In conversation with the city’s business moguls of tomorrow
T hey were all born with a silver spoon in their mouth and are heirs to some of the city’s established business enterprises. But, instead of resting on the laurels of their fathers and forefathers, these young people have chosen to be involved in the family businesses, steering them to new heights of success.
G. Abhimanyu Ganesh, Sabari Rathen M., Maithri Anand and Hannah Mathews are the business moguls of tomorrow. As they share their thoughts on stepping into daddy’s shoes over lunch at Vivanta By Taj, Vazhuthacaud, the quartet realise that they have a lot of in common, be it gaining acceptance in their respective fields, living up to expectations, people management or finding their wings. Over to them...
Abhimanyu: I had no qualms giving up my corporate career because I was always interested in joining QRS right from my younger days. It's always better to run your own ship, particularly if it’s a business that offers scope for growth and is modern. Besides, however much merriment there was in the corporate world, running your own business is much more interesting. Hope you guys agree?
Sabari: Absolutely. It was much the same for me. I always knew that eventually I would join the company but I’m glad that I too worked outside. That experience has worked to my advantage when I joined PRS Group. As an employer, it has helped me understand the difficulties that employees face. Plus, I was able to understand and study, to a certain extent, the systems, operating procedures and so on in an international company, which helped me to introduce it in my company as well. I work primarily in construction and education, both of which are labour intensive and as such very challenging fields.
Maithri: The biggest advantage of the family business is that there are systems, procedures and practices in place, which gives us a solid foundation to follow or build upon. The family business, SFS Homes, and my own retail business go side by side. Both are very different but I feel that they complement each other beautifully.
Hannah: Gosh! I haven’t worked outside the family firm. IBS is such a huge part of me that I didn’t have to think twice before joining it. I grew up watching my father work hard to build the company up from scratch. But just because I am the chairman’s daughter, people tend to think that I am of the same mould. As appa told me before I came for lunch – right now he fills his own shoes pretty well! (Laughs). So, I am currently finding my space within the company.
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G. Abhimanyu Ganesh
Abhimanyu, a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, quit his high-flying corporate career with McKinsey to run the family business, QRS. The soft-spoken third generation entrepreneur is now a director of the company. Since he joined it six years ago, QRS has diversified its operations from electronics showrooms to retailing textiles and watches and running supermarkets, among others.
Sabari Rathen M.
Sabari graduated from the College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram, and worked with Larsen & Toubro in Chennai before coming back home to the city. A businessman of the fourth generation, the suave Sabari is the executive director of PRS Group and is responsible for its design and construction activities, besides the day-to-day running of the firm’s flagship engineering college and hospital.
A lawyer who graduated from The Law Academy Law College in the city, sprightly Maithri is the executive director of new business initiatives for construction firm SFS Homes. A couple of years ago, the young mother spearheaded the company’s move into fashion retail by opening designer store Vedhika and is now leading from the front, the company’s new hospitality division.
Hannah, the youngest in the group, in terms of age and experience, is nonetheless a chip off the old block. She holds a degree in business administration from American University, Dubai. For the past two years, svelte Hannah has been learning the ropes as a management executive at Technopark-based IBS, the multi-national IT firm started by her father, V.K. Mathews. On the side, Hannah also runs a successful homemade gourmet cake business under the label, SugarRush.