Kunal Desai, the CEO of Bulls of Wall Street, went from being a middle-class immigrant kid to a self-made multi-millionaire. Kunal started off with the stock market in college, where he made substantial money and lost it all several times in a row. Tune in to our newest podcast and find out how he recovered, and what he learned in the process.
From an Immigrant Child to Self-Made Millionaire
Kunal’s parents were first-generation middle-class immigrants. So, while they weren’t living in poverty, the name of the game was “if you want something, go out there and get it.”
So, when the millionaire in the making tried to kill the free time at college, he got into the one thing that seemed to him as the quickest way into money: stock trading.
It was year 1999, and the dot-com bubble was at its peak. Making and losing money was easy.
“I didn’t really know anything – it’s just how bubbles work,” Kunal told me. “I only started with a couple thousand bucks, and the next thing you know you have $10,000, $12,000, $15,000 – and I’m just a teenager.”
The entrepreneur notes that when you’re young and start making some money, it’s easy to attribute everything to your skill and knowledge, and miss the luck factor. This creates an ego, which is fatal in business.
“What happens in a big mania is that you don’t have to be really smart or anything – you’re just there at the right place and right time,” Kunal explained. “But it can get taken away from you. Here I thought I read a couple of Warren Buffet books and I’m, like, some trader.”
Sales Is the School Everyone Needs
After losing his early fortunes a couple of times, Kunal Desai decided it’s time to take up a ‘regular’ job. But, with an empty resume, all he managed to land was a door-to-door salesman job.
“That was humbling. Obviously, spending 4 years at college trying to figure out how to make money from nothing, I had zero skills,” Kunal confessed. “I wasn’t going to class, I was probably the only person in my circle who had zero internships, zero jobs, zero credentials and zero motivation.”
However, soon after starting his job as a salesman, the entrepreneur realised this was the best lesson he could hope for:
“I got a job selling door-to-door phone service. Getting people to switch their phone lines. That was probably the best job I’ve ever had. First of all, that type of job is just humbling. You graduate school, and you think you’re going to be working at Goldman Sachs, […] going to board rooms in a suit and cutting deals. The deals I was cutting were for $20-30 and savings.”
The other reason why Kunal recommends all of his students to get a sales job is for the experience itself:
“Learning how to sell like that – when nobody’s expecting you – it teaches you how to make friends, and you have to make friends fast.”
To hear the rest of Kunal Desai’s story and insights, listen to the podcast at the top of the page!