,” said the first Indian-origin CEO of Stockland.

“The chef soon left and opened his restaurant across the street, so the restaurant owner asked me if I wanted to learn how to fire the tandoor (clay oven) and prepare dishes. I said of course because it was a specialised and secure job,” Mr Gupta said.

The other most important things for him was cricket and the culture of Australia.

“I used to follow the Benson & Hedges series in India and wanted to enjoy the game and beer in stadiums like Australians,” he said, adding that his elder brother had already moved to Adelaide in 1991. His parents now live next door to Mr Gupta in Bondi Beach, 7km east of Sydney’s CBD.

“Our families came with almost nothing as refugees. I draw my inspiration from my father and family who worked hard as immigrants,” he said.

Mr Gupta began his career with property development firm Landlease in Sydney and worked for the company in various roles for 26 years. He rose to the ranks of global CFO before joining rival firm Stockland as CEO.