Gautam Adani on his regret, ‘unique advantage’ to 1st-gen entrepreneurs
Gautam Adani, 60, started off as a trader and has been on a rapid diversification spree, expanding an empire centered on ports and coal mining to include airports, data centers and cement as well as green energy.
Indian industrialist and Asia's richest man Gautam Adani on Sunday recounted his entrepreneurial journey that has taken group's market capitalisation to over USD 225 billion, all in a span of four-and-a-half decades. Speaking at the 75th year celebrations of Vidya Mandir Trust Palanpur in Gujarat, Adani, who dropped out of formal education at the age of 16, said he regrets not finishing college. The billionaire industrialist said early experiences made him wise but formal education rapidly expands one's knowledge, reported PTI. (Also Read | ‘I might have…’: Gautam Adani recounts his close shave during 26/11 attacks)
"Reflecting on my life and the different turns it took, I - now - do believe that I would have benefitted if I had finished college. While my early experiences made me wise, I now realize that formal education rapidly expands one's knowledge," PTI quoted Adani, who largely spoke in Gujarati, as saying.
"To acquire wisdom, one must experience but to acquire knowledge, one must study," he added.
Adani lived his early life in Gujarat's Banaskantha and later moved to Ahmedabad where he spent 4 years completing secondary education. In 1978, he bought a train ticket and boarded the Gujarat Mail to Mumbai, which marked the beginning of the entrepreneurial journey.
"I was just 16 years old when I chose to give up my education and move to Mumbai," he said. "In this context, a question I often get asked is - why did I move to Mumbai and not work with my family? As many youngsters in the audience would agree, the optimism and desire for independence of a teenage boy is hard to contain. All I knew was that - I wanted to do something different - and do it on my own."
"Once in Mumbai, my cousin Prakashbhai Desai enrolled me at Mahendra brothers, where I started to learn to assort diamonds. I quickly picked up the business and after working at Mahendra brothers for about 3 years, I left to start my own brokerage in diamond trading at Zaveri Bazar," he said. "I still recall the day I did my first trade with a Japanese buyer. I made a commission of ₹10,000."
Adani, 60, started off as a trader and has been on a rapid diversification spree, expanding an empire centered on ports and coal mining to include airports, data centers and cement as well as green energy.
He said the first-generation entrepreneurs “mostly start with a unique advantage.”
“The advantage of having nothing to lose. This belief is their strength. In my own mind, this was liberating. I had no legacy to follow - but I had the opportunity to create a legacy.”
"I had nothing to prove to anybody - but had an opportunity to prove to my own self that I could rise. I had nothing to risk by jumping into uncharted waters. I had no expectations to fulfil except those of my own. These beliefs became a part of me," he said.
(With PTI inputs)
- Gautam Adani