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City entrepreneurs who made it big without an MBA

Author Rashmi Bansal picks 20 businesspersons without that coveted degree in her new book, Connect the Dots.

books Updated: May 23, 2010 14:37 IST
Jayeeta Mazumder

Rashmi Bansal was always a topper. She was dejected when she didn’t get through to St Xavier’s College. But she didn’t know that her life was going to change when she took up BA in Arts in Sophia College. In her own words, she became a phataka from being a nerd. Little did she know that she’d soon get involved in student council, inter-collegiate festivals, become the editor of college magazine and write for several newspapers.

Bansal went on to study at IIM Ahmedabad, where she wrote her first book, Stay Hungry Stay Foolish. Now she has penned another book on 20 entrepreneurs, without the MBA tag, who made it big. Her book Connect the Dots was recently launched at the Landmark Bookstore at Palladium.

Six out of the 20 entrepreneurs in her latest book are based in Mumbai and Bansal tells us what drew her to include them.

Prem Ganapathy
McDonald’s was his inspiration and he wanted to be that single guy to sell his signature dosas. He isn’t too well-versed in English. He studied till 10th standard, but being a keen observant, he knew how crucial branding and marketing were. He came to Mumbai at 17, started as a dishwasher and now has 26 outlets of Dosa Plaza across India and a franchise in New Zealand.

Samar Gupta
He was rich and not so ambitious. But once his father passed away, he took over their company, Trikaya Agriculture. From losing Rs 2 lakh a month, he soon became the biggest supplier of lettuce to Subway and McDonald’s. People thought he was quite crazy, but he made farming cool, much beyond the bullock cart and getting dirty!

Ranjiv Ramchandani
Everybody loves his Tantra T-shirts. He’s an offbeat thinker, and used to make cartoons and posters for colleges. He hated what he studied— microbiology. He didn’t like advertising or pathology either. He was a non-conformist. His T-shirts first found their way to Colaba and went on to fill bigger racks later. Tantra, as an Indian brand, had an underground feel to it and that worked.

Sunita Ramnathkar
She was married into a well-to-do family. It was only after her second child that she launched Fem fairness bleach. The housewife helmed the Rs 100 crore company for 27 years, till recently selling out to Dabur. She really knew what women want.

Paresh Mokashi
An entrepreneur with a differnece, Mokashi had always believed in his film. He had no star cast, it was in Marathi and nobody was willing to fund him. He had to finally mortgage his own house. But it took 20 years for the eccentric theatre actor to enter the Oscar club and get noticed. Harishchandrachi Factory made him confident.

R Sriram
A college dropout, he was a complete bookworm and joined a bookstore. His journey to building the Crossword bookstore began when a customer asked him to help set up a book shop.