IIBMS ANSWER SHEETS – Ask Suraj bhai about the dot-com burst and he may grin at you as if to say, “What burst?’’ Suraj bhai, a 38-year-old entrepreneur, owns an Internet business that sells loose diamonds to various buyers

Ask Suraj bhai about the dot-com burst and he may grin at you as if to say, “What burst?’’ Suraj bhai, a 38-year-old entrepreneur, owns an Internet business that sells loose diamonds to various buyers
Ask Suraj bhai about the dot-com burst and he may grin at you as if to say, “What burst?’’ Suraj bhai, a 38-year-old entrepreneur, owns an Internet business that sells loose diamonds to various buyers

 

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Organizational Behavior

CASE I
 
A DIAMOND PERSONALITY
Ask Suraj bhai about the dot-com burst and he may grin at you as if to say, “What burst?’’ Suraj bhai, a 38-year-old entrepreneur, owns an Internet business that sells loose diamonds to various buyers. Business is becoming for Suraj bhai. In 2004, he had sales of INR 3,500 million. Needless to say, Suraj bhai is optimistic about his business venture.
            The future wasn’t always to bright for Suraj bhai, however. In 1985, Suraj bhai moved from his native town Suraj, to New Delhi, with little ability to speak English. There, he attended language courses and worked at the local mall to support himself. After graduation, his roommate’s girlfriend suggested that he work at a local jeweler. “I thought she was crazy. I didn’t know anything about jewelry,’’ says Suraj bhai, who took her advice. Though he worked hard and received his Diamonds and Diamonds Grading certification from the Gemological Institute, he wasn’t satisfied with his progress. `I quickly realized that working there, I was just going to get a salary with a raise here and there. I would never become anything. That drove me to explore other business ventures. I also came to really known diamonds – their pricing and their quality.’’
            In 1997, tired of working for someone else, Suraj bhai decided to open his own jewelry store. However, business didn’t boom. `Some of my customers were telling me they could find diamonds for less on the Interest. It blew my mind’’ Surajy bhai recognized an opportunity and began contacting well-known diamond dealers to see if they would be interested in selling their gems online. Suraj bhai recalls one conversation with a prominent dealer who told him, `You cannot sell diamonds on the Internet. You will not survive.’’ Discouraged, Suraj bhai then says that he made a mistake. “I stopped working on it. If you have a dream, you have to keep working harder at it.’’
            A year later, Suraj bhai did work harder at his dream and found a dealer who agreed to provide him with some diamonds. Says Suray bhai, “Once I had one. I could approach others. Business started to build. The first 3 months I sold INR 20 million worth of diamonds right off the bat. And that was just me. I started to add employees and eventually closed the jewelry store and got out of retail.’’ Although Suraj bhai does have some diamonds in inventory, he primarily acts as a connection point between buyers and suppliers, giving his customers an extraordinary selection from which to choose.
            Suraj bhai is now a savvy entrepreneur, and his company, Abhisaz.com, went public in October 2003.
            Why is Suraj bhai successful? Just ask two people who have known Suraj bhai over the years. Yogesh bhai, a realtor who helped build Suraj bhai building, says, “Suraj bhai is a very ambitious young man. I am not surprised at all how successful he is. He is an entrepreneur in the truest sense of the world.’’ One of Suraj bhai former real-estate instructors, Arun Jain, concurs. `I am not surprised at all at his success,’’ says Arun. “Suraj bhai has always been an extremely motivated individual with a lot of resources. He has a wonderful personality and pays close attention to detail. He also has an ability to stick to things. You could tell from the beginning that he was going to persevere, and I am proud of him.’’
            Suraj bhai is keeping his success in perspective, but he also realizes his business’ potential: “I take a very small salary, and our overhead in INR 25 million a year. I am not in debt, and the business is breaking ever. I care about the company. I want to keep everything even until we take off, and then it may be another ball game.’’
Questions:
 
  1. What factors do you think attributed to Suraj bhai’s success? Was he merely “in the right place at the right time’’, or are there characteristics about him that contribute to his success?
  2. How do you believe Suraj bhai would score on the Big Five dimensions of personality (extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, openness to experience)? Which ones would he score high on? Which ones might he score low on?
  3. Do you believe that Suraj bhai is high or low on core self-evaluations? On what information did you base your decision?
  4. What information about Suraj bhai suggests that he has a proactive personality?
 
Ask Suraj bhai about the dot-com burst and he may grin at you as if to say, “What burst?’’ Suraj bhai, a 38-year-old entrepreneur, owns an Internet business that sells loose diamonds to various buyers

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