They are men and women from various cultures and from different backgrounds, some have an impressive academic record while others barely made it through high school; however, the one thing that is common is the sheer grit and determination of these people to achieve their dreams. Here is a look at the accomplishments of ten such extraordinary people.
The co founder of software giant Microsoft left Harvard to pursue his dream of creating a software program that would be used by nearly every computer owner in the world. Windows is the most popular operating system in the world today along with several other applications and tools that are Microsoft products. Gates has held on to the title of the richest man in the world for over a decade with his net worth dwindling from $60 to $50 billion and back.
Another story of how determination can take a person to the pinnacle of success, Oprah’s story is one of courage in the face of adversity. Her program the Oprah Winfrey Show has been the longest running and the most successful show of its kind. Winfrey, who had to face abject poverty growing up in rural Mississippi, is one of the richest entertainers in the United States today with her fortunes running into the tune of $2.7 billion.
The CEO of Berkshire and Hathaway, well known as the ‘Oracle of Omaha’, Buffet is often changing first position on the Forbes list with friend and fellow philanthropist Bill Gates. While he showed a marked reluctance for investing in tech companies, which did save him from the dot com bust, he has had a remarkably successful run with his strategy of holding the stocks of fundamentally strong companies. His hold on the stock market can be gauged by the fact that the smallest divestment in a company by Warren causes a veritable panic on Wall Street and a selling frenzy.
A true rags to riches story, Zhang Yin went from collecting waste paper in the streets of the United States to being the richest woman on the Forbes list. Her empire was built on her system of recycling paper and shipping it from the US to China. Today her company is the producer and exporter of several tons of paper and she is popularly dubbed as the Empress of Paper.
Carlos Slim Helu
The telecommunications magnate from Mexico is currently at the number one position on the Forbes list of the richest people in the world with a fortune of $60 billion. His is a story of cashing in on the development of emerging economies. Through his conglomerate Grupo Carso, Slim Helu owns a sizable number of shares in several Mexican companies in the retail, manufacturing and telecom sectors. He controls 90% of the telephone lines in Mexico through his two companies.
Hailed as the ‘Polyester Prince’ of India, Dhirubhai Ambani was the founder of Reliance. In his lifetime, he went from being a blue collar worker with Shell Corporation to establishing one of the largest petrochemical companies in the world. A man who had barely managed to finish tenth grade yet shook the business culture in India as he scaled the peak of success with his company that changed the way the normal man on the streets viewed corporate stocks. Had he been alive today, he would be worth over $50 billion.
An alumnus of Indian Institute of Management and Yale, Nooyi took on the reigns as the CEO of Pepsico in 2006 from Steven Reinemund. She was earlier the CFO of the F&B giant. Nooyi has been responsible for the restructuring of the company; its divestment in the restaurant brand ‘Yum foods’ and the acquisition of Quaker Oats and Tropicana. Since she became the CFO of Pepsico and eventually the CEO, the company’s profits have doubled while the annual revenues have increased by a whopping 72%. Nooyi constantly figures on the Forbes list of the most powerful women in the world.
Lakshmi Nivas Mittal (LN Mittal)
The steel magnate garnered world attention at the hostile acquisition of Arcelor by Mittal steel to form a conglomerate, Arcelor Mittal, the largest producer of steel in the world. With his personal wealth valued at $28.7 billion, LN Mittal is no stranger to the Forbes richest list. Although he started out in the family steel making business, he soon chose to establish his own steel making venture and its international division. Starting with a rundown steel plant in Indonesia, Mittal went on to create the largest steel making establishment in the world.
The prolific co-founder and CEO of Apple, Jobs is the man who added momentum to the personal computer revolution. He was the first to envision the impact that a mouse based GUI would have on the computer market and this led to the introduction of Macintosh. While he did leave Apple after a tiff with the board of directors and found the computer platform development company NeXt, he came back to Apple as the CEO after the acquisition of NeXT by Apple. After pancreatic cancer related health concerns, Jobs handed over the day-to-day workings of Apple to acting CEO Tim Cook and is now only involved in strategic decisions.
He is the youngest billionaire in the world who revolutionized the social networking scene while in his freshman year at Harvard. The social networking phenomenon created by Zuckerberg, "Facebook" amassed a massive fan following with an astounding 500 million members. At 26, Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire in the world with his net worth estimated to be well over $5 billion.
The success stories of many of these business magnates are studied in Ivy League schools; the most notable thing to be learnt from their examples is the fact that a person can achieve anything that he/she wants, as long as the individual has the courage to dream big and willingness to strive hard to achieve the dream.