The inspiring story of MBA Chai-Wala (A tea seller)

How many of us have struggled to get into top Business School to have a lucrative career ahead with a fat pay package? One of the toughest exams, called ‘CAT’ (Common Entrance Test for getting admission into Masters in Business Administration), have lakhs of aspirants appearing every year only to get in top Business schools of India.

This story is an inspiring story of a middle-class Indian guy called Mr. Praful Billore, who, like any other ambitious teen, wanted to pursue an MBA. He appeared in CAT Entrance Exam, for three years and failed every time.

He was a sincere student and would study for 8 to 10 hours a day to compete for the CAT exam. His parents had a lot of hopes from him and would encourage him to study hard to get into the right MBA college. 

On his repetitive failure, he got too depressed and quit his CAT preparations for a while. He roamed around entire India to look for solace. When after a few weeks of traveling, he landed in Ahmedabad, he felt like home.

He was not sure of what he wanted to do next, as his plans of pursuing an MBA from top B-school had utterly shattered. So, he joined McDonald’s as housekeeping staff. He kept getting promoted to become a kitchen staff who would take orders, make burgers, and serve the customers.

He had this innate desire to get an identity of his own. He kept thinking of starting a venture of his own. He went around to look for a place to start a cafe’ but the minimum investment needed was Rs. 15,00,000. 

He did not have any money to invest. So, he finally dropped the idea and kept thinking of some idea of his own. He finally decided to start a tea stall of his own but lacked the courage to do so. There is a lot of social stigmas associated with starting a roadside tea stall.

It is believed that uneducated labor class people run roadside tea stalls to earn a meager income. Praful also got scared thinking of his father’s annoyance if he gets to know that his son is running a tea stall instead of pursuing an MBA from a good B-school. 

With so many concerns in Praful’s mind, he couldn’t sleep for many nights. It took him 45 days to gather the courage of buying the necessary tea making vessels and ingredients. Soon after, he set up the stall, but the journey wasn’t easy.

He put in all his effort and might, to run his tea stall and was quickly getting popular. But, the neighboring tea stall owners in his vicinity got insecure and jealous of his increasing popularity. They got together to brutally throw him out of their area and did so successfully.

Nevertheless, Praful was determined to succeed in his endeavor. He went to a hospital owner and asked him to rent his space to him for putting up a tea-stall. He happily rented it out for Rs. 10,000. And, Praful was back to business with full zeal.

He reinvented the strategy of selling tea to his customers. He made a corner in his shop where job seekers can leave their names, numbers, and qualification to help them connect to job providers. The job providers would often come for having tea and would pick up the numbers of suitable candidates.

Praful named his business as ‘MBA Chaiwala, ‘ which stands for ‘Mr. Billore Ahmedabad Chaiwala’. Some people mocked at him, saying that even so-called educated MBA’s are forced to sell tea these days. Many others said that is this the only profession he could think of despite being educated?

But, Praful did not let any such harsh comments come on his way of setting a new record. His courage helped him grow his business to whopping crores of earning every month. He travels widely across the globe to organise social events and charity. 

And look at the irony of life! Now, MBA Chaiwala is invited to IIM’s and Harvard Business school only to deliver a talk on how to pursue a passion and become big. It all started with his failure to seek admission to these very prestigious colleges like IIMS and Harvard.

This is what courage and passion can do to all of us. Many times in life, we dream of starting something but lack the courage to commence and pursue it. The biggest fear that often stops us from chasing our dreams is, ‘What will people say if I do this?’ What we forget is that people can be judgemental or critical for some time, but once you succeed, everything falls in place on its own.

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