From failing in CAT to building multi-crore business: Meet MBA Chai Wala Prafull Billore

Following your ambition is a first step towards your success. Rather than being disappointed after multiple failures in CAT exam, Prafull Billore decided to take the setbacks as an inspiration to create something meaningful out of his MBA ambitions.

Every year, lakhs of hopefuls take MBA admission exams such as the CAT, XAT, and MAT. They come with the hope of opening up new markets and enterprise development at top IIMs.

After failing to pass the Common Admission Test (CAT) despite three years of preparation, Prafull Billore, the son of a farmer from Labravda village in Madhya Pradesh, decided to instead follow his ambition of becoming an entrepreneur by founding a chai shop.

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The 22-year-old is now a crorepati with his brand at 22 locations across the country and plans to open an international location soon. He finished 2020 with an annual turnover in excess of Rs 3 crore.

When Prafull failed to pass the CAT on his third attempt, he was crushed. But he yielded that into his strength and worked his way to the top.

Prafull went to cities in quest of work, against his father’s advice that he pursue MBA for a “secure” future. He went to work at a McDonald’s restaurant.

After a few months of employment, the boy began selling tea in addition to his job. He requested his father for a Rs 10,000 loan for the cause of ‘education,’ but instead bought tea supplies. He started selling tea from a cart outside his dream college, IIM Ahmedabad.

Prafull borrowed another Rs 50,000 from his family and enrolled in a local college to get an MBA but he eventually realised that doing business taught him more than studying it. On the seventh day of college, he quit and extended his tea stall by networking with IIM students and employees.

His tea stall was quickly demolished by local officials, and he was forced to rent a tiny area outside a hospital to set up a new one. Mr Billore Ahmedabad was the original name of the shop, but because many of his visitors couldn’t say it right, he changed it to MBA Chaiwala.

MBA also served as a metaphor for his ideal degree, and he has been marketing tea under that name. He continued to introduce new techniques at his new set up, such as placing a whiteboard near a tea stall for folks to contact job searchers and employees.

“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.” Prafull said in one of his motivational speeches on YouTube.

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