Escalate

Success comes with a price

Narottam Aryal, a graduate in Public Policy, never had plans of becoming an educator, but once he took the leap and embraced his part-time teaching job as a full-time career, there was no turning back. Aryal worked for colleges such as Apex and Campion before he became the CEO of CG Education. He then took another leap in 2011 and acquired King’s College. Ever since, he’s been working as the executive director of the management school. In this interview with the Post’s Alisha Sijapati, Aryal talks about the growing scope of management degree in the country and shares his take on producing future entrepreneurs through his college. Excerpts: 
You have a specialised degree in public policy, but you work as an educator in the business management sector. What prompted you to switch your path? 
I never pursued a degree in business and I never focused on doing anything related to this field. However, I have always had a business perspective and an entrepreneur’s spirit. As soon as my partner and I took over King’s College, we designed a course for MBA that specialises mainly in entrepreneurship. According to the former dean, 90 percent of the management graduates earlier worked for banks or other financial institutions; but since we came on board, we have given hope to those who aspire to become entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is not only about business, there are various aspects to it. As an educator, it is important for me to understand and question what sort of entrepreneurs we want to produce and how we can plant the seed of entrepreneurship in our students. People often complain that Nepal lacks potential and resources. This was true earlier, but now it’s not the same. One way to change that perception is through the new generation of entrepreneurs. We can develop the country through entrepreneurship. Management courses should decentralise their focus towards entrepreneurship.
Many corporate professionals, especially the giants, often blame business schools for not training their students adequately. How does King’s College train its students and what strategies do you use to fill that void? 
I believe that it’s always good to talk about how we can get better at what we do. You cannot always highlight the bad. Of course, as an educator I do understand where the corporate giants come from and I acknowledge that we have our shortcomings too. Producing a good candidate for a job is not only in the hands of us educators, but it is also equally important for corporate giants to take the lead. We as educators focus largely on academics.  Although we do tap into the basics of becoming a professional, we are not a full-time training institute. We have a lot of things to cover academically and our focus is on offering proper education to our students. The corporate giants, educators, students, teachers, everyone alike, needs to work together to provide a strong, holistic environment for students to grow. We are a business school but that doesn’t mean that we can fulfil every expectation that a corporate giant has from us. Corporate houses need to do their part in inducting and investing on rigorous trainings for the fresh graduates. 
From where you stand, what is the trend among students like? 
The number of students flying abroad has only increased in the last few years. Our colleges and universities are not in the position to offer world class education and infrastructures to our students. On the brighter side, it is good news that our students aim to study in world’s top universities abroad to acquire better education and quality of life. However, these days, maximum students leave for countries like Australia in an attempt to acquire permanent residence and not quality education. It is unfortunate that the young minds, instead of creating opportunities at home, aspire for opportunities abroad. 
Today a management degree has become a common interest among the youth. Why is it preferred in lieu other degrees?
In Nepal, technical degrees—in medicine, engineering, IT—are at the top when it comes to subject hierarchy.  There are students who really want to pursue management, but there are others who enrol only because they do not want to work too hard—explains why the supply of quality students has deteriorated. They take up management because they want an easy way out. Students opt for the degree because they think it’s less strenuous and that they can take it for granted. Management is also popular field of interest because students see ample opportunities in the sector. 
Many say that entrepreneurship has become more of a fashion. What kind of guidance are you providing to your students to pursue entrepreneurship for the right reasons?
This perception has been pertinent for a while. I have been part of various seed and boot camps nurturing aspiring entrepreneurs; and I have noticed that if earlier there was a craze for banking sector, it has now shifted to entrepreneurship. There are both pros and cons to it. One can use two school of thoughts—first, entrepreneurship is fashion and it’ll fade away and another, which I believe in is of course, if you put in your sweat and blood, you’ll succeed anyway.  Entrepreneurship is not easy, the same idea can be used by 100 people but among those 100, barely five people survive. Today’s youth have the energy and they engage themselves in different activities as much as possible. Also, now we have venture capitalists that are ready to invest in new ideas. I usually advice people not to be disheartened if your ideas don’t work out, you need to be motivated from the successful ones. Tootle, eSewa and Sasto Deal are all our country’s products and one can definitely learn from them. No journey is honky dory, success comes with a price. Our entrepreneurs have been listed under Forbes 30 under 30 and this is a phenomenal achievement for us, especially to those who believe in the idea of entrepreneurship. We offer an 18-week incubation programme for students, from King’s and beyond, who are passionate about entrepreneurship. 
Can you give us top tips to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
If you want to become an entrepreneur, you need to be 100 percent sure about it. You need to put in your heart and soul to transform the idea into an asset. You need to 
have the purpose and the passion. Don’t look for results in haste. Be ready to face and pass challenges, and don’t give up. Entrepreneurs do not become successful 
overnight; a lot goes behind the scene. 
Just don’t be happy listening to success stories, understand their struggle in depth. 
Published: 2018-04-02 08:22:02