Nita Ambani was born in 1963 into a Gujarati family in Mumbai. Her earliest ambition was a simple one – to become a classical dancer. This makes her – forgive the pun – a classic case of the accidental business woman. The closest she came to business in those early days was her Bachelor’s degree in Commerce. Soon after that, 22 years old and still carrying the dream of a dancer, she wed Mukesh Ambani. This, however, was not her direct ticket into the business world as many believe. “…for nearly 17 years, I was Mukesh's wife but chose to stay away,” She remarked in an interview with TOI.
A few years into the marriage, Mukesh Ambani was involved in setting up the Patalganga pipelines to transport petroleum products. Nita suggested they open a school in the rural areas. This led to the establishment of another school in Jamnagar and somewhere along the way, she realised that “teaching was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
It was this realisation that finally led her to envision quality education in India. Giving up her studies in law (for mostly personal reasons), she set up Dhirubhai Ambani International School in 2003. People were looking for quality education in foreign countries and Nita wanted to provide them with just that, right here in India. “No country can grow without it. We need good teaching colleges and teachers.”
In 2010, Ambani was considering extending RIL’s influence into the social sectors. This vision led to the establishment of Reliance Foundations, which he founded in partnership with Nita. Ever since then, she has led the Foundation’s philanthropic endeavours into rural and urban transformation, education, health, culture and art. She is now the chairperson of the Foundation, an empire that she built for herself from the giant, Reliance Industries.
Nita went on to become one of the board members of RIL in 2014. But not before she had already walked the terrain as a director with the Oberoi Hotels and resorts in 2011. Her most famous business undertaking is, of course, the co-ownership of the IPL cricket team Mumbai Indians. Nita’s dedication and love for her cricket team hasn’t gone unnoticed, but this wasn’t the case when Mukesh Ambani first bought ownership in 2008. She had no interest in and knowledge of cricket at the time.
How Nita Ambani built a bigger brand of Mumbai Indians than Reliance
Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani has said that his wife Nita Ambani, has built a bigger brand in Mumbai Indians than the company.
"I have to congratulate Nita. A lot of us at Reliance say that we are very proud of what Reliance has done over the years, but I think with both her school (Dhirubhai Ambani International School) and cricket (Mumbai Indians) Nita has built a bigger brand for Reliance,” said Mukesh while addressing a gathering of past and present cricketers and Mumbai Indians players on the occasion of franchise's 10 years' celebration in Mumbai, a media release from the franchise said.
Describing her journey of last 10 years with Mumbai Indians as "truly magical and memorable", Nita said for her the last decade is filled with "emotions which had huge impact on our life" and that she "will not trade these 10 years for anything else".
“Mumbai Indians came silently and unexpectedly in our life and now it has become an integral part of all our feelings and our being. It has been one of the most beautiful journeys that presented us, 10 years of wonderful memories. 10 years of new friendship and bonding, and 10 years of prayers, but we will not trade these 10 years for anything else,” she said.
With Inputs from YS