S02E14 Vijay Eswaran: From Taxi Driver to Billionaire

S02E14 Vijay Eswaran: From Taxi Driver to Billionaire

Vijay Eswaran is the Executive Chairman of the QI Group of Companies. Born in Penang, Malaysia, in 1960, to hardworking parents, Vijay had a childhood filled with moves around his native country.

His education brought him to the UK, and in 1984, Eswaran graduated from the London School of Economics with a degree in Socioeconomics. In 1998, Eswaran returned to Malaysia after several years of work that stretched globally, and he co-founded the multilevel marketing company that has grown into what we now know as the QI Group.

The QI Group of Companies describe themselves as a diversified multinational entity catering to varied businesses that include education, hospitality, direct selling, financial services, and retail.

Vijay would be forgiven for stopping once achieving this conglomerate, however, he has also gone on to establish the RYTHM Foundation and the Vijayaratnam Foundation (named after his father), and has written several books.

We chat about:

  • Why getting a degree today is no longer completely necessary
  • Losing his scholarship and being sent to the UK by his father
  • Working as a cab driver while studying in order to pay his student fees under the Thatcher regime
  • Taking a year off in order to hitchhike around Europe
  • Going through 33 days of silence in an Italian monastery
  • Building the QI Group
  • Giving back and living in the now


QI Group of Companies

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The Secret Leaders podcast features interviews with key figures from the UK tech and creative ecosystem. From entrepreneurs (both early and latter stage), to journalists, VCs - and even royalty - the series profiles those who have helped shape the nation's culture of innovation and growth.

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