31 October 2009

A professor's multi-million-dollar bread biz

A professor's multi-million-dollar bread biz

Fifty-four-year-old M Mahadevan is today known not only in India, but overseas too, as 'Hot Breads Mahadevan'.

His journey from being a professor at the Madras University to an entrepreneur in charge of a multi-million-dollar business spanning various countries can only be described as amazingly inspiring.

But the man is still the same: simple hearted and hard working. Here is his interesting story.

Early days

I come from a simple town in Tamil Nadu called Udumalpet; it is 65 kilometres from Coimbatore. Though both my parents were doctors, I took my post graduate degree in Commerce.

My interest in the hotel industry began after reading Arthur Hailey's Hotel. I had just joined college then. In hindsight, I feel what attracted me to the hotel industry was people; I love meeting people.

My parents also met people, but only those who were in pain and misery, and I want to meet people who are happy. Those who come to a bakery or restaurant are always in a joyous mood.

I came to Chennai in 1979 as an Assistant Professor at Madras University. I taught Marketing to management and accounts students. That was during daytime.

The passion to be in the hotel industry was so intense that I started working for four hours at Hotel Ambassador Pallava at night to learn more about the industry. I was a trainee, a bell boy, a receptionist: everything. So, you can say I was a professor during day time and a bell boy in the evening.

My mother was aghast when she came to know about what I was doing. She asked, 'Are you mad? You are a teacher, and then you are going and cleaning tables? I can't understand this. I will not be able to find a girl to marry you!'

Image: M Mahadevan with the goodies prepared at his Hot Breads bakery.
Photographs: S Ramesh

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Src: Rediff.com

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