Monday, September 13, 2010

Entrepreneurship at SJMSoM, IIT Bombay

In my engineering days I had always a liking for Management related activities. I used to follow Business news and always hoped that I will get through one of the famous B Schools. Apart from the quality education which they provide, they are also famous for the high salary packages offered to the students. But the fact that a bunch of students always decided to skip the placement process even though the salaries offered by the companies are enormous by any standards always riddled me.
Few years down the line I understood why these people were skipping the campus offers. The answer was simple; they were not interested in doing jobs. They were rather interested in creating jobs. They went so busy in their Entrepreneurial ventures which eventually didn’t allow them to think anything other than their venture.

If you ask my opinion about Business education, I will definitely say that people should not do MBA because of peer pressure or just to get and MBA degree. They should do MBA to get a firsthand knowledge of how Businesses are done. Their objective should be to pick up all the valuable points from the course which they think could help them in future.On the other hand, the Goal of a B school should be to create the maximum number of Entrepreneurs.

I always had the desire of starting my own Business. I joined Shailesh J Mehta School of Management on 15 July 2010. From the first day of joining, we had a series of induction sessions from our seniors. As part of this induction programme, The General Secretary and his team have requested Mr. Sushanto Mitra who is the member of SINE Governing Board at IIT-Bombay and Mr. Apoorv Sharma, the Assistant Vice President of the Indian Angel Investors Network to come and address the students on 21st July.

The E Cell session was started with the 3rd year students giving the basic information about the structure and functioning of the cell. After this Mr Sushanto addressed the students. His first question to the class was: “How many of you want to be Entrepreneurs?” Only 15 percent of the class raised their hands. He was not impressed by the response and asked the reason for this low level of enthusiasm.

Some said it is risky, some said it gives delayed start; some simply don’t have the idea to start with. I was also not sure in which group I fall. But one thing which is sure is that Entrepreneurs are different from rest of us who are quite comfortable with our jobs and will be happy to be in the same path for the rest of our lives. Mr. Sushanto further told us that since we are young, it is the best time to try our hand at Entrepreneurship. It will also help us to gain knowledge in all dimensions unlike jobs which are primarily uni- dimensional in nature. Moreover it will enable us to create jobs and do something for the society.

Apart from this he also gave examples of successful start-ups from the college students or the alumnus. He also mentioned the fact that IIT-B E cell has helped some 32 start-ups till now which are up and functioning with a positive cash flow. As IIT-B’s cell is located in Mumbai, the centre for Entrepreneurial activities its failure rate is also very low. Only some 5 percent companies which came out of E cell failed to take off. He encouraged students to come up with some Business plan and assured that College will help them to implement the same in the best possible manner. I could not think of a better place than IIT-Bombay for my Entrepreneurial aspirations and was overwhelmed by the very thought of so many people ready to listen and implement my ideas.

This was not all, there was much more to offer. If the Business plan or the idea we submit looks feasible to them they will help us find the investors for the incubation of the idea. Nowhere else apart from IIT Bombay you will find the correct mix of a start-up: the Entrepreneurs, the Mentor and the Angel Investor. And that angel investor was Mr. Apoorv Sharma, The VP of Indian Angel Network.

He explained to the students in depth about all their queries. He told that they support start ups only when they feel that the idea has some potential and it will give good returns on the amount they will invest. He also told that they mostly take equity shares in the promising start ups and don’t ask for collaterals. And their business is to trigger the companies in their initial days and they exit the companies in 3-4 years by selling their shares or some other way. He also shared his experience with the CEO and founders of various successful organisations like Google.

It was really an amazing experience to get advices from the experts who have been and still there at various echelons of Business world. I felt privileged to be in this prestigious institution called SJMSoM and hope to see much more sessions like this one in future.

written by,
Nishant Singh,


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