Studying business and entrepreneurship from top IIMs is the dream of lakhs of aspirants who appear for MBA entrance tests including CAT, XAT, and MAT every year. After preparing for Common Admission Test (CAT) for three consecutive years from Praful Billore, son of a farmer from Madhya Pradesh’s Labravda village could not clear the exam, he started to pursue his dream of becoming a businessman by opening a chai stall. Today, he is a billionaire with over 22 outlets across the country and soon there will be an international outlet too.
Praful was devastated when he could not clear CAT in the third attempt. He then moved to cities in search of a job while his father continued to advise him to study MBA for a ‘stable’ future. He took a job in a McDonalds. After working for a couple of months, the youngster started to sell tea along with his job. He asked for a loan of Rs 10,000 from his father for sake of ‘education’ and bought utensils to make tea instead. He opened a stall outside his dream college – IIM Ahmedabad and started selling tea.
Soon his tea started becoming famous and he started to earn more from the tea business than his job. He was paid Rs 37 per hour at McDonald’s. He took another loan of Rs 50,000 from his family and took admission in a local management college to get the MBA degree, however, he soon realised that he learnt more by doing business than studying it. He left college on the seventh day and expanded his tea stall.
He started networking with the IIM students and staff. He talked in English and was unique in many ways in selling tea. His business expanded and he started making around Rs 15,000 a month.
Soon his tea stall was removed by local authorities and he had to rent a small space outside a hospital to set up a new stall. He first named his stall Mr Billore Ahmedabad tea stall, however many of his customers could not pronounce the name correctly. Then he made it short to MBA (Mr Billore Ahmedabad) Tea Chaiwala. The MBA also denoted his dream degree and has been selling tea under the same name, however, the stalls have become tea houses now.
At his new stall too he kept on implementing new strategies including putting p a whiteboard at a tea stall for people to connect job seekers and employees.
In one of his inspirational talks on youtube, he said, “whatever you do it with full honesty and hard work and success follow. If you are a shoemaker, be the best shoemaker there is and if you sell tea then be best at it. Whatever you do, give it your best.”
Praful’s father Sohan Billore who still runs a shop of materials for worship along with farming leads a simple life. He said, “Prafulla was intelligent since childhood. Parful has not gone the traditional way. Parents should understand and cooperate with the children keeping in mind the feelings of their children so that they can do something in life.”
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