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Apr, 19 2010

GROOMING ENTREPRENEURS

THROUGH IT’S VARIOUS PROGRAMMES IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND THE INCUBATION CELL, AMITY UNIVERSITY TRAINS ENTREPRENEURS NOT JUST FROM WITHIN THE CAMPUS BUT ALSO FROM OUTSIDE. THE IDEA IS TO BUILD A CLUSTER OF ENTREPRENEURS AROUND ITS CAMPUS AND GROOM AN ENTREP

THROUGH IT’S VARIOUS PROGRAMMES IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND THE INCUBATION CELL, AMITY UNIVERSITY TRAINS ENTREPRENEURS NOT JUST FROM WITHIN THE CAMPUS BUT ALSO FROM OUTSIDE. THE IDEA IS TO BUILD A CLUSTER OF ENTREPRENEURS AROUND ITS CAMPUS AND GROOM AN ENTREPRENEUR. SHAMBHAVI ANAND TALKS WITH ASEEM CHAUHAN, CHANCELLOR, AMITY UNIVERSITY, RAJASTHAN, AND CEO, AMITY INCUBATION CELL.

Company: Amity University Rajasthan
Interviewee: Aseem Chauhan, CEO,
Amity Incubation Cell
Business area: Education & training
Area of operation: National

What was your inspiration behind setting up this university?

Education has been in my blood. All four of my grandparents were associated with the education sector so it has a special place in my heart. Secondly, I wanted to contribute to national development and I believe education is one of the major sectors that need to be looked after for national development and I wanted to contribute to national development.

What are your qualifications and what is your career track?

I did a degree course in finance and strategy market at Wharton Business School University of Pennsylvania. After that I worked for JP Morgan in New York. But I spent most of my time in venture capital and leverage buyouts. I had spent $1 million in all of that. But later I wanted to spend some time with my family and also wanted to contribute to the development of my country.

What differentiates Amity from other universities in India?

There is a big difference in between Amity and other private universities. We pioneered the concept of private universities in the nation. That is the first difference and also an advantage. We introduced the culture of the private sector contributing to the higher education of the country. Starting early gives you the advantage of being ahead of others. We are a brand now and a brand always stands for recognition, value and high quality.

What are the upsides and downsides of being in the education business?

The downside of being in this sector is that there is a lot of regulation. We have to deal with the government bodies a lot which works at a very slow pace. There is a lot of corruption and so work becomes difficult. But we are hoping that since now we have a visionary education minister things will become better. Things are already opening up.

Another downside was the mindset. They were apprehensive about private universities. The concept was new to the country and so we had to educate them.

The upside is that it gives you a lot of satisfaction. Working with the youth to improve their lives and thereby bringing about a change in the society gives contentment.

Education is supposedly a recession-free industry. However, to what extent were your placements effected?

To get all our students placed was really tough during the downturn. Companies had put a freeze on recruitment. They had almost stopped hiring. But we were still better off than others. We were always there for our students. Even those who had passed out were in touch with the placement cell and the faculty of our colleges. We supported them and did not leave them to fend for themselves.

What is the USP of your MBA course?

Amity has been ranked among the top 10 B-schools by premier media houses. We employ a practical approach to teach. Besides being educators we are also entrepreneurs so we have the practical knowledge of the world. We know what it takes to run a business successfully. The practical knowledge makes us a better teacher than those who just write books and study theories.

We also work in collaboration with campuses abroad so that our students can go there and learn the global approach to a particular field.

We also have an incubation cell where we nurture entrepreneurs within the campus.

What does your incubation cell do?

Our incubation cell incubates 50 companies within the campus. Out of these 15 are companies of our own students and the rest are from outside. We offer all kinds of support ranging from venture capitalist to technical assistance. We are building a cluster of entrepreneurs around our campus.

Do you have specialised courses for grooming entrepreneurial talent?

Yes. There is a programme called 'MBA - Entrepreneurship and leadership' which grooms entrepreneurs with a practical approach to the area.

There is an awful skill gap between university students and the requirements of the industry. What do you have to say about it? How are you dealing with the problem?

I agree with that. Most of the universities operate on prehistoric models. Their curriculum is sometimes not upgraded for decades and so they do not teach their students about the latest developments.

Here we revise our syllabi every six months. We are deeply tied into the industry and so we are better able to understand their needs and train our students accordingly.

What are your plans for Amity in future?

Expansion and growth are our major plans. In future we intend to have an Amity in every region of the country. We also plan to expand globally in places like Singapore, Africa, Middle East and the US.

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