With India's economy opening up, many more career options are available to students like social media manager, customer experience executive etc.
Mr. Akhil Shahani, Director of the Shahani Group and Thadomal Shahani Centre for Management (TSCFM), Mumbai is the third generation entrepreneur of the Thadomal Shahani Group and has 25 years of extensive experience across an array of business endeavours. He is spearheading the Thadomal Shahani Centre for Management (TSCFM) over last 7 years, which has helped TSCFM emerge as one of the most innovative management institutes in India. Under Akhil’s leadership, TSCFM features in the global network of 500 colleges and 75 leading universities.
While continuing his forefather’s insight, ‘Learn and Let Learn’, Akhil is at the forefront of supporting education through a myriad of initiatives. Currently Akhil also is pursuing his journey in learning, pursuing Doctorate in Education from University of Liverpool. An MBA from the Northwestern University - Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Chicago; he holds an engineering degree in Electronics from the Thadomal Shahani Engineering College.
HTCampus caught up with this dynamic entrepreneur, who shared his views on education in the present day, what students' expectations are from the education system and whether they are 'job-ready' are not.
How is being the third generation entrepreneur of such an esteemed institution feel?
I am very conscious of the 100 years of legacy my family has had serving in the field of education, so there is a great deal of responsibility to live up to that high ethical standard. I am also excited because the world is changing rapidly and India’s education system needs to also change to enable students to succeed in the fast moving global marketplace of the 21st century. I intend to have the Shahani Group of institutions lead at the forefront of this revolution in education so that our students have the tools to become successful leaders of tomorrow.
Amongst the lots of responsibilities on you, which are most challenging and delicate? And why?
Many of our students come from average family backgrounds and their parents are spending their hard earned money with the hope that we will help build their children’s careers. This is a great responsibility for us and we need to ensure that every member of our Shahani Group of institutions contributes to ensuring our students achieve their career aspirations.
In the last 7 years, what changes have you seen in the education industry?
As India’s economy has opened up, there are many more career options available to students like social media manager, customer experience executive etc. that didn’t exist a few years ago. Students are now more conscious of what they want to do and are looking for institutions that will help them achieve it. They are no longer willing to sit mute and be taught outdated information. Education institutions have had to start keeping up with student expectations. Those that are not able to do so, like many MBA and engineering colleges are closing down. Institutions that are able to keep up with industry needs are the ones that are succeeding today.
Has the way you provide education or how students consume education changed? If yes, in what way and what could be the reasons behind it?
We started the Thadomal Shahani Centre For Management (TSCFM) with the goal of creating employable management graduates for industry from the ground up. With this in mind, we understood what recruiters look for in job candidates and built our education system around getting our students job ready. This means that we needed to build their attitudes (like professional behavior and being self starters) and skills (like problem solving abilities and communication skills) along with imparting the latest industry domain knowledge. We also have one of the strongest industry connections among business schools in India, where corporate leaders interact with our students every week. These initiatives have enabled our students, who came to us with average academic performance, to build themselves into the sort of leadership oriented, employable graduates that recruiters prefer and to get jobs in the top companies of their dreams.
Akhil Sahani, Director - Shahani Group and Thadomal Shahani Centre for Management (TSCFM)
How do you project the growth of education industry to be, say, in the next 10 years or so?
Core academics and soft skills training – do you think it is necessary to be adept in both to be successful? How does it help?
As an educationist, do you think that B-schools are cognizant of the industry demands in terms of curriculum and skill-set requirement?
Many B-schools have shut down in the last 2 - 3 years due to lack of students. Do you think the charm of B-school is depleting? Or what could be the reason behind it?
You have a global network of 500 colleges and 75 leading universities. How do students benefit from that?
What are the USP’s of studying in TSCFM?
What other education initiatives have you undertaken as part of the Shahani Trust &Shahani Academic & Global Empowerment (SAGE) Foundation?
What have been the key achievements of each of the above?
What are the reigning trends in the education industry?
How important is research in management?
Since Management is such a dynamic sector, on what basis are academic programmes assessed and developed?
What should be the Top 5 things that one should keep in mind before getting into an entrepreneurial venture?
- Do I have enough money to self-fund this business until I have a working prototype of my product or some paying customers for my service? Only once this is achieved can this be interesting to an angel investor.
- Is my potential market large enough to grow my business to a multimillion dollar size, such that I can attract venture capital at a later stage?
- Do I have other people in my team who have strengths that complement my weaknesses (e.g. tech skills, sales skills, product development skills)
- If my business does not succeed, considering 80% new companies do not survive the first five years, will I have enough money to fall back on to sustain me until I find a new job?
- How much am I willing to spend & how long am I willing to work until my business becomes profitable?
Please share you vision of MBA in India for the next 5 years. How will it change the dynamics of the market and therefore employment?
Entrepreneurship is trending these days. Which fields in management do you think will reign in the next 5 – 10 years?
Advice to our students for their education & career? How should they go about it?