The Power of Passion and Ethics: Championing Affordability for All – Rohan Parikh

Having graduated from the Wharton School of Business in the U.S, Rohan Parikh, Managing Director of the Apurva Natvar Parikh Group (ANPG), began his career as a Financial Services Consultant in New York for some of the biggest Fortune 500 companies at a time when the use of data driven marketing analysis was just beginning. Rohan also holds an MBA degree from INSEAD and an M.Ed from Johns Hopkins University.

“At a certain point, I realized that there was a promising future in South Asia and I was very excited by the opportunities presented by the Real Estate industry. In 2003, I decided to return and start working in Mumbai (erstwhile Bombay). Ever since then, we have been one of the pioneers in real estate. From undertaking some of the first re-development projects in Mumbai to some of the first affordable luxury developments in Colombo. Along the way I have also founded an education company that is dedicated to building high-quality low-cost schools across India, while also managing our transportation business, which is 50 years old, and bringing it into the 21st century.”

Of the role models in his life, Rohan said, “I have had several role models in my life. I learned a lot about business from my father and his closest friends, who took me under their wing. The two most important things I learned are that a business requires commitment, and that your reputation and integrity must always be of the highest standard. While it’s always easy to find a shortcut to do something, it’s essential to maintain your code of ethics and keep an eye on the long run. I also learned how to seek opportunity in all circumstances and to not be dissuaded.”

On being questioned about what keeps him going in the face of adversity, Rohan replied, “I always view adversity as an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to make a mistake, learn from it and come back stronger. For example, with the coronavirus situation, it’s an opportunity to find and create something new that people will want. Tough times always result in change, and change always presents an opportunity for an entrepreneur, as our job is to build products and services that respond to the changing needs of the people.”

“I would say that my greatest strengths are 3 things. One is optimism. I rarely allow myself to be set back or disappointed or deflated, as I always believe that as long as we follow our moral code, and work hard and intelligently, opportunities will present themselves. My second strength is that I’ve always been able to build and lead a strong team around me. Having the implicit trust of my team and the ability to push people to excel have always helped me in my career. Lastly, everything is based on being organized and disciplined. So, while in my companies we have a lot of creativity and a great deal of latitude is given to our employees, there’s also a strong structure and many systems in place. As long as you have these, they will form an underlying grid upon which you can nurture creativity and excellence”, explained Rohan, listing his greatest strengths and how he utilizes them in his professional life.

Speaking of how ANPG has grown over the years following its inception and his contribution to the conglomerate’s growth thus far, the Managing Director stated, “ANPG is a third-generation company, which was founded in 1947. One of the things my grandfather always said was – “We are in the business of doing business. We aren’t in any particular business industry per se.” So, my grandfather founded a port services company that morphed into a heavy transportation company under my father and later grew into a real estate development entity in my generation. What is important is that we have a foundational sense of how we do things, our quality and ethics, and based on that we are able to adjust to just about everything. So, today, from the small company that serviced the Mumbai (erstwhile Bombay) port, we are involved in port management, heavy cargo, shipping, real estate, education, hospitality and even retail.”

On the topic of what sets ANPC (Apurva Natvar Parikh Construction) apart from others of its kind, Rohan disclosed that, “What sets us apart I believe, is that we are able to combine the feeling of a family company with the rigors of a large corporation. Thus, we have exacting standards, very strong systems, audits and checks in place, while at the same time, our team is extremely flexible and non-formal so that everyone is able to do everything they need to do.”

“Iconic Developments is growing from strength to strength. We built Iconic 110 Parliament Road a few years ago. It was sold out before completion. It has already set the benchmark for what affordable luxury should be like. We’ve taken that model even further with Iconic Galaxy. That project is now two thirds sold and will be delivered next year. Again, we have completely pushed the boundaries on what affordable luxury looks like. There is no project in Colombo, which offers the amenities and services we do at the prices we do. So, we believe that our presence has helped the Sri Lankan consumer by pushing down price and improving quality, while at the same time forcing our competitors to improve their game”, responded Rohan when asked about the current status of ANPCL’s subsidiary – Iconic Developments (Pvt) Ltd – in Sri Lanka.

According to Rohan, the primary advantages of vertical living, specifically at the Iconic buildings are cost and convenience. “Having an apartment in a building provides you with access to many facilities that you wouldn’t otherwise have at a very low cost, such as a pool, gym, banquet hall, entertainment center, medical center, laundry and so on and so forth. If you put all that in a house, it would be prohibitively expensive. Vertical living, especially at Iconic buildings offers one a sense of security, since you’re living in a well-protected safe space. Your children can go around and enjoy the complex and its facilities without any worry. Basically, it takes the stress out of urban living.”

Rohan is also the Managing Director of The Acres Foundation, which was founded with the aim of innovating and improving the system of education in India. “We believe that private education is the force that will change the needs of India. What we have actually done is look at a cost quality ratio and try to ensure that we can constantly improve the quality of education by reducing its cost. This is done through the innovative use of technology, and investing in human resources and teachers by developing their capabilities, which can be done smartly without incurring a huge cost. Our ultimate goal is to create a model set of schools that can motivate other schools to follow suit and really boost the quality of education.”

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