When Hussain Sajwani was a schoolboy in the UAE, he worked for his father in the family variety. Office supplies, stationery, household goods and similar items were sold in the store. The thing that young Hussain objected to was the long hours necessary. He stated that he would never want to be a businessman because of those hours and instead he would rather be a professional where he could work normal hours.
He attended the University of Washington in the United States where he majored in Economics and Engineering and returned to his home country of Dubai where he went to work for an oil and gas company. Soon, however he was dabbling in other ventures and that is when he founded a catering company that sold meals to the US Army during the Gulf War.
Right after the war, the UAW made it legal for foreign nationals to be able to purchase property in the Emirates for the first time. This was the golden opportunity that Hussain was looking for so he began to purchase land in strategic locations. His instincts proved to be 100% correct and he was off on an adventure that most people can only dream of.
In his bloomberg profile, Sajwani was a master promoter and salesman, as he had billboards positioned in strategic locations in many parts of the Emirates. One of his favorite slogans was, “A New Bently With Each Apartment.” All of his properties were very high-end as he knew that there would be people with lots of money coming to look for properties. He built the very finest and most attractive accommodations available.
Sajwani’s financial tactics were solid as well, as he paid cash for the land so no one could take the property from him. If he financed the building it might only be 20 percent or so. He uses a separate accounting system for each property and there is no co-mingling of any money between properties. That way, each project will stand on its own merit, thus protecting the rest of the properties.
So the statement Sajwani made as a boy was not entirely true. He did become a businessman, and a very successful one, but he was a professional too. See this interview with Sajwani.