Dropout to diamonds: 4 major events that shaped Gautam Adani, the world’s third richest person – the Indian billionaire’s journey from leaving university and jewel sorting to surviving a terror attack
Adani is the first Asian to ever make it to the top three of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and has an estimated fortune of US$143 billion, not far behind Jeff Bezos, though Elon Musk remains far ahead of them both in first place.
The Indian businessman comes from humble beginnings and has had his fair share of terrifying and life-shaping incidents that have defined his journey to unimaginable wealth.
Here are four stand-out moments that have made Adani who he is today …
1. Dropping out of university
According to Global Hues, Adani was always an ambitious youngster who was determined to be a success in life. Although his family were business oriented, he did not want to go into the family trade, which was textiles. He also dropped out of his degree at Gujarat University in his second year and moved to Mumbai from Ahmedabad.
2. Sorting diamonds
Leaving his family and studies behind, and with little money in his pocket, Adani landed a job at the Mahindra Brothers as a diamond sorter, reported Global Hues.
Later, he set up his own diamond brokerage business, which was so successful that he was a millionaire by the time he was 20. In 1981, his brother asked him to return home to run a small plastics factory, which he did. He also went into business with a cousin and it was from here that he began to dabble in commodities and import/export, the foundation of his future empire.
3. Surviving a terror attack …
In 2008, a series of terrorist attacks in Mumbai claimed the lives of 175 people. Ten Pakistani men with ties to terror group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba entered buildings across Mumbai, opening fire and killing indiscriminately, before nine of their number were also killed. The coordinated attacks carried on for three days.
4. … and a kidnapping
Those attacks were not Adani’s only brush with mortal danger. After he dropped out of university and found success with his diamond company, he moved back to Ahmedabad and set up a commodities trading venture in 1988.
According to Times Now News, his wealth drew attention and in 1997 he was abducted at gunpoint along with politician Shantilal Patel as they left the Karnavati Club. The publication reported that a scooter blocked their way while a van with a group of men kidnapped them. Adani was later freed without a ransom being paid, though he doesn’t talk too much about what exactly happened, telling the Financial Times in 2013 that “two or three very unfortunate incidents happened in my life, that is one of them”.
- As Adani’s wealth has soared, he has overtaken Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Mukesh Ambani and Louis Vuitton’s Bernard Arnault to lie behind only Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos
- After dropping out of Gujarat University, he worked at Mahindra Brothers in Mumbai – then survived the 2008 terrorist attacks at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel