Robert Kaplan is an investment banker, businessman and Harvard professor with more than 30 years of experience in the highest levels of the banking sector. He has held various leadership positions at the Goldman Sachs Group over a span of 22 years and is now a professor at the Harvard Business School.
During his time at Goldman Sachs, Kaplan worked as the group’s Head of Asia-Pacific Investment Banking, the Head of the Corporate Finance Department and the Global Co-Head of the Investment Banking Division. Kaplan’s career there finished after a period in which he served as the group’s vice-chairman, a position that included oversight responsibility in its investment banking and investment management divisions. He joined the Harvard Business School after leaving Goldman Sachs in 2005, while also taking the opportunity to pursue a number of philanthropic projects.
Kaplan has authored several books on leadership, which aim at helping people define their leadership style, advance their careers, and resolve issues individuals face working in leadership positions. For Kaplan, it is important that people define their own success and realise their own goals. He also says that it is essential for people to be able to properly evaluate their strengths and weaknesses in order to progress their personal and professional lives. He believes the best leaders know what they stand for and have the guts to act on their beliefs. On the end of the spectrum, Kaplan says that isolation and the inability to learn are the two biggest contributors to a leader’s failing.