"In the fields of science and engineering I can see India as a strong ground for global solutions. "
These days getting into an engineering college, a medical college or a B-school is not everybody's cup of tea. It needs months of laborious learning, and intense hard work to achieve the goal, one sets out for. More often than not, the aspirants require professional coaching and guidance to achieve success. .Career Launcher isa highly competent and professional guidance and learning centre, that during its nearly decade long existence has been churning out successful profesionals in diverse fields.NNE recently conducted an interview with Mr Satynarayan, the dynamic CEO of Career LauncherQ: Your early life educational background etc? What made you contemplate setting up an institution like Career Launcher?
CEO, Career Launcher
I spent my early years in Hyderabad, studied there till class VIIIth, then my father got posted to Meerut.So I completed the rest of my schooling in Meerut, Went onto Delhi University (St Stephen's college) for my graduation. Thereafter I joined IIM Bangalore to do my MBA. During this time I played a lot of cricket. It affected my education negatively but impacted my life skills positively. Infact I dropped a year at high school (class XII) so that I could focus more on cricket. Moving into college would have disqualified me from playing for under 17 team. So I spent an extra year in school.In the next part of the question I hear two questions: One is about entrepreneurship and second as to why this particular domain within entrepreneurship. After MBA I held a job in Ranbaxy. But my entrepreneurship ship was born out of this huge depression, which I used to get into while working there. Ranbaxy is one of the best companies and I have great respect for the organisation. I used to visualize my future twenty years hence; I used to feel the imagery not very exciting. Because I could role model by looking at the vice president of Ranbaxy. He was only 46- 47. I did not find very exciting, I did not see too much of action there. I just had to survive to get there. So I thought I should do something where things could get done fast, quicker than in 25 years. And that left me with no other choice but entrepreneurship. I could, as an entrepreneur, determine what happen and the pace at which it happens.Q. Why education?
I took up education, because looking at my skills entrepreneurship would mean that I was independent and able to run thing by my own steam. Considering my skills, I could either take up either sports or teaching, because I loved teaching and thought that I would be good at it. So that's how I got into education. I got specifically involved with a personality development programme, which was training students, who were aspiring to get into B-schools. That was the first programme with which I started Career Launcher.Q.What did you do about the finances?
Well, this was a finance-friendly enterprise in the sense that it did not require any investment. All it needed was that you stand there and deliver the lectures. It suited me immensely because I needed a domain, which did not call for any investment because I could not afford any money. The only investment I made was to buy a PC.Q. What were the initial years like?
The initial phase was very exciting and very involving. It was a 24 hours job. I got absolutely immersed into it, and it only after the venture was known to became a success that I had the time to look back and say: oh yeah it has not been too bad after all. There was no money at all. However as the primary motivation was not money, I do not recall a single moment when I looked back and said: Oh my God, what am I doing? Did I make a wrong choice? There were no such thoughts in my mind. So on the whole it was a fulfilling experience, though it demanded complete immersion.Q. It is generally seen that many entrepreneurs like to run their companies single handedly. Do you handle everything by yourself or do you have any partner/s?
This is a very good question. You see Franchise came to me almost instantaneously. Like I was telling you how depressing it was to become a vice president at the age of 45; it was equally depressing to build an organisation where I was the best guy, and if I were the to die, the organisation would die with me. In fact I strongly believe in the philosophy organisation should be than an individual. In order to achieve this, it was a very very focussed effort that I made, to attract people who rated highly, in my personal capacities, as friends and acquaintances etc. People came of their own volition.
Today, Career Launcher is run by functional heads, who are complete entrepreneurs in themselves; they have the competence and the wherewithal to take decisions and that is what is promising about Career Launcher in the domain that it is in. There are large organizations in other areas, but in the field of education, there is no other company that can claim to have such multifunctional approach to building education business.Q. What are the obstacles, which you are likely to have encountered?
The most despairing and depressing moments, (now as well as in the past) have been when we receive phone calls and feedbacks from the students saying that a particular class was bad. I am not saying we have been able to solve all problems; I think we are going to live with these problems until we die. This has been the most depressing part of my stay here. Because that is not the honest intention we started out with. However the most challenging moment has been to get a faculty, which walks into a class and creates magic all the time. There are differences between faculties. After a faculty goes out, the new one that comes in might leave the student/s a trifle disappointed. So if I were to recall ten depressing moments, nine of them would be this. This happens to be a crucial success factor. Q Describe the network of Career Launcher, its hierarchy, its day to day functioning
We are visibly flat as an organisation for the period that we'll be a company. But we have a network that looks after all the centers, which operate on a day-to-day basis, where the students come to get education and go back. This is the primarily the front ending function. The supporting functions include marketing, content, technology, corporate communications and finance. Each function has its own core members, who work for the mandate given to that function. But that mandate is typically drawn out of what is needed for the N customer. None of them is pure support function. Each function thinks like a service function to this business. And they would attribute cost to the services that they render to the core function, which is business.Q. What would you describe as the USP of Career Launcher?
Firstly we are completely technically enabled. You will find we are on the cutting edge. Compare us some to one best company each, in various fields, and you will find we are good. Secondly there is the team, which we have been able to build up in the first five or six years of our existence. And we depend a lot on this team to deliver in the next five years or so. Q. Being a hi-tech person yourself, how do you visualize India's future, so far as IT/ science/engineering is concerned?
I actually see India as a very very favoured destination for a lot of companies, organizations and institutions from all over the world. Because of the talent pool that we have; not only IT talent pool but also scientific temperament with English speaking abilities. This is very critical and I am a firm believer in the proposed ambition that by 2020 India will be a fully developed country. I am dead sure this will happen. The question is whether it will be by 2020, 2015 or 2017. But it is definitely going to happen. And it will be primarily because of India's ability to solve global problems, sitting in India, with Indian talent.
As of now, the Brain Drain syndrome has reached a saturation point. There is a greater balance which been restored. And the brain that went out of India say 20 years ago, is now coming back to the country. You could term this as the Brain Regain. This phenomenon tremendous amount of psychological confidence to the brains that are within India. The brain that comes from there to here is reinforcing certain things about India, because its says: "I have seen the best of it there and I don't find that India is very far behind. In fact we're enabling them to do a few things." And this is stopping a lot of people from even going. So in the fields of science and engineering I can see India as a strong ground for global solutions. Q. Do you feel that you have been able to achieve what you started out for?
Yes and No. If you ask me, as an individual whether I have accomplished a couple of things in the last eight years or so would say yes; looking back as a singular statement, I feel have accomplished a little a bit when compared to my own expectations; (I am not comparing with other people be they batch mates or colleagues.)However, we have repeatedly failed, year after year in meeting our strong internal targets. We have accomplished it at macro level, but I think we can achieve far more and we must grow at a faster rate. So critically speaking we have not done as much as we are capable of, but from a dream to whatever we have achieved, it looks like, okay we have been able to do something.