Prem Goyal’s story so far…
My story began in India, where I grew up the youngest of 11 children and attended state schools. During my summers as a child, I would stay at my sister’s house, 150 miles outside of Delhi. My sister place had no bathroom, no running water and one electric light. I remember collecting five buckets of buffalo dung every day, which I’d shape into pancakes, slap them on walls to dry and then use for fuel. I’m pleased to share that I was the dung collector champion!
Through hard work at school I won entry to the Indian Institute of Technology, one of the world’s leading engineering universities, where I earned my bachelor’s degree in 1986. On the back of that I encouraged my family to send two of my nieces to university. They were the first women from my family to take higher education.
I then went to the US on a teaching scholarship to study for a Masters’ in engineering at Clarkson University, New York. My excitement of flying for the first time was short-lived. The second I stepped off the plane I dropped to the bottom of society. The language, culture and food were all new to me. Even worse I only had $20 to get me through my first 7 days. But I reminded myself that I had come to New York to fulfil my dream of having a global business. And I would work day and night to achieve this goal.
At this time, I realised that in order to be a successful entrepreneur, I needed to acquire a combination of three ingredients at the same time. They are top business skills, substantial savings and a global profile. I understood that it would require determination, a razor-sharp focus and making sacrifices for 10-15 years.
I immediately decided to save 50% of my monthly scholarship, which was no easy feat, I assure you. I never ate out in New York for the first 12 months, but I still had the most delicious food everyday… because I cooked it myself!
As I got a grip on my life, I suffered a brain haemorrhage. But I recovered from this setback with the help of my wonderful roommates and stayed focused on my education, graduating with a Masters’ degree in engineering.
Afterwards, I got a job as a project engineer and set a goal of saving $50,000 in three years. I worked overtime all the time. When not working 60 hours per week, I would use my time to volunteer as a fire-fighter and work on my funny accent. By the way, I never had any accent problems in India!
I can’t tell you how happy I felt when I had saved 50,000 dollars, enough to pursue my next dream of studying at a top business school.
In 1992, I graduated with an MBA from UCLA with the Dean’s Outstanding Student Award, the highest honour given to any student. And I had no outstanding student loans.
After graduation, I joined Sales and Trading at Goldman Sachs on Wall Street. I immediately set a goal of saving one million dollars in ten years. By the way, I was interviewed 31 times before I got that job!
Having worked for Goldman Sachs, I decided to build a global profile. In subsequent years, I lived in London, Tokyo and Zurich while consulting with senior bankers at Deutsche Bank and Citibank and travelled to about 50 countries. After working for 80 hours a week for seven years, I saved one million dollars three years earlier than planned.
Armed with my business education, savings and global profile, I launched Global Markets Consultants in the City of London in 2002. Until 2013, my company created hundreds of consulting jobs and contributed millions in corporate and individual taxes to HMRC. Specialising in derivatives, I worked with many Managing Directors, including several Management Board members, at Deutsche Bank London for 12 years. Since 2013, GMC has been focusing on corporate social responsibility and governance while I manage its investments in the US and UK.
I passionately pursue my charitable, civic and travelling interests. I support charities which promote diversity, especially in the boardroom, inclusion and social mobility. I’ve also raised over £250,00 for charitable causes by completing challenges, such as running the London Marathon, cycling 500Km in Vietnam and Cambodia and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Additionally, I have committed three million pounds of my savings towards philanthropic endeavours.
I’ve served as a JP for ten years in East London. And to date, I’ve delivered inspiring talks to thousands of young people including in the House of Commons and House of Lords.
I love travelling. I’ve been to 135 countries and far flung places such as the North Pole and the South Pole. If you love polar bears, then I suggest you go to the North Pole, and if you love penguins, then go to the South Pole.
To recognise my services to the economy, my entrepreneurial and charitable contributions, I was awarded an OBE in 2013. Additionally, I was chosen to have a lunch with the Queen on the top table for a Diamond Jubilee celebration event. And in 2014, Boris Johnson, then Mayor of London, presented the 2014 Individual Community Spirit Award to me.
On reflection, this has all been possible because of the opportunities provided to me by the City of London. After coming here on a business trip in 1999, I fell in love with London overnight because of its diversity, cricket and….curry!
I am extremely grateful to the City for embracing me and giving me the chance to start my global business. I’ve lived in the City for 20 years, and for 10 years right next to Tower Bridge. Would you believe that this is the same bridge that was plastered on my bedroom wall back in India!?
Having become an Alderman of the City of London, a volunteer role, in 2018, I’ve started giving back to the City what it has given me over the years. I am proud of that.