FPJ Bureau | Updated on: Saturday, June 01, 2019, 08:05 PM IST




Motilal Oswal started business with co- promoter Raamdeo Agrawal in 1987. The group has grown from a sub- brokerage to an awardwinning financial services company with a presence in 600 cities and towns in India. It is also a Harvard Business School case study.


Mr. Oswal has received the Rashtriya Samman Patra for being among the highest income tax payers for five years from F95– F99. He has served on the board of Bombay Stock Exchange ( BSE), IMC and BSE, NSE, SEBI and CDSL committees. He is also board member and a Director of Jain International Trade Organization ( JITO). Knight of the Millennium from Indian Council of Management Executives, Udyog Rattan Award from Institute of Economic Studies, New Delhi, and induction into The Hall of Fame by Franchising World Magazine are among other accolades.

Attitude over Aptitude “ I came from a very small village Padru, in Rajasthan. ou had to walk one kilometer to have a bath, and there were no proper educational facilities. Most people did not pass beyond class three. Our family of 18 lived in three rooms, and the nearest I got to being an entrepreneur was when my mother made confectionery out of jaggery for our Annual Day, which I sold for a profit.

I went to boarding school from the ninth standard onwards. I came to Mumbai in 1981 to study Chartered Accountancy and was at the Rajasthan Vidyarthi Griha ( RVG). In those early days, I could not read a book in English; could write a few elementary essays. But attitude prevailed over aptitude. Now there is one more building here, named after Raamdeo Agrawal and me, the Agrawal Oswal Chhatrawas.


Be different To be successful, you must ensure differentiation. When we started, equity research was not known in this business, but for us, research is the biggest differentiator. Secondly, we believe in being very conservative.

Third, it is important to have a value system. Ethics and transparency are crucial. To keep growing, you also have to get the right people – those who have the same passion and are willing to work as hard as you. When your business is globally competitive you have to be different.

ou also have to invest in people, and give them ownership.


We started with two ‘ bosses’ and a peon in a 60 sq. ft. office and have now grown to 2000 people in 600 cities. We also have our own building at Prabhadevi, which is about three lakh square feet.

When you start small, you have to do everything, but as you grow, your job is strategy, creating infrastructure, mentoring people. It is important to be able to juggle between Ground Zero and 1000 feet. When you interact with people at all levels, you have to read a lot, go back to theories and connect the dots. Our review process is very stringent and I also push people to read. I have to think for the long- term, build a competitive edge. I read books on leadership, autobiographies – Jack Welch’s Straight from the Gut ; Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan; Jim Collins’ Built to Last ; Stephen Covey… The best book for me is What Got ou Here Won’t Get ou There by Marshall Goldsmith.

Real life is different from school Real life is very different from school books; you need to be smart, and common sense is very important.

I have forgotten subjects like history and geography; what was relevant for me was mathematics and accounts.

Health and family are important I believe the most important things in life are Health, Family, Business/ Career, and then Society – that is the order I follow. And that’s what I teach my people. I tell them family is very important. As for health, we have a gym, and a doctor and yoga teacher coming every day; there are lots of sports competitions. I personally have a routine of two days of yoga and five days of going for a walk. Prioritisation is very important.

Business is cyclical ou cannot have growth year on year, but are you growing over a fiveyear period? ou must keep your eyes and ears open for customer feedback and be willing to take criticism.

Have a passion for what you do and hunger for knowledge. Read, network, learn. My advice to young entrepreneurs is become better in bad times, become bigger in good times. The more you specialize, the more you get pricing power. And a strong value system is non- negotiable.

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Published on: Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 09:00 AM IST