Can you please tell us a bit about yourself and the business that you are involved in? How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and unusual career?
I am 35 years old from New Delhi, India. I was never a star in studying, umm just about average and I never liked the Indian way of studying (it’s more of memorising rather than understanding). I did my Bachelors in Commerce from Delhi University and then started working when I was 19yrs old. My first job was with a jazz dance company called Danceworx where I was the in charge of admissions and renewals. That introduced me to the world of theater production when I worked on their musical ‘Chorus Line’ in 1998 and slowly it drew me in. I went on to work on almost 70 plays, 3 films and a couple of television series as production crew from 2003- 2008.
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Then one day in Jan 2008 I suddenly decided that I wanted to study further, which was a shock for everyone who knew me. So after a gap of almost 10 years from studies, I applied to Westminster Business School for my MA in Marketing and Communication and things were never the same.
After finishing my Masters I returned back to India in May 2010 and started working with Kingdom of Dreams, which is one of its kind entertainment venue in India. I worked as a show runner of the biggest musical show called Zangoora and worked there till Dec 2012 (ran almost 900 shows).
When I submitted the first part of my dissertation at the University, my course leader Jon Pike wrote on my work that this idea should be taken further and since then in my head I always wanted to work on it.
So in August 2013 I started my own company called NECTWORK and launched a brand called HONEY TWIGS. Honey Twigs is a single serve pack of honey. This makes honey easier to consume and removes all the sticky business from eating honey. With Honey Twigs we made honey from a boring bottle to “Honey on the GO!!” It will hit the Delhi markets by Mid Oct 2014.
How is running a successful business different than what you thought it would be?
Running your business is a learning experience everyday, right from trying to look for an office space to setting up the entire thing, and no business school teaches you that. This entire process makes you appreciate everything about your work and when it’s done makes you feel proud too.
When you start the thinking process it all seems kinda easy, but to get to actually doing it, it involves more than you thought about. But that shouldn’t throw you off.
It has taken me almost a year to launch my product and now I’m finally there and it’s a feeling words cannot describe.
It’s not for the faint hearted, your passion needs to run high.
How did you study at Westminster Business School?
While doing my research on places to study I contacted a few universities and they all offered me Marketing Management, which was not what I wanted. I contacted an education consultancy firm and they suggested Westminster Business School and few others, which were out of London. But then studying in London is the experience that I wanted and also the ratings of the course were good. So I decided to go with Westminster Business School and that is the best decision I ever made.
What were the main challenges you have faced during your stay in London?
Well, there weren’t any big challenges, but it was a new city and new people. So the first few weeks figuring things out was a bit of a task. Also, when we left our halls of residence and finding a place to stay was a fun task in itself. But overall the entire stay was pretty comfortable.
As a fellow student what would you recommend other international students in the Westminster Business School?
First of all I would like to congratulate the students for choosing Westminster Business School. As an international student there can be certain challenges you can face from adjusting to the place to getting used to the study system.
The biggest thing I would recommend is to go out there and ask where ever you get stuck. Ask the University officials about anything and everything and they are always ready to help you.
Be enterprising and connect with people and make friends, cause you will find a lot of people like you there and together you can all help out each other from cooking to shopping or just finding cheap drinks..
Which Three Adjectives Describe Your Strengths?
My biggest strength would be NETWORKING. Today networking takes you places and opens up avenues for you. The second and third would FOCUSED and DRIVEN.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
The biggest achievement for a student who always scored the lowest marks and got a 3rd division in his undergrad would be getting that Masters degree and that too with Merit. And, I would also say starting my own business. We all have it in us, it’s about recognising it.
What did you enjoy most about your experience at Westminster Business School?
The most enjoyable experience is meeting a class full of students from all over the world. Interacting with different individuals and getting to know their societies makes you a Global Citizen.
What’s your most memorable experience in London?
My entire stay in London from Sept 2008 to May 2010 is the most memorable time of my life. And I cannot pin point one. So the entire time has to be it.
Did living and studying abroad make a big difference when you returned home? If yes how?
Of course, staying out of your comfort zone and figuring things on your own polishes you as a person. I always had a fear of public speaking and this fear disappeared in my classes, where we had to do presentations in front of our teachers and co students. The entire study system also opens up a lot of things for you which you don’t even realise. Group study with students from different parts of the world teaches you how to deal with people in your life.
Once I came home I was different person, more out going, ready to take on the challenges and most of all learnt to face it all on my own.
I now tell everyone that you should go and study abroad and see the difference in their own self.
What does the future hold for you? What are your plans?
Well, for me right now expanding my business is my biggest and main priority. I believe in my product and want it to compete with the big brands in the country and tap the international markets. Who knows maybe I win the most innovative product or entrepreneur of the year or even if I don’t just want the product to be know for its quality.
Also, next year I want to visit London again and see the University and meet all my teachers and revisit the memories.