Why Professionals Quit the Corporate Summit to Pursue Entrepreneurship

September 23, 2023


In the dynamic and competitive landscape of the corporate world, professionals often dedicate the prime years of their lives to climbing the organizational hierarchy. They endure intense pressure, long hours, and countless sacrifices to reach the pinnacle of their careers. However, it's not uncommon for successful individuals to quit their high-ranking positions and venture into entrepreneurship. This phenomenon can be aptly compared to the concept of oxygen depletion at high altitudes, where the air becomes thin, and one must descend to breathe freely again. In this article, we will explore why professionals at the top hierarchy choose to leave their well-established careers to start something of their own, with reference to real examples from the Indian market.

The Quest for Autonomy

Reaching the top of the corporate hierarchy often means a significant increase in responsibility and accountability. Senior executives are tasked with making crucial decisions that impact the entire organization. This level of responsibility can be both rewarding and suffocating. It's akin to breathing in thin air at high altitudes; one gains altitude but loses the freedom to breathe comfortably.

Real-Life Example: Ritesh Agarwal, the founder and CEO of OYO Rooms, began his entrepreneurial journey when he was just 19 years old, after dropping out of college. He left a promising career as a young professional to create his own hospitality empire, driven by the desire for autonomy and the freedom to innovate.

Pursuing Passion and Purpose

As professionals climb the corporate ladder, they may find that their roles become increasingly specialized and removed from their true passions and interests. The pursuit of personal purpose and the desire to make a meaningful impact on society can become stronger motivators than a high salary or a prestigious title.

Real-Life Example: Kalyan Krishnamurthy, the CEO of Flipkart, took a sabbatical from his corporate career to explore his entrepreneurial ambitions. He later returned to Flipkart with a renewed sense of purpose, driven by a deeper understanding of his own passions and goals. His journey demonstrates the importance of aligning one's career with personal values.

Navigating Innovation and Disruption

The corporate world is often characterized by rigid structures and processes that can stifle innovation. Professionals at the top may find it challenging to introduce disruptive changes within established organizations. This frustration can lead them to seek new opportunities where they can unleash their creativity and drive innovation.

Real-Life Example: N. R. Narayana Murthy, the co-founder of Infosys, stepped down from his role as Chairman to pursue various entrepreneurial ventures, including investing in startups. His decision to leave the corporate hierarchy allowed him to explore new avenues for innovation and support emerging entrepreneurs.

Balancing Work-Life Priorities

With increasing responsibilities in top-tier positions, professionals often find it difficult to strike a balance between their work and personal lives. The demands of a high-powered career can take a toll on relationships and overall well-being, prompting individuals to seek a more balanced lifestyle.

Real-Life Example: K.V. Kamath, a renowned banker and former Chairman of ICICI Bank and Infosys, chose to transition from his corporate career to focus on philanthropy, education, and mentoring. His shift reflects the desire to prioritize personal and family well-being over a demanding corporate role.

The phenomenon of professionals quitting top-tier corporate positions to embark on entrepreneurial journeys can be likened to the need for oxygen at high altitudes. While the corporate summit offers prestige and financial rewards, it can also become suffocating and restrictive. The pursuit of autonomy, personal passion, innovation, and a balanced life often drives individuals to make the daring leap into entrepreneurship.

Real-life examples from the Indian market, such as Ritesh Agarwal, Kalyan Krishnamurthy, N. R. Narayana Murthy, and K.V. Kamath, illustrate the diverse motivations behind this career transition. These individuals sought not only financial success but also personal fulfilment, impact, and the freedom to breathe freely in their professional lives. Just as climbers must descend from high altitudes to replenish their oxygen levels, professionals sometimes need to step away from corporate summits to find the fresh air of entrepreneurial freedom and purpose.

Get in touch with us

We are just a phone call away from you.

Feel free to call us anytime or write to us on our email id. We are always available to solve your queries.