Preity Zinta is a Bollywood superstar with a string of awards and hit movies to her name. But as co-owner of a major cricket team, and following a course at Harvard Business School, she has started a transition from actress to businesswoman.
An English graduate who went on to study criminal psychology, Zinta, 34, told CNN she fell into acting by chance, but had always been interested in business.
“It’s not that acting was something I’d always wanted to do. I had no formal training; I’d never really imagined I’d be an actress,” she said in a telephone interview from India.
“Business was something that had always been in my mind, but when I got into acting, I learned everything on set, and for me at that point I wanted to excel at what I did.”
Zinta had been acting for 11 years when, in 2008, she decided to buy a stake in Kings XI Punjab, one of the eight cricket teams in the fledgling, multimillion dollar, Indian Premier League (IPL).
“I was at the top of my job, doing extremely well, everything was great and then I said ‘now what?’ There has to be a natural progression,” Zinta told CNN.
Hugely popular in India, the IPL attracts some of the world’s top cricketers and has a sizeable following in cricket-playing countries. No silent partner, Zinta said that when she bought her stake she was determined to be involved in running the team.
“I’m pretty hands on. The partners I was working with all come from business families, and they’re all running billion-dollar businesses, so for them, this was too small a business to run day-to-day,” she said. “So I decided I would go for it, be hands on, learn the business from the start and see how it goes.”
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