Among the world's richest men, Anil Ambani is an Indian business mogul who currently serves as the Chairman of the Reliance Group, one of India's leading private sector organizations with global interests in telecommunications, entertainment, financial services, energy, and infrastructure. Following his father's death in 2002, Ambani took over the reins of the Indian conglomerate, headquartered in Mumbai, India. Since then, he has been regarded by some as a financial wizard.
Among his many professional credits include launching India's largest IPO and eventually raising $2 billion from the international financial market. Likewise, in 2005 Ambani made his debut in the entertainment industry with the acquisition of a controlling stake in Adlabs Films, which was later renamed Reliance MediaWorks. In 2008, a billion-dollar joint venture with Steven Spielberg's production company, DreamWorks, cast Ambani's entertainment business on a global platform. In 2004, the Indian businessman turned his attention away from his media empire so that he could focus on the political arena. He served in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India until 2006. Despite his many ups and downs over the years, Ambani has never been one to shy away from the spotlight and has been linked with several Bollywood personalities.
In 1983 Ambani received his Master of Business Administration degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. But soon, the scion of one of India's wealthiest families discovered that his education was not complete. After returning to Mumbai, India, Ambani was more than a little proud to explain to his father how he'd fast-tracked through Wharton's prestigious two-year MBA program in less than 15 months. To which his father sternly explained that his alma mater hadn't prepared him for real world problems in India such as customs duties, excise duties, income tax, sales tax, and Parliament. And when asked what MBA stands for, Ambani's smug response was met with another fatherly rebuke. "An MBA represents Manē Badhā Āvō che," his father told him, which in Gujarati means: "I am know all."
Despite these harsh life lessons, Ambani and Wharton have maintained strong connections over time. A current member of Wharton's Board of Overseers, in 2001 he became the first recipient of the Wharton Indian Alumni Award. Ambani personally received the award from Wharton's Dean, who cited the Indian businessman's increasing contributions in his home country.
Ambani then explained what being a Wharton grad meant to him. "The Wharton School and the [University of Pennsylvania] community have greatly influenced my life and made significant contributions to my success," he said. "What I learned has guided me well in my endeavor to help build a globally competitive and truly world class organization, Reliance, out of India."
In 2007 the alumnus was back on campus, this time as a benefactor. With a multimillion-dollar gift for his alma mater, Ambani took part in a special dedication ceremony for the new Wharton auditorium that would be named after his late father, who challenged his son to balance the benefits of an elite formal education with the lessons of the real world.