The Goliath In David – Harshit Singh, IIM Sirmaur
The Aditya Birla Group is one of the prominent behemoths on the visage of the Indian corporate world. What originally started as a small cotton-trading venture by late Ghanshyam Das Birla in a quaint little town called Pilani in 1857 has expanded continuously for the last 150 years turning into a ubiquitous feature in the Indian market. With an ever mushrooming reach which already spans over 20 countries and a myriad arsenal of over 45 brands (47 to be exact) which include Ultratech Cement Ltd.(India’s biggest cement company), Vodafone Idea(one of the King Kongs of the telecom sector) and Grasim Industries(the flagship of ABG), the group has made its presence felt in the life of almost every single Indian who has ever crossed the threshold of a store. From the aluminium foil that wraps our food to the cement that is used in the construction of our abodes, the presence of ABG brands in our lives is all- pervasive.All skilled ships are termed so because of the virtuosity of their captains and so is the case with ABG. The small cotton business bloomed into the modern day juggernaut because of the endeavours of the Birla line-from the founding brick lain by Ghansyam Das to the marauding ship with Kumar Mangalam at its front.With a keen eye for ever-more acquisitions, Kumar Mangalam Birla’s giant recently acquired Ohio based Aluminium maker Aleris Corp for $2.6 Billion along with foraying into the ethnic garments section with its acquisition of Jaypore-a home-grown retailer of ethnic garments. Novelis Inc., the brand which has appropriated Aleris, is the world leader in Aluminium rolling and recycling. Aditya Birla Fashion, similarly, is a pioneer in Indian clothing and owns many of the leading brands (having started some and having acquired the others) in Indian fashion including Louis Phillipe, Allen Solly, Van Heusen and Peter England. It is this all-pervading grasp of the brand in the market that renders it quite inconceivable that you’ve never come in touch with this modern day Goliath of the corporate world.
In the dorm room of my previous college (UG), I managed to get a poster on my wall by A. A. Milne. It read:
“Promise me that you’ll always remember. You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think”.It was this single thought which guided me through the length of my illness(TB Meningitis-a life threatening infection of the central nervous system with 50 % mortality). After having made sufficient recovery to claw my way out of the ICU and returning to college, my doctor gave me the “I’m-sorry-to-tell-you-that” part of the recovery. I was informed that since the meningitis had infected a significant portion of my brain, I might develop anterograde amnesia (read Sanjay Singhania syndrome). Due to the short-term memory loss problems I subsequently developed as a result of my CNS infection, my grades took a spectacular dive off a cliff. It was at this point of time that a close friend of mine gifted me the aforementioned poster. And I made it a point to, at the very least, glance at it every morning I woke up. And each day it did nothing more than simply remind me that the strength is always there within us. No matter how badly the odds are stacked against you, no matter how tough the task ahead looks, it is YOU who decides how far-off or nearby your breaking point is. We all are Davids trying to stay alive in this ever faster churning world. What we really need to do is to find the Goliath inside us and bring him out. There will be times when situations and people will try to convince you that he just isn’t there. But just like Ghanshyam Das Birla all you require is a leap of faith. Just trust yourself and sprint into the storm. It will eventually pay off.Keeping your goal in sight and working tirelessly is a work-ethic that will serve you for life. It helped me score 98 percentile in my CAT attempt and that too when I was still recovering from my cognitive problems. So in summing up I would like to reiterate a popular saying but with a little bit of a twist:
“Good things don’t come to those who wait.
Good things come to those who work their asses off and never give up.”