- Tell us something about yourself?
This one’s a long story. I did my undergraduate and research degree from University of Melbourne, Australia. My majors were Accounting, Finance and Econometrics. During my 1st year holidays, I interned at HSBC (New Delhi) as an analyst. In my 2nd and 3rd Year, I’d short placements with Ernst & Young (Singapore) and ANZ Bank (Melbourne). Soon after I finished my B.Com, I was appointed as a Senior Tutor/Lecturer A at University of Melbourne within the Accounting and Business Information Systems departments under the Faculty of Economics and Commerce for 2 years while I pursued my Accounting Research Degree. Post that, I’d a choice of going to the United States for further studies or become an analyst with KPMG in Melbourne. I chose neither one and came back to India and Founded U’th Time. A lot of people told me at the time that “It’s too risky” and “Why leave a cushy lifestyle and great place like Melbourne”. But I didn’t want my 20s to be cushy and/or risk free. I wanted to have experiences, failure or success didn’t matter to me…to be honest!
So in short, I’ve been quite confused about what I really want to do all through my studies and professional career. Jokes Apart – I feel all those experiences have enriched me deeply and University of Melbourne as an education institution has played a major role in shaping up my personal and professional life…and continues to do so every day.
- Tell us something about your business.
U’th Time is one of India’s Biggest Youth Media Brands. In a short span of time, we have been featured among 10 Recommended Media Youth Brands by Pitch Magazine alongside major brands such as MTV Channel, UTV, Channel V, Radio Mirchi etc. We have recently associated with highly reputed Film production houses such as Anurag Kashyap Film Production Limited (AKFPL), Eros Int’l, Luminosity Pictures and Storyteller Ink etc. with respect to creating awareness for films targeted at India’s Youth. Other major brand associates include Nike, Levis, BBC, Warner Bros., Fastrack and Pune Fashion Week etc.
In terms of our numbers, We are India’s Biggest Youth Media platform on Facebook with over 297,000 members, Weekly online reach of upto 10,000,000, Readership and an Online Reach of over 50,000,000.
- What is your philosophy towards work?
It’s actually quite straight forward – To bridge the gap that exists in our society via providing useful information, especially to India’s Youth. All our efforts are directed towards creating a platform that would serve to help young Indians make informed decisions. Raw, Unbiased, Blunt and Kickass information – Everyday!!! That’s our motto! We are interested in providing content which conventional news channel don’t even dare touch let alone give it coverage. We try to do that and its sole reason we exist.
- Whom do you admire as your role model? And why?
This one’s quite tricky. I admire a lot of people. But I’ve never admired a single individual as a whole. Nikola Tesla is one person who I would say is my role model. He spent his whole life inventing devices that would serve humanity and make this world a better place to live in. But he died penniless in a small room. So I am guessing I can’t follow him completely!!!
- “Management is core to every individual, organization & society.” Give your views on it.
If we think of management as nothing more than motivating other people then the aforementioned statement is quite important. But I do feel chaos is as important as management. Chaos can shake things up and end up providing solutions to a lot of things. So I would say Management with Chaos is core to every individual, organization & society. I hope this makes some sense!!
- Name 3 qualities of prime importance that a businessman should possess.
3H’s – Honesty, Hardwork and Humour. Yes, Humour is extremely important since being a businessman is quite disappointing a lot of times. So you need laugh things off a lot of times and move on.
- According to you, what are the challenges for Entrepreneurship today?
Oh…I can name a Gazillion! In India, I would say its access to infrastructure and think tank that support innovative ideas. Plus, Entrepreneurship is misunderstood! It’s thought of as something people get involved in if they don’t get a conventional job or career. That’s an absolute misnomer. For e.g. I left a well defined career to start my media company but a lot of people think otherwise. At the end of the day, Entrepreneurship thrives on extreme amounts of self belief and challenging societal norms, both of which are considered to be kind of a taboo in our society. Entrepreneurship is responsible for a lot of people having a job and conventional careers – our society forgets that. Entrepreneurs are assets for our society and are needed desperately in a country with such a large young population and must be supported by the government, equity firms and most of all their families and friends.
- Can Entrepreneurship be taught in B-Schools/Management Institutes/Colleges?
Hmmm….Not sure really. I think what B-schools can help in is providing the confidence and/or re-inforce the beliefs of Entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs should be ready to sacrifice everything just to see their idea come into existence. Whereas, a lot of the B-Schools teach management students to focus just on Profits, Assets etc. In my opinion, Profits and Assets are important but they are By-products of a successful Entrepreneurial venture. The hunger and madness to see one’s idea reach it’s desired state is what an entrepreneurs teaches himself….and a B-school can neither fully perpetuate that or completely destroy it. It’s better to invent a job than find one!
- Is the Name of the Institute from where a student pursues his/her Graduation/Post Graduation or other courses important while setting up your business?
Yes, but only to a certain extent! I am sure it didn’t matter to Peter Thiel that Mark Zuckerberg was a Harvard student and was on probation for 6 months when he invested $500,000 USD in Facebook. He invested because he believed in Facebook and Mark’s vision and his team. If one has a killer of idea, it doesn’t matter whether he is an ex-IIM or 10th Pass. Education is important but is not the sole benchmark of judging how good a person can run their business. Most startup Billionaire are dropouts, which is quite worrying for me as I did extremely well while I was at University (Laughs).
- Do you think today’s economy is conducive for a new venture to start upon?
Well, I think of it as the other way around actually! If the economy is not conducive – why not make it conducive by creating jobs through a Kick-ass start up. Entrepreneurship is like what Nike’s been teaching us for years – Just do it! A lot of my ‘Entrepreneur’ friends spend massive amount of time of getting a team together, stressing about a launch date etc. Or are only doing because being Entrepreneur sounds cool and they can pay for their PR and come on magazine covers. Being an Entrepreneur is the most non-glamorous thing to do and only do it if you really (really!) have an idea that’s eating you from inside and not letting you sleep at night. Life is unplanned and uncertain and so is being an Entrepreneur. Things work out if you truly believe in what you’re doing and if it’s for the greater good of our society. Take every day as it comes and hope that tomorrow is better than today. ‘Hope’ being the operative word here.
- “Earning more & more is the motive behind any business.” Is it justifiable?
It depends on how we define ‘Earnings’. If we are talking exclusively about financial profits and revenue etc. then ‘Hell No’. Nobody will fund and/or pay towards a venture if you’ve not proven your business’s worth. Worth is proven by working day and night on your venture and letting go of all the good things you might have become used to (Fixed Salary, Routine, Spending Time with your Family etc.). Creating ‘Value’ more & more should be ‘motive’ behind every business and NOT just ‘Earnings’. As an Entrepreneur, the sole reason I’ve seen success is because I never discuss money when I meet my prospective clients. I discuss ‘Value’. How I can help my client’s business and add value towards it of prime importance to me. If I help them in creating value, I am always assured for sustainable long term growth and earning potential.
- Share with us the most enjoyable moment you had experienced on work.
There are many. We get feedbacks from youngsters all over India on how much they like our work and are ready to contribute towards our platform as volunteers. We get messages from other ‘Entrepreneurs’ asking us to help them in whatever way we can and how our support means a lot to them. We help every individual in need of a voice and wants to reach out to India’s Youth. We’ve received a lot of validations from major brands who consider us as their most pro active and valuable partner with respect to creating awareness about their products and services. We continue to receive job applications from some amazing candidates who are from some of the best colleges in the country and possess amazing work experiences. All this is extremely humbling for a company started out of a small room!
- Your feedback for BMS.co.in?
I truly believe that BMS.co.in is one of the most innovative platforms that’s out there with respect to sharing and supporting the voice of management students. BMS Education is provided by over 100 colleges and that’s an incredible reach for an Education degree and I salute and respect that. I am grateful for BMS.co.in for providing me with a platform to share my views on Entrepreneurship, Management Education and Life etc. More power to you guys!!!
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