Billionaire Business Leader And Philanthropist Binod Chaudhary On Risk, Sacrifice And Family
Gen.T’s podcast Crazy Smart Asia explores the unexpected stories of Asia’s disruptors.
This week, Gen.T’s Tamara Lamunière is in the interviewer’s chair for the episode, talking with entrepreneur, philanthropist and Nepal’s only billionaire, Binod Chaudhary.
Binod is the chairman of CG Corp Global, a multinational conglomerate that comprises over 160 companies—with interests in everything from education to hospitality—employing more than 15,000 people.
Aside from his business success, Binod has an active public life. He’s served as a member of Nepal’s parliament for a number of years, and his non-profit, The Chaudhary Foundation, is dedicated to the sustainable development of Nepal.
Among other topics, the two discuss navigating the hurdles unique to a family business, the importance of a risk appetite and the one key trait you need for business success that you won’t get from an MBA.
UNEXPECTEDLY TAKING OVER THE FAMILY BUSINESS AT 18
"Every step I encountered problems and obstacles. Life was tough, it was not easy. But the toughness of the whole journey made me tougher every day. I never felt that it was too difficult, that I didn’t have the right kind of experience or education behind me so I’d be better off taking a backseat. That thought never, ever occurred. And I think that's what gave me strength. I did not feel told that I had any kind of limitation. I had full confidence and courage. As a matter of fact, I wanted to move at a much faster pace than my dad did."
WHAT YOU WON’T LEARN AT BUSINESS SCHOOL
"Once I was speaking to students at Oxford’s Saïd Business School, and I opened my statement by saying, 'If you all believe that this college is going to make you an entrepreneur, you are mistaken. Entrepreneurs are born.' However, what a good business school does is help you think in a more systematic manner, it gives you a great network and gives you exposure. There are many other enabling ecosystems that help you, but they don’t make you an entrepreneur."
FOLLOWING YOUR GUT
"All the businesses that I’ve made that have become big in my career, the feasibilities were not done by PwC or EY or any professional economists or gurus. It all came from the heart. It was my business acumen, it was my intuition. It was all situations that I was thrown into and I made the right decision at the spur of the moment. I took risks, a huge amount of risk, which, in hindsight, probably nobody would support—a traditional businessman or an investor would never support."
THE IMPORTANCE OF BALANCE
"To have a holistic life, a life that is complete, there has to be a balance between your professional aspirations, and the right element of spirituality. These two elements look like the two extremities of a line, like the two shores of a river, but they need to travel together."
THE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE OF A FAMILY BUSINESS
"I think it's the right blend of family values and family tradition, as well as the pains, so to speak. I think what puts family businesses apart from a purely professionally run company is the fact that my blood and sweat, as well as the future of my next generation, and many more generations to come, is invested there."
THE IMPORTANCE OF A STRONG NETWORK
"I didn't have a formal education; my education came from my network, my strengths came from my network. Whenever I needed to do something that was extraordinary, different, challenging, I had someone to help me, someone to whom I could look at. And that doesn't happen just by calling on someone when you need that person. It has to be a relationship, an unconditional journey, which is a lot of giving, a lot of sharing. It takes time. If you are a good time manager, if you have discipline, you can always find time."
THE NECESSITY OF SACRIFICE
"To get something, you've got to sacrifice something in return. But there's nothing wrong in sacrificing if there is a purpose behind it, if it serves a meaningful purpose. It's not always quitting the battle just because it's become tougher—sometimes the strategic goal is to sacrifice, to leave something to the table because there is a bigger game."
Quotes are edited for clarity and brevity.
Listen to the episode and subscribe using your preferred podcast platform on the Crazy Smart Asia hub page.