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MBA Success Stories: P C Mustafa
April 10 2024

Achieving beyond imaginations

When you grow up in a small village that lacks proper roads and electricity, you don’t usually end up working in the top 10 banks in the world.Also, when you fail your grades in the 6th standard, you don’t usually end up as a student of the Indian Institute of Bangalore.Well, P.C.Mustafa isn’t your usual person. He is the CEO of a ₹ 100 crore company. And the journey from a standard six failure to a CEO wasn’t a short one.

Born in the small village of Wayanad, Kerela, Mustafa lived with his parents and his three little sisters. His father wasn’t educated much and worked as a coolie, earning daily wages. When Mustafa failed in Class 6, his father asked him to join him in his job, like a wage worker. However, Mustafa loved mathematics and his maths teacher from school was aware of this fact. Mustafa’s teacher convinced his father to allow him to continue his studies.

In Grade 7, Mustafa topped his class much to everyone’s astonishment. And after that day, there was no looking back.

Mustafa secured the 1st rank in his school, in Class 10.

That was a huge milestone for someone coming from such a humble background. Mustafa then decided to study at Junior College. However, there were no colleges in his village. Here was a boy who has never stepped out of his village, looking to pursue education outside it.

Needless to say, he made it. He secured admission at Farooq College, which was in the city of Kozhikode, outside of his village, and stayed in a hostel, even traveling to four different hostels for his charity-sponsored meals. Being weak in English and Hindi, he took the help of his friend in translating different lectures into notes.

He scored good marks and went on to write the entrance test for Engineering.

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Mustafa secured Rank No.63 in the state!

His liking for maths had paid off after all. He secured a seat for Computer Science Engineering at the National Institute of Technology with a scholarship and a student loan. Post his Engineering, he was placed at a start-up in Bengaluru. After this, he was offered a job in Motorola, in Bangalore initially,

followed by a posting in Ireland. The boy from Wayanad was moving to Ireland. After working for some time in Ireland, Mustafa started missing India and jumped at an offer of working somewhere with a lot more Indians. Dubai. Mustafa took a job in Citibank, in Dubai.

He was now earning well and he regularly sent money to his home, paid off his debts and also contributed to major events in the family such as his sister’s wedding. Mustafa eventually married as well.Now Mustafa missed his country very badly. He wanted to return home and be with his parents. He also wanted to study further. Also, he wanted to contribute something to society.

These three reasons convinced him to leave his job and come back to India. This was a BIG step. His family was shocked. They advised against it. But Mustafa had support from his wife and his cousin. So he stuck to his decision and came back to India. His goal was to study for some time, but this time, not something technical. He found management to be interesting and therefore decided to pursue management studies.

 Mustafa gave the CAT and got admission in IIM-Bangalore. He eventually passed out as an MBA Graduate in 2007.There you go, failing in grade six from a small village school in Wayanad to working in Citibank and finally securing a seat in IIM-B. This takes a lot of hard work, perseverance, and faith. These three qualities are precisely what it takes to clear management entrance exams.

The children in Mustafa’s village now look up to him and hope to make it big in the world.One lesson students can learn from Mustafa is the simplicity with which he approached each stage of his life. No gigantic dreams, no elaborate career plans. Just a simple objective: to learn, and earn.

Mustafa’s success story doesn’t end here. His journey from an IIM grad to the CEO of a ₹ 100 crore company is also a story to inspire. However, we shall leave that tale for another day.

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