I was exposed to business at a very young age. We were accustomed to helping out my father in our watch manufacturing businesses, be it working in the shipping department or on the factory floor. After completing high school in Hong Kong, I moved to the Marshall School of Business at USC [University of Southern California], where I graduated within two years. Upon completing that, I dived right back into my family business, creating brands from Japan to America.
Could you briefly outline your career history?
I was exposed to business at a very young age. Hailing from a family business, we were accustomed to helping out my father in our watch manufacturing businesses, whether it be working in the shipping department or working on the factory floor. However, after completing high school in Hong Kong, I moved to the Marshall School of Business at USC, where I graduated within 2 years. Upon completing that, I dived right back into my family business creating various brands that spanned from Japan to America.
How did you get started in the serviced apartment and hotel industry?
In 2002, I chanced upon this building at No2 Arbuthnot Road, an area where I lived for the first 18 years of my life. One thing led to another. I sold [my family's] watch business after eight months. I always thought watch manufacturing was a sunset industry; you can't increase the capacity of the business, you can't make watches go faster. They are mere accessories. I have no regrets leaving the watch business behind. I can't count my lucky stars enough.
What does your day-to-day work involve?
Overseeing the entire group itself, as well as to strategise for future growth.
What is the most exciting part of your work?
Seeing the end result. After working tirelessly on a project and seeing it finally complete in all its glory; it's a very proud feeling. Additionally, seeing how much we have grown from humble beginnings when we entered this industry back in 2002, it gives me great excitement to look towards the future.
What are the challenges at work?
The availability of good assets to purchase in the market. The current pricing of assets in Hong Kong and in the region is expensive.
How do you unwind and deal with day-to-day pressures?
I enjoy a glass of red wine in the evenings. It relaxes my mind, and signals to all around me that it’s my relaxation time. I also workout in the gym and go hiking or do yoga 6 days a week.
What are the keys to being an effective leader?
Believing in what you do, especially when you are starting out in a new business. If you believe in yourself, people will believe in you. Clear communication in making your team understand things is equally important to achieve your goals and lead others. One must dare to take chances, be flexible in what you do and adapt to changes.
What books do you read?
I haven't read many books lately. However, I keep up with many magazines that target hoteliers and service providers, on top of the Newsweek and Conde Nast publications.
What is your advice for young people?
Find your passion and enjoy things you want to do. There is nothing wrong with failing. If you fall, just get up and walk again. Young people should network, and not just on platforms such as Facebook or LinkedIn. The more people you meet, the more it helps you to understand what you want and gives you a clearer direction in life.
Secondly, I would tell them to have patience. If you believe in something, then do it, but be patient to see the results. Following your dream and passion is another crucial aspect.
Time to unwind
Jhunjhnuwala enjoys a glass of red wine in the evenings, which he says relaxes his mind and signals to all around him that it's his relaxation time
He goes to the gym, hikes or does yoga six days a week. He believes being fit is very important and helps burn the calories from the red wine he drinks.