Ultra bilyonaryo Enrique “Ricky” K. Razon was inspiring and blunt in his brief but hearty speech to the new graduates of the Asian Institute of Management (AIM).
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After giving a shoutout to the new MBA holders for their achievement last Sunday, Razon, who was conferred an honorary doctorate in Management (he was awarded Doctor of Science Honoris Causa by De La Salle University in 2019), admitted he would have been barred from enrolling at AIM’s Makati campus decades ago.
“I for one, would never have been accepted here, given my own academic performance, such is the irony of things. Thankfully, I managed to somewhat turn that around in business,” said Razon, who, according to Forbes, dropped out of school at the age of 17 to work from the bottom in his family’s cargo-loading business.
Razon said people take their masters for various reasons – climbing up the ranks in their current jobs; starting a new career; finding their calling as an entrepreneur; and “some of you may have nothing better to do but to keep on going to school.”
Whatever their motivation, Razon said “this reflects ambition on your part and your newly obtained skills and expertise will serve you well.”
He said not all MBA holders in his companies – such as International Container Terminal Services Inc., Bloomberry Resorts, and Prime Infra – have adapted to their culture and work ethic.
“What this tells you is that acquiring a higher education with specialized skills is an important tool, but it all depends on the individual on how effectively you use those skills. To some, this comes naturally and is somehow embedded in them, while others have to work harder at it. Both are pathways to success,” said Razon.
The 62-year old tycoon did not credit his success to what he was born with.
“When I first started my career a long, long time ago, there was one thing I did not possess, and that was fear. A lack of fear enabled me to take the risks that I needed to take without fearing the failures that are necessary for success,” said Razon.
“I also importantly learned that failures are inevitable and success is built on failure, provided that your successes can pay for your failures. I also had the unshakeable belief that I could build a business and eventually would be successful,” he added.
Razon said he always gets asked what his secret to success is. “I always reply that there is no secret, and even if there were a secret, I wouldn’t tell you,” he said.