Just like Sharma Ji’s son is the benchmark of educational achievements, Mukesh Ambani is the epitome of running business in India. “We are not Ambani” is a favorite amongst Indians when it comes to riches and wealth. What makes Mukesh Ambani and his family different from a lot of influential Indians is they were not dynasts. They toiled hard, burnt mid-night oil and became the richest family in India.
Mukesh's brilliance and success can be attested by the fact that his company is currently India's most valuable company by market value.. He currently holds the position of Chairman, Managing Director, Chairman of Finance Committee and Member of Employees Stock Compensation Committee at ‘Reliance Industries Limited’.
The stepping stone of this success story goes to Dhirubhai Ambani–Mukesh Ambani's father. Dhirubhai sowed the seeds of his empire through a license for establishing a polyester filament yarn factory during Indira Gandhi’s regime. It was a victory since corruption and the license Rah made it possible only for those who warmed the pockets of bureaucrats to procure a license. Dhirubhai Ambani managed to do it in a fair way! At this juncture, Mukesh had just completed his degree in Chemical Engineering and was pursuing an MBA from Stanford University.
At this point, Dhirubhai Ambani pulled Mukesh out of Stanford and asked him to lend a helping hand. The company under the guidance of Rasikbhai Meswani expanded by turning towards petrochemical products and polyester fibres. Dhirubhai played a major role in Reliance's backward integration from textiles into polyester fibres and petrochemicals. During the process, he led the creation of 51 world-class manufacturing facilities involving diverse technologies that raised Reliance's manufacturing capacities manifold. He also helped in the establishment of ‘Reliance Infocomm Limited’ to focus on information and communications technology initiatives.
After Dhirubhai's death, his two sons–Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani–got into a tussle since Dhirubhai never left any will. The task was no less than India's partition and the fight even reached to the Finance Minister at that time. The fire finally settled after Kokilaben's (their mother) intervention. Mukesh got control of Reliance Industries and IPCL. His younger brother Anil was made in charge of Reliance Infocomm, Reliance Energy, and Reliance Capital.
In 2013, Mukesh announced a collaborative venture with Bharti Airtel at the Progressive Punjab Summit, Mohali to introduce 4G network in India. While facing stiff competition in this field at a time when Airtel, Idea and Vodafone offered 4G services at cheaper rates to grab the customers, Mukesh played the master-stroke by launching Jio Network.
Today, his company currently operates in five major segments: exploration and production, refining and marketing, petrochemicals, retail, and telecommunications. It lists amongst the Fortune Global 500 companies and is India's most valuable company by market value.
Jio’s Business Model And A Peek Into Mr. Ambani's Mind
Just have a look at Jio's data plans, their ARPU (Average Revenue Per User)–even for the lowest slab which is Rs. 149 for 28 days–is higher than what the bulk of voice consumers today pay and almost the same as the ARPU of Vodafone, which has one of the highest ARPU at Rs. 175 per month among the existing telecom players.
Neither are the data plans much cheaper than the equivalent data plans of their competitors. If we compare equivalent monthly plans–apples to apples and not apple to peanuts–we find that there are others are also offering similar data rates. For example, Anil Ambani's Reliance is offering data services at Rs. 500 for 5 GB as against Jio's Rs.499 for 4 GB, so there are plans cheaper than their equivalent Jio plans.
For existing telecom operators, about 70% of their income is from voice calls. Voice consumers are being charged 60 to 70 paisa per call minute, and that's only 2 paisa per minute from a data perspective. Jio bet massive on data and reaped massive returns.
Mukesh Ambani is one of the world’s most respected business leaders and has been conferred various awards for his leadership and vision. He was ranked 42nd in the list of the World's Most Respected Business Leaders and second among tfour Indian CEOs featured in a survey conducted by Pricewaterhousecoopers and published in theFinancial Times.
Awards And Achievements
- In 2010, he was awarded the School of Engineering and Applied Science Dean's Medal by the University of Pennsylvania.
- He was awarded the United States-India Business Council Leadership Award by the United States-India Business Council in 2007.
- The same year he was awarded the Chitralekha Person of the Year Award by the government of Gujarat.
- Total Telecom awarded him the World Communication Award in 2004.
- He was Chosen Telecom Man of the Year 2004 by Voice and Data magazine.
- He is ranked 13th in Asia's Power 25 list of The Most Powerful.
In 2010, Forbes magazine named him among the most powerful people in the world in its list of "68 people who matter most.”
Apart from being the head of his conglomerate empire, Mukesh is on the board of directors of the Bank of America Corporation and current member of the international advisory board of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is a former Chairman of Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIM-B), and an Honorary Fellow of IChemE (the Institution of Chemical Engineers).
He is married to Nita Ambani. The couple is blessed with three children: two sons, Anant and Akash, and a daughter, Isha. In 2008, his wife Nita Ambani bought a cricket team, Mumbai Indians, in The Indian Premier League (IPL) worth a staggering $111.9 million.
He lives in a private 27-story building in Mumbai named ‘Antilia’ which is believed to be the most expensive home in history at US$ 1 billion.
Mukesh Ambani's Message To Young Entrepreneurs
Mukesh Ambani was addressing a gathering of budding entrepreneurs at NASSCOM Foundation’s annual leadership summit. He gave a five-point charter which he said has stood him in good stead all through the years. He felt that the right approach was not to give advice but to share his experiences. So, he shared the things he had learned over the years. Lessons from his father, his experiences, and gleanings from failures. The five points that he shared are gems that will help any entrepreneur to succeed and meet various challenges.
Mukesh Ambani’s second lesson was to find a problem, a problem that he felt passionate about. The solution to the problem matters from the qualitative aspect. Once you find a problem, solve it.
Ambani had a third piece of advice for entrepreneurs. According to him, financial returns should not be the only goal in life. Financial remuneration should be considered as the by-product. The focus should be on the good that comes out of doing the work. What difference is the work going to make? Are you answering a need that the society has? Are you doing good and filling a gap with the product? Or is your focus on creating a product that will get in the money? Your focus should be on delivering a world-class solution, an answer to a major problem. Find a gap and fill it with quality material. Don’t worry about what it will cost or how much it would bring back. If it’s good, it will work. He has always believed in working for the social good and creates goodwill, like his legendary father.
Persistence is the only way to succeed. Ambani believes that failure is the path to success. There shall be several points of failure. But if you stick it out, you will meet with success. The idea is not to give up on anything. Ambani has been quoted saying that he has himself failed many times. "Failures are a normal path to growth. Important thing is that you learn from your failures and keep moving forward. Don’t give up but keep trying.”
Mukesh Ambani holds two principles as steady and unchangeable. One is that you must treat the investor’s money more carefully than how you handle your own. The second principle is that you must be aligned with your team. Hire a very good team as you can’t get anything done without a team. Always ensure that your team is as passionate about your mission as you are. The most important factor in being an entrepreneur is to be positive. Always be optimistic and infect people with positivity wherever you go.
His profound business sense and will to achieve greater heights made him an icon for budding business visionaries in India. He has created great wealth not just for his family, but also for the thousands of shareholders and employees. He is a living legend among the business community of India and serves as an inspiration to millions of people around the world.