Ratan Tata began his schooling at South Bombay’s Campion School. Followed by a stint at Bishop Cotton in Shimla and finished off back in Bombay at Cathedral and John Connon School.
Goes to the US for higher studies — Late 1950s
After finishing school, Ratan Tata went to Cornell University in the US to study BS in architecture with structural engineering. He graduated in 1962 and returned a few years later to the United States to complete the Advanced Management Program from Harvard Business School in 1975.
Joined family business – 1962
After completing his graduate degree in Cornell, Tata worked briefly in Jones and Emmons, an architecture firm in Los Angeles. In late 1962, Tata returned home to join Tata Steel, on the advice of then chairman of the group JRD Tata. Initially, Ratan Tata worked on the shop floor of Tata Steel’s Jamshedpur plant shovelling limestone and handling the blast furnace.
Began managerial career at Tata Group — 1971
Having served at various positions in different group companies, Ratan Tata’s managerial career at the Tata Group kicked off when he was appointed the director-in-charge of National Radio and Electronics Company (NELCO) which sold radios and televisions.
Turbulent times — 1971-1974
In an era of licence-permit raj, Ratan Tata struggled to put the NELCO business back on track. Critics said he was out of depth. Barely 2% market share and mounting losses slowed the turnaround of the company. Just when Tata managed to put things right at NELCO, Emergency was declared and quickly NELCO was near collapse again. In such a backdrop, Ratan Tata joined the board of directors of Tata Sons Ltd in 1974.
Fresh start, but struggles continue — 1974-81
Ratan Tata’s next assignment at the group was not any easier than NELCO. He took charge of Empress Mills at 1977.
Having been refused a R50 lakh investment to turn around the textile mill followed by Mumbai’s textile mill workers’ strike, Empire Mills floundered and finally closed in 1986.
First signs of a future leader — 1981-1991
Amidst criticism from several quarters, JRD Tata stepped down as chairman of Tata Industries, the group’s second promoter holding company and handed over the reins to Ratan Tata in 1981. Immediately, Ratan Tata got down to work and drew up a group strategic plan in 1983 which emphasised on venturing into high-technology businesses, focussing on select markets and products,