An Entrepreneur At JBIMS – Akash Vadera – Co-Founder Of Back2Basics
“Entrepreneurship is not a job, it’s a lifestyle. It defines you. Forget about vacations, about going home at 6 pm – the last thing at night you’ll send emails, first thing in the morning you’ll read emails, and you’ll wake up in the middle of the night. But it’s hugely rewarding as you’re fulfilling something for yourself” said Niklas Zennstrom, the Founder of Skype when asked about entrepreneurship.
Aspired by millions, entrepreneurship is indeed a tough nut to crack! It becomes even more difficult when you have the responsibility of managing the business while juggling the studies. In an attempt to get insights from the life of a student entrepreneur, I interviewed Akash Vadera.
Akash is a student of MMS batch of 2018 at JBIMS and the Co-Founder of Back2Basics, a platform for MBA aspirants looking for tricks to solve aptitude questions and concepts. An Electronics & Telecommunications Engineer from K.J. Somaiya College of Engineering, Akash was a summer intern at AkzoNobel India Pvt Ltd. He is a social media influencer with 14K Twitter followers and 1 million tweet impressions every month. He is amongst the ‘Top 10 Most Viewed Writers’ in India for the topic ‘MBA Degrees’ on Quora.com with over half a million answer views. He has worked as a Digital Marketing Consultant and Content Writer for start-ups. He is also an influencer for many major brands.
When asked about his life’s philosophy, Akash said, “If you believe in something from your heart, all you need to do is just take the first step towards achieving it; it’s the most difficult one. Also, your humbleness should increase in proportion to the success you get; the more successful you are, the more humble you should be!”
1. Please give a brief overview about Back2Basics. What motivated you to get into this industry?
Back2Basics is an initiative by 4 people and I am one of the 4 founders. It is a YouTube channel for aptitude tricks and concepts. 3 of us were studying for MAH-MBA CET in 2016. While studying we observed that the teaching methods used in classes are quite monotonous and uninteresting. In fact, when one of us was stuck at some concept, the other two used to explain in a way that was fun and was easy to remember. This is when we realised that the way we explain concepts to each other could really help other students who are struggling with aptitude. It was in January 2017 that we came up with a YouTube channel for Back2Basics.
2. There are quite a few similar ventures. What makes Back2Basics unique?
Our tagline is Learn For Fun. In our videos, we explain tricks and concepts required to crack competitive exams, but in a way that you would never forget. It wasn’t like we first decided we want to do something unique and then came up with Back2Basics. We first came up with Back2Basics with our own way of teaching and later realised that no other venture explains concepts like we do. So this is what makes Back2Basics unique – relating concepts with real life examples and explaining them in an interesting and humorous way. Also, if you visit the Facebook page of Back2Basics, we use memes and humour to propagate concepts or difficulties that students face while studying for competitive exams. We make it relatable to them and if you’re learning something you can relate to, you would hardly forget that. Our website is in progress and once it is live, it will have details about all the competitive exams, colleges, question papers and everything there is to know about MBA.
3. How has MBA at JBIMS helped you? Which field are you specialising in and why?
If it wasn’t for MBA at JBIMS, I wouldn’t have gone forward with Back2Basics. To enter into any venture, you need to be sure about all the functions and obstacles related to it. MBA at JBIMS gave me an insight of how things actually work in the world. I knew things but I didn’t know why they were so. When you’re studying for MBA and especially at JBIMS, you tend to go after things you don’t understand, but want to. Same thing happened with me. I knew what I wanted to do, that is, explaining aptitude concepts in a unique way, but I didn’t know how to go about it. The ‘MBA life’ has given me the confidence I needed, so I decided it was high time I go ahead with my venture.
I am specialising in Marketing because it is something that I am good at. And what good are you if you don’t do what you’re good at.
4. How do you manage to study and work at the same time?
When we shot our first video for Back2Basics, we wanted the quality to be better than the best video there is, of similar genre. That’s our motto from the start – never compromise on quality. But I didn’t know that for the quality of video we needed, it required a great amount of editing, which is very time-consuming. Not many people know this, but editing a video is more difficult than writing or shooting it. We have sat with our editor till 4 a.m. when the video was due to upload the next day. I used to attend lectures in the college till evening and then we used to shoot and edit the videos. We used to lose count on time in the process, but it was worth it. And regarding studying for exams, I am thankful to engineering for providing me with the habit of studying a day before exams.
5. What are some of the challenges you face as a studying entrepreneur? How do you overcome them?
Managing time is the biggest challenge that I face. Sometimes, there’s too much on my plate and I’m not able to give complete attention to anything. This is when I use my ‘one thing at a time’ mantra. If you over-stress about too many problems at a time, you won’t be able to solve any. If I face such a situation, I just rank the problems according to their urgency and tackle them one by one. The second challenge is giving a convincing answer to relatives’ ‘Why are you doing this when you’re already doing an MBA?’
6. Any tips for budding entrepreneurs or aspiring MBAs?
Just 4 things – Firstly, just know what you’re doing; and be sure about it. One thing that I have learnt from my graduation, my work-experience, my summer internship and after starting Back2Basics is that you should know what you’re doing. The only way to go about this is to love what you do. Find ANY area of interest or a field in which you would love to see you working in the future. If you’re unable to find the best area of interest for yourself, think about it like this – If all the jobs in the world had equal pay, what would you do? Secondly, NEVER assume that you know everything. Each day something new happens. See how you can use it to your advantage. Thirdly, don’t be rigid with your thoughts and way of functioning. Trends change and it’s always in your best interest to move with the flow. Fourth thing – never reveal everything you know.
7. Last question, is MBA really necessary to be an entrepreneur?
In today’s dynamically changing world? Yes! MBA gives you discipline and all the other traits you need to develop in yourself to successfully run a business. If you already have those, then it’s your call. Apart from teaching you what you should do, MBA also teaches you what you should NOT do. This is something that you can’t learn by yourself.