MBA not a yardstick to judge entrepreneurs
New Delhi: For last some months, there has been a debate on whether an MBA degree is needed to shine in any business. The story of an investment broker Anvar Hajibhai Heranja is disputing the need of an MBA to do a successful business. Heranja, 24, from Rajkot is a school drop-out. After 10th standard, he could not pursue the education due to financial constraints in the family. He joined his cousin's trading business and worked there for three years. After learning a lot about the business, Heranja launched JD Investments, a stock broking, investment and trading firm, which has garnered 148 loyal clients over the past one year. "I understood basic numbers and that was enough for me. One only has to have interest-education doesn't really matter," Heranja says. Now, as one of the shortlisted entries -a proposal on Shariah complaint investments- Heranja is looking forward to guidance in the Power of Ideas mentoring sessions. Out of the 1,000 shortlisted participants in the Economic Times Power of Ideas contest, a majority (56 percent) of the entrepreneurs come with no professional qualification. Of these, 40 percent have a graduate degree or less. Heranja's experience proves that enterprise isn't the preserve of those who went through formal educational training. For the majority of others, it was a combination of courage, an appetite for learning, and sheer hard work that helped them achieve what they have today. Gautam Adani, the owner of Adani Group, is also a success story sans MBA. In the early '80s Adani, a matriculate from a Gujarati-medium school, went to Mumbai where he started working in a diamond-processing unit and steadily made his way up, eventually running his own businesses. Today, he lords over the approximately Rs 24,000 crore Adani Group spanning industries such as edible oil, coal mining and trading, power, oil and gas exploration, export and import of pulses and fruits, and port development. Many actually believe missing out on professional education was good for them. Naren Parasuram is an apt example. After finishing school, he applied at an engineering college but when he was declined his choice of stream, he chose to quit. In 1986, Parasuram started an outdoor advertising business with technologies that were new at that time and continued in the business till a few years ago. Today he drives around in a Porsche and has been developing a unique low-cost innovation in rural housing, which is among the 1,000 shortlisted ideas.