Wealth is not a guarantee of education. However, even the richest people who succeeded without a formal higher education understand the value of attending college. Ritesh Agarwal, 29, is one of these billionaires and one of the faces of India Inc.’s success. The creator of the massive hotel business Oyo rose swiftly from being a college dropout to being the second-youngest self-made millionaire in the world. But according to Agarwal, the answer to the question of whether he misses higher education is a “Resounding YES.”

Born in a small town in Odisha, Ritesh dived into business at an early age. His father had a small shop in Bissam in Odisha’s Rayagada district. He moved out of home after schooling, first went to Kota in pursuit of IIT and then to Delhi. In the national capital, he dropped out of college and focussed full-time on building a business. During days of struggle, Ritesh survived by making peanuts selling SIM cards.

Oyo was founded in 2021 as a budget hotel booking platform called Oravel Stays. A big turning point came when he became the first Indian to bag the Thiel Fellowship program of billionaire technocrat Peter Thiel in 2012. Agarwal got a grant of $100,000 which helped him establish OYO Rooms in 2013.

Despite being highly-successful in business without formal education, Agarwal has admitted in the past that he misses not going to college. However, he credits the Thiel fellowship for compensating the gap and teaching him crucial lessons to become a successful entrepreneur.

Agarwal’s venture grew remarkably from town to town and in just 7 years he became the second youngest self-made billionaire in the world in 2020. In 2022, Ritesh Agarwal’s net worth stood at a whopping Rs 6,300 crore.