Teach and lead

Teach and lead


What do Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, and Jonah Peretti, co-founder of Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post, have in common? Yes, both of them have built million-dollar empires. And before setting out on their entrepreneurial journeys, both served as teachers.

While Ma taught English and International Trade at Hangzhou Dianzi University, Peretti taught middle-schoolers computer science.

Lessons on entrepreneurship can be picked up anywhere. So, there is always the possibility that budding entrepreneurs can learn a thing or two about entrepreneurship while serving as a faculty on an educational programme.

While working on his start-up, Rajiv Jayaraman landed a part-time teaching job with SP Jain School of Global Management in Singapore and Dubai. There were two takeaway-insights from this stint for Rajiv, founder and CEO Knolskape, an end-to-end learning and assessment platform for accelerated employee development.

Simplification quotient

One, simplification. As a teacher, one picks up the skill to take a complex idea and simplify it so that it is clearly understood by everyone in the class.

And, effective entrepreneurship is about offering a product or service that shows customers clearly what it has to offer them.

Engagement quotient

Two, a product has to engage people by taking them beyond the humdrum realities of existence. At some point, a teacher has to figure out how to engage his students.

Rajiv had been asked to teach IT Risk, and he had been warned by administrators at the institution that though the subject was of critical importance, it was not being enthusiastically received by students.

“I took it as a challenge and decided to gamify the subject,” says Rajiv. They created a 60- to 90-minute simulation game, where a learner played the role of a chief information officer. Issues, including a site being hacked and a data centre being hit by an earthquake, were played for students. They had to respond to these challenges unfolding on a digital platform.

Learning quotient

A former teacher with Vasant Valley School in Delhi, Nitya Ram started QUBE-ED Education Services with five other teachers. “We are still teachers at heart. And, that has made all the difference,” says Nitya. To be a good teacher, one has to be a good learner. Every leader is a teacher at heart and is constantly learning, says Nitya.

Influence quotient

Good teachers with a great entrepreneurial idea can inspire their students with their vision.

BYJU's, an education company started by Byju Raveendran, has eight of his students as part of its core team. Divya Gokulnath, co-founder and a student of Byju, says she dropped her plans to study abroad to join the organisation. Vinay M.R. dropped his plan to join premium MBA institute to head its Content and Media operations. Mrinal Mohit, Chief Operating Officer, has a similar story to tell.

“Byju Raveendran encouraged us to experiment, fail (if necessary) and make corrections. Intrapreneurship is a celebrated quality here,” says Divya. Similarly, at one point, 10 members of the 30-member team at Knolskape were Rajiv’s students.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 7:18:21 AM |

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