Success Story of Ratan Tata: India’s Most Philanthropic Tycoon

February 19, 2024
success story of ratan tata

Quick Summary

  • Ratan Tata, born into the prominent Tata family in 1937, took over the reins of the Tata Group in 1991 after serving in various capacities within the conglomerate.
  • Under his leadership, the Tata Group expanded globally, acquiring iconic brands and making it one of the largest and most diversified multinational corporations from India.
  • Known for his visionary leadership, Ratan Tata emphasized innovation, ethical business practices, and corporate social responsibility, steering the Tata Group towards sustainable growth and social impact initiatives.
  • Beyond business, Ratan Tata’s philanthropic endeavors have significantly contributed to education, healthcare, and rural development, earning him widespread respect and admiration both in India and globally.

Table of Contents

“I don’t believe in taking the right decisions. I take decisions and then make them right.” This is a very famous quote from the success story of Ratan Tata. He is the ex-chairman of Tata Group, a philanthropist, visionary, and industrialist.

He is one of India’s most prominent and prosperous businessmen. The net worth of Ratan Tata is over $1 billion (INR 8250 Crore). He is the great-grandson of Jamsetji Tata, the founder of the Tata Group.

In 1991, Ratan Tata joined the Tata Group. During his tenure, Tata Group became the largest conglomerate in India. The success story of Ratan Tata is widely known. With his interests and ideas, he expanded the Tata Group in many sectors such as automobiles, steel, hotel, etc.

In 2008, he launched the world’s cheapest car, a $2,200 Tata Nano, the “People’s Car.” Tata is also one of the world’s most great philanthropists, donating 60-65% of his earnings to charity. The success story of Ratan Tata has earned him a place in the hearts of millions.

Read on to know the success story of Ratan Tata, his early life, career, philanthropy work, and more.

Early Life of Ratan Tata

Born on 28 Dec. 1937 in Bombay, now Mumbai, during the British Raj, Ratan Tata is an Indian industrialist, philanthropist, and former chairman of Tata Group. The now 85-year-old is the son of Naval Tata and Sooni.

As a part of Ratan Tata’s struggle story, in 1948, when he was only 10 years old, his parents got divorced. As a result, he was brought up by Navajbai Tata, his grandmother. Tata has a younger brother Jimmy Tata and a half-brother Noel Tata.

In Ratan Tata’s early life, he attended the Campion School in Mumbai till the eighth grade. He was then enrolled in Mumbai’s Cathedral and John Connon Schools, and later in Shimla’s Bishop Cotton School.

He graduated from Riverdale Country School in New York City in 1955. There he earned a degree in architecture with structural engineering from Cornell University in the United States. Later, in 1975, he enrolled at Harvard Business School and completed an Advanced Management Programme.

The story of Ratan Tata tells that his career began with the Tata Steel division in 1962. He was appointed director-in-charge of the National Radio & Electronics Company Limited nine years later.

He was transferred to Empress Mills, a failing textile plant under the Tata Group in 1977. His idea was rejected by other Tata executives, and the mill was closed down.

Earn in Six-figures with chegg

Tata Group

Founded in 1868 in Mumbai, the Tata Group is the largest Indian multinational conglomerate. Jamsetji Tata, “the father of Indian industry”, is the founder of Tata Group. The products and services of Tata Group are present in over 150 countries and operations in 100 countries spanning six continents.

There are 30 publicly traded Tata Group companies. Each of these is guided and supervised by its board of directors and shareholders. Philanthropic trusts own 66% of Tata Sons, the Tata holding business, whereas the Tata family owns just a minor portion.

As of March 2023, the market value of Tata Group stands at Rs 21.1 Lakh Crore, making it the most valuable business group preceding Reliance Industries.

The success story of Ratan Tata in Tata Group began when JRD Tata stepped down as chairman of Tata Sons in 1991 and Ratan Tata was chosen as his successor.

He convinced Tata Tea to buy Tetley, Tata Motors to buy Jaguar Land Rover, and Tata Steel to buy Corus, transforming it from a mostly Indian concern into a multinational firm. He also designed the Tata Nano vehicle. The car’s price was designed to be affordable for the Indian buyer.

In 2008, Tata set up one of the largest philanthropic organizations in India, the Tata Trusts. In the same year, Tata was awarded the Padma Vibhusan for his national service.

The combined revenue of $128 billion (INR 9.6 trillion) in 2021-22 speaks volumes for the success story of Ratan Tata. Tata’s major interests span from steel, automobiles, and telecommunications to software consultancy, hotels, and consumer products.

Tata Group has come a long way since he took over as chairman in 1991. That was also the year India began the economic reforms that would propel it to the top of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
During his 21-year tenure, the revenue increased more than 40 times and the profit increased more than 50 times. The success story of Ratan Tata took a turn when in 2012, on his 75th birthday, he retired as chairman of the Tata Group.

He was succeeded by Cyrus Mistry, managing director of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group. In 2016, Cyrus Mistry resigned as chairman of Tata Sons, and Ratan Tata was appointed as temporary chairman.

Ratan Tata: The Philanthropist

The inspiring story of Ratan Tata, a patron of education, medicine, and rural development, can be proven from the following philanthropy work:

  • He assisted the University of New South Wales Faculty of Engineering in assisting underprivileged communities with greater water access.
  • A $28 million Tata Scholarship Fund was established by the Tata Education and Development Trust. This will make it possible for Cornell University to provide financial aid to undergraduate Indian students. The annual award will help about 20 students at a time.
  • 2010 saw a $50 million gift from Tata Group Enterprises and Tata Charities to Harvard Business School (HBS) for the construction of an executive centre.
  • Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) has received a $35 million donation from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). The fund was for cognitive systems and autonomous vehicle research labs. It is the largest corporate contribution ever made, including the 48,000-square-foot building.
  • In 2014, the Tata Group made a Rs. 950 million donation to the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. The funds are for establishing the Tata Centre for Technology and Design (TCTD). It was the largest gift the institute has ever received.
  • The Centre for Neuroscience at the Indian Institute of Science also received a 750 million funding from Tata Trusts. This fund was to explore the processes underlying the etiology of Alzheimer’s disease and to develop ways for its early identification and treatment.
  • The Tata Group also established the MIT Tata Centre of Technology and Design at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Awards and Recognition

Ratan Tata’s success story includes winning the third- and second-highest civilian awards in India, the Padma Bhushan in 2000 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2008, respectively.

Along with national civilian accolades, the success story of Ratan Tata also includes a number of state civilian honors. For instance, the ‘Maharashtra Bhushan’ in 2006 for his outstanding service to public administration in Maharashtra and the ‘Assam Baibhav’ in 2021 for his remarkable contribution to cancer care in Assam.

This year, Ratan Tata was granted an Honorary Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO) for his work in India-Australia commerce, investment, and philanthropy.

Ten Interesting Facts About Ratan Tata

From being raised by his grandmother to turning down an offer from IBM for working for his family business, listed below are the 10 such interesting facts about Ratan Tata’s inspirational story:

  1. Naval Tata, Ratan Tata’s father, was the adopted son of Ratanji Tata, the younger son of Jamsetji Tata, the founder of the Tata Group.
  2. When Ratan Tata’s parents separated when he was 10 years old, his grandmother Navajbai Tata took care of raising him.
  3. In honour of Ratan Tata (AMP ’75), the executive centre at Harvard Business School is now known as Tata Hall.
  4. During the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, Ratan Tata showed kindness and leadership. He stood alone outside the Taj hotel, unarmed, and assisted the work to assist the victims. He visited the families of all 80 employees who were murdered or injured.
  5. Under his able leadership, the Tata Group’s revenues climbed more than 40 times. Profits soared by a factor of more than 50. The corporation made roughly $103 billion in 2016, up from $5.7 billion in 1991.
  6. He is ranked among the billionaires or wealthiest people in the world, even after his family and business devote more than 65% of their wealth to charity.
  7. Ratan Tata has also received the Padma Vibhushan and Padma Bhushan. The awards were in honor of his role in the growth of India via the building the healthcare facilities and better education centers.
  8. Ratan Tata set a goal in 2009 to create the cheapest vehicle that the country’s low-income population could buy. He followed through on his pledge, and Indian roads saw the advent of the Rs 1 lakh Tata Nano.
  9. Ratan Tata is most known for his love of dogs. Since the days of Jamsetji Tata, the Bombay House, which serves as Tata Sons’ headquarters, has had a tradition of getting in stray dogs during rainstorms.
  10. Ratan Tata began his career at the Tata Group. His job at Tata Steel was to see the blast furnace and the limestone dump. He turned down an offer from IBM in favor of working for his family business.

Success Story of Ratan Tata Touches Millions

The success story of Ratan Tata is nothing short of inspiring. His life and work have touched the lives of millions of people in India and around the world. Ratan Tata’s creative leadership, ethical values, and welfare work have made him a hero for many.

His gains in the business world and his grants to society prove that success can be achieved by combining hard work, determination, and a deep sense of purpose. The life story of Ratan Tata serves as a source of inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders, showing that with the right mindset, anything is possible.

Innovative, low-investment ideas for the hidden entrepreneur in you! Explore our guide on Business Ideas.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Why Ratan Tata is a hero?

Ratan Tata is a hero because of his philanthropy, leadership abilities, ethical ideals, and dedication to social responsibility. He took Tata Groups to greater heights by putting in new ideas and supporting people around. The success story of Ratan Tata truly excites millions of people. He is a role model for aspiring entrepreneurs.

What is unique about Ratan Tata?

Ratan Tata is unique in the world of business:
1. For his visionary leadership and his ability to think beyond the common norms of the industry.
2. For regular involvement in various philanthropic work.
3. For putting the interests of the company and its stakeholders ahead of his own.

What can we learn from Ratan Tata?

Business is not just about making profits, it is also about making a good impact on society. This is the biggest lesson to learn from the success story of Ratan Tata. Other notable lessons one can learn from Ratan Tata’s motivational story include
1. Visionary leadership.
2. Commitment to social responsibility.
3. Personal ethics.
4. Willingness to take risks.
5. Embracing failure

Why is Tata successful in India?

The success story of Ratan Tata is due to his
1. Visionary leadership.
2. Strategic thinking.
3. Devotion to corporate social responsibility.
4. Investment in innovation,
5. Risks-taking attitude.
6. Branching into new sectors.
7. Honesty and ethics.

Other Related Reads

To read more related articles, click here.

Got a question on this topic?

Related Articles