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Minister Piyush Goyal on his PhD dream: Got admission in Wharton Business School


Union minister Piyush Goyal said that he had got admission for PhD in University of Pennsylvania’s The Wharton School in 1988 but did not join the institution because of a labour crisis at a factory he had started. In an exclusive interaction with The Lallantop, he talks about his younger days when he was studying and running a business at the same time.

Union Minister of Commerce & Industry Piyush Goyal during an interview.

“The year I did CA, I had also done law from Government Law College. I always had interest in business and I wanted to enter the field of finance. In 1979, I did [Class] 10th. When I got good marks in Class X, there was a sway – why’d you do BCom? So, I took admission in Jai Hind College to study Science. I studied Science in the beginning in Class XI,” he said.

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He added, “Halfway through my 11th standard in 1980, my grandmother passed away. So our entire family had gathered and was mourning. My brother had also returned [from the US]. In the 14 days [of mourning], everyone was together. In our conversations, everyone agreed I should pursue my dream. After that I shifted to H.R. College in Commerce. It was very difficult to get admission those days,” he recollected.

When Piyush Goyal started a business

The minister said, “When I was in [Class] 12th, in 1980-81, that’s when I decided to start my own business. My father was about to retire in 1981. I was in class XII and my age was 17, and I decided I will start a business.”

“I still remember I went to Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Bhatinda. I went to Gohana in Haryana because I was told that scooter horns were built there. I thought if I should start a scooter horn business. Different things. I studied how bicycle chains were made. Studied various industries. I remember I had gone to Indore. There was Madhya Pradesh Audyogik Vikas Nigam (MPAVN). I travelled across Dhar, Pithampur. There was an industrial development area there. I had studied capsule making plants to make gelatin capsule. Studied real estate. Studied many things and then I started a small factory after my father retired,” he said.

What Piyush Goyal said on his PhD plans

Talking about his PhD plans, Piyush Goyal said, “I was still interested in studying further. So I took admission in PhD. This is the first time I am sharing this, I had got admission in Wharton Business School in University of Pennsylvania in 1988. The professor was interviewing me on the phone, landline. There were no mobiles back then. The professor was saying they were surprised I had industrial experience, I had done CA and Law. I explained all of this [his profile] to him. I had stood second in India in CA, I had second in India in law. Before that, I had stood second in BCom in Bombay University.”



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