IIM Lucknow Alumni’s Venture That Prepares Young Minds for Tomorrow
Niraj belongs to a family of entrepreneurs. His father runs a transport business while his brother is the owner of a financial training institute. Ritesh was always encouraged by his former boss who spoke about skill development and stressed on ways to overcome the skill gap in India. During the college days, Rohit spent the lazy hours in the mess discussing about different ideas of entrepreneurial venture with his friends. Passionate about technology, Bhupendra always wanted to run his own technology company. Immediately after MBA, he started with his own tech venture in the name of SYMB technologies. These dreams and inspirations merged into what is known as IntelliScore today. IntelliScore is a development program of EduCion Private Limited. Catering specifically to education space, it evaluates the as in status of students’ skills to implement his/her learning. Analytics generate progress trends and then customized feedback is given by the team. This continuous improvement and development activity is aligned with various potential career options. We’ve recently had an inspiring conversation with the team. Here’s an interesting excerpt of the interview. Q1 How did entrepreneurship happen? Niraj used to work in Mumbai as a consultant. He had some spine injury and he went home to get operated. While on bed post-surgery, a lot of people visited him. An entrepreneur at heart, he used to ask them about their work, problems, and opinions on expected changes. He learnt that education has become an industry in India and one of the least technologically integrated one. After a quick research, he asked Rohit and Ritesh about their opinion on the current scenario. We could see immense opportunity in the education sector. With the very first discussion they all knew that they are in the right direction. Primary and secondary research with a lot of brainstorming followed the idea. We now have a fully-fledged team with Bhupi and Mohit as our tech experts and thus IntelliScore followed. Q2 How was the team selected? How is it working with the team? The team selection was largely based on our core skill sets and comfort levels with each other. Niraj has an excellent business sense and eye to detail while Rohit is well connected with education space. Bhupendra & Mohit are our core IT guys who are handling our complete web development and Ritesh is leveraging his analytical and financial skills for developing the module. More than anything else, we are a team not a group. Q4. When you decide to start up there are scores of other options. Why this sector? Yes, there are scores of options. Our focus was on selection of the most executable idea over the jazziest one. For long term sustainability, proper execution and high value in the product is very essential. Moreover, education is an area we all are associated with. We all have faced these problems, and the issues still persist. Take an e.g. Niraj always wanted to be an engineer, but no one in his family was associated with an engineering background. Thus, his family guided him to opt for commerce. These kinds of issues are rampant in the Indian education system. Thus, this idea as well as the sector is more connected to all of us. Alternatively, we were focusing on logistics as a key market for us. Q5. Write about the story behind the name “IntelliScore” We looked at various names but couldn’t exactly choose one since they were not in sync with our module. It actually took us a month or so to drill down to this name. Unlike an IQ score where focus is on the intelligence, our primary focus is on analytical and logical skills development of a student. Through our various modules, we are attempting to show a true picture of a student’s performance, areas requiring improvement, overcoming the weak areas and also assisting them in mapping these to their career. Q6. What is your view on the present system of education? Education as a sector is very different… multilayered, but at the same time hungry for some break through. Since Educomp, nothing phenomenal has happened to change the education landscape in India. Moreover, education, being a necessity, will be needed by an unprecedented population base in India, who are in the primary wing currently. Thus, demand is going to be very high. Thus we see a lot happening in the education industry. In recent years, government is also trying some innovative methodologies in our education structure, CCE for example. But things aren’t working out properly. GANIT, Shaala Darpan etc. are some innovative approaches by HRD ministry. Introduction of aptitude as a subject in school curriculum clearly highlights the significance it is going to have in near term. Almost all competitive exams have aptitude test to evaluate students. Q7. How do you think the system will look in 5 years’ time? Education boards in India are working towards enhancing the overall system with introduction of concepts like I-CBSE, CCE etc. But it will take another 15 years at least to be at par with the International education systems. Educators are not prepared for the change due to technological barriers. Recent comments by Mrs. Smriti Irani on CCE highlight the gap between introduction of a concept and its application in the academic system. We plan to play a major role in this changing dynamics of the education industry by covering everything around the student’s academic life cycle process. Q8. It is a tough choice after graduation. Tell us about the initial struggle Initial struggle was there but we were somewhat prepared for it since college days. Leaving a job when there is an education loan is never easy. But we were pretty resolute about our decision. After resignation, the toughest part was getting all the things together at one place. As it is said, a team can make or break anything. Luckily we have a great team since the outset of our journey. . We need to be prompt to the needs of students and at the same time we cannot afford to compromise on the quality of the module. We are looking to expand really fast once we are done with the final legs of our testing process. Q9. How has an MBA from IIM L helped? IIM Lucknow helped us in looking at a broader picture rather than focusing on things independently. MBA helped us in looking at things from different perspectives and making those decisions which we could not even think of earlier. Even the faculties at campus are fabulous and have been very helpful in developing this module for students. Professor Rajeev Kumra best faculty at IIM Lucknow for 3 consecutive years, has recently joined us as an advisor. He has over a decade of experience in sales and marketing across MNCs. His presence and guidance has further strengthened our team and it wouldn’t have been possible unless we had been to IIM Lucknow. Q10. And lastly, what would be your suggestions to budding entrepreneurs? Calmness and patience is a key to being an entrepreneur. Things do not turnaround within the time lines as expected and you need to have patience to keep you going in the long term. Difference of opinion arises within the team which we believe is good for the company as it helps in further brainstorming. But all should work with the single motive of bringing some change to the existing system. Money cannot be a driving force for a very long time.