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When a “Shock Becomes a Source of Inspiration”: The Entrepreneurial Success Story of a Bengali Village Boy*

CASE STUDY, STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT
ET Cases - GSMC, 12 Pages

Case Preview

When a “Shock Becomes a Source of Inspiration”: The Entrepreneurial Success Story of a Bengali Village Boy

 

In the afternoon of a warm June Sunday Mr. Sailen Ghosh (Sailen) sitting in a tiny but well-decorated air-conditioned office in his first-of-its-kind hotel business in Kolkata which was only a small part of his business kingdom, was discussing the stages of his business life over a glass of mango drink. A very ambitious yet spiritual and  humble person, a good speaker and a senior executive member of Mohun Bagan Football Club, a historic and prestigious football club of India based in the Kolkata city, he was not at all hesitant in unfurling his history.

Taldi Ghosh Para near Mograhat, South 24-Parganas district, around 53 km away from Kolkata in the state of West Bengal, was a remote village where Sailen was born in the year 1968. The place was so remote that even today it is very difficult to reach. It is around 4 kilometers from the Mograhat railway station. Post his primary  education in his village he came to Kolkata (Calcutta), passed Class XII (Higher Secondary Examination) and got admission in Jogesh Chandra Chowdhury College,  Kolkata (Calcutta) in the Commerce stream to pursue his Bachelor Course.

On the last day of his college, after filling in the form of final B. Com. Examination under the University of Calcutta, he along with a group of friends decided to spend the day in a memorable way. They began discussing their future plans. Sailen actively participated in that discussion with his friends Sajal and Shyamal. Suddenly Sajal asked a remarkable question “what is the value of our life?”

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Teaching Note Preview

When a “Shock Becomes a Source of Inspiration”: The Entrepreneurial Success Story of a Bengali Village Boy

 

Synopsis

A young Indian, by birth a Bengali village boy, while trying to root about the value of his life during his college days was shocked to know that only a paltry value was associated with his whole life. This shock triggered him to lead a meaningful and pragmatic life and prompted him to start his own business venture of land dealing under the sole proprietorship scheme. Without borrowing anything from the financial institutions, through his behaviour and highly positive attitude, he dived into the business. He even left his government job to establish him as a business magnet. With every sincerity, tireless efforts, courage and path-breaking risk taking strategies, after twenty-five years of beginning, he has made a diversified business base of around INR350 crore (US$ ~ 58 million). Apart from his flagship business of land dealing and real estate, he made a very successful journey in trading of staple food items like rice, wheat and sugar and the high growing industrial product like steel. For the uninterrupted flow of materials in trading business, he purchased rice, flourmill, and a steel factory. A humanitarian, good orator and a football enthusiast, he also started a hotel business in a strategic business location in Kolkata. The success story of transforming the life of a small land dealer to a multi-millionaire will be discussed in this case study-covering strategy adopted with success and failure. All information in the case will be based on documenting the actual experience of a young entrepreneur working towards successfully transforming his small business idea to a well-developed  professional business house.

Prerequisite conceptual understanding

The case presupposes an understanding of the concepts of entrepreneurship and business strategies

Assignment Questions

In order to furnish a theme for discussion for 120 minutes class duration students can be given specific assignment questions to address on the case. The tasks set by us were:

  • I. Explore the key potential areas based on which Sailen’s business progressed.
  • II. In the light of the case, discuss the category of social motives of entrepreneurial behaviour.
  • III. What are the dominant perspectives on entrepreneurship associated with this case?
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Abstract

An Indian village boy, Sailendra Nath Ghosh (Sailen), from the interior of West Bengal state had come to Kolkata (Calcutta) to study an undergraduate course in Commerce at Jogesh Chandra Chowdhury College under the University of Calcutta.

On the final day of the college, while discussing future plans with some of classmates, he started calculating the debit and credit of one’s life by considering the  expected income and the anticipated expenditure of an individual. It was 1988 and after graduation, he naturally could claim the eligibility to get a job of a Lower Division Clerk or Upper Division Clerk in a Government organisation with an average salary of INR3000/- - INR5000/- per month. After meeting all his monthly expenses he could have saved a maximum of INR1000/- per month and he would retire from his job after 34 years. So, his lifelong savings would be a maximum of INR1000*12*34=INR4, 08,000/-and his value of life to him as per his calculation was INR4 lakh 8 thousand only! The calculation was, of course, based on the assumption that the monthly amount of savings would remain fixed and unaltered throughout the whole length of service-period despite annual increment in the salary. The ever-spiralling price of commodities would not allow him to increase his savings with a corresponding increase in salary and dearness allowance etc.

This figure gave him a “shock” and to implored him to find a more challenging way to lead a dignified life. This prompted him to start his own business venture of land dealing under the sole proprietorship scheme and after twenty five years of tireless journey, he has made a diversified business base of around INR350 crore (US$ ~ 58 million). The success story of transforming the life of a small land dealer to a multi-millionaire will be discussed in this case study covering strategies adopted with success and failure. All information in the case will be grounded on documenting the actual experience of a young entrepreneur working towards successfully  transforming his small business idea into a full-fledged professional business entity.



Pedagogical Objectives

  • To understand the dominant standpoint of entrepreneurship
  • To have an experiential learning as a participant observer in the entrepreneurial ventures
  • To develop an idea entailing the analysis of entrepreneurial motivation
  • To develop thinking skills to solve critical situations, analyse entrepreneurial risks and benefit situations and learn to support opinions and analyses with available data of entrepreneurship venture

Case Positioning and Setting

The case study is suitable for MBA and Executive MBA for the following courses:
On strategy formulation- process to cope with the dynamic situation of bridging the gap between the industry requirements and the theoretical discussion in the academic sector in India

* GSMC 2014, IIM Raipur

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- Case Study
- Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)
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