Aanchal strongly believes that no two people are alike and it is with this belief she ventured into a new arena that is recently gaining a lot of momentum in India – The Image Management industry. Founder of Capital I Personal branding Studio, Aanchal has gained herself a prominent place in the industry in less than four years. A sought after professional by television shows to express expert views on body language matters, Aanchal is also the Vice President of Marketing for the all India Image Management Professionals Association (IMPA).
Aanchal says, "I kind of stopped thinking about what if this doesn't work out or what if I can’t. Great Lakes gave me faith in myself that whatever happens I can still do something worthwhile."
Coming from a family of doctors, little did George Mathews think that he would opt for management studies and subsequently venture into the education industry.
Founder of the Wonder Years Pre School, George grasped the need for a distinctive school which was not among the run of the mill types. He has incorporated a lot of new and innovative ideas in his school from across the world and has adapted teaching methodologies of some of the US based schools. Currently, Wonder Years has four branches in Trivandrum, Kerala.
With over 20 employees today and plans to expand into a primary school very soon, Wonder years has already received a couple of awards in the recent times. It became the first school in Kerala to receive the British council International School Award (ISA award).
With the belief that though everybody is focused on ecommerce, agriculture is the actual backbone of this country, Kunal founded CropIn. CropIn offers web and mobile information and communication technology including enterprise resource planning and business intelligence for agriculture.The firm today provides agriculture technology to farmers as well as large companies including PepsiCo and Mahindra & Mahindra.
"We were in a huge, untapped market and the initial six months were testing times for CropIn. But with a successful pilot project, we started attracting multinationals as customers." says Kunal.
Today, Crop In’s agriculture technology has been implemented in 25,000 acres of farms belonging to 15,000 farmers and is used by large firms such as ITC Group, Rallis and Nuziveedu Seeds.
Business fundamentals like product portfolio, working capital management, ROI and few such things are what you will learn in MBA from most B-Schools, but there are some lessons for a lifetime that I learnt from Uncle Bala which perhaps I will take to my grave, Nitish begins on an excited note."Uncle Bala used to repeatedly quote that our network is our net worth and I truly believe in that today", says Nitish.
Nitish is now the director of Bharath International travels, a travel management company with three major divisions – Corporate travel, leisure travel and car rental services. Apart from this, Nitish is also the founder of Easy Getaways, a weekend getaway themed portal that provides a one-stop-shop solution to its visitors.
Having ventured into one of the highly competitive industries, Great Lakes alumnus Satish Rajagopalan is shaping an exciting future for himself in the education industry. While working as a Research Analyst in domains of Education, Energy and Logistics, Satish found his calling as an entrepreneur and decided to gain the skills needed to transform his passion into his profession. In 2013, he established Spearhead EduOnline Pvt Ltd in Bangalore and the company launched its flagship product ApnaCourse.com, India’s only MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) platform providing training on Globally Recognized Certifications fully online.
The company has already bagged awards such as IAMAI – Internet and Mobile Association of India – Recognized ApnaCourse as a budding startup in Jan 2014, TechCircle Runway – Recognized ApnaCourse as one among top 8 innovative startups.
Talking about his alma mater, Satish says that Great Lakes is the place where he developed the right business acumen to assess and take decisions.
Founded in 2009 by two Great Lakes alumnus, Jade Magnet is India's first crowdsourcing company in the creative and marketing space. Recognized by NASSCOM as top 50 emerging companies and byTiEas one among India's Top 4 startups in the TiE ecosystem, Sitashwa Srivastava and ManikKinra are proud founders today. "We have been in business for a couple of years but have crossed quite a few milestones; reaffirming our vision that crowdsourcing is the way of the creative future", observes both.
The founders say that Great Lakes played an important role in kindling their entrepreneurial dream. “Classes on International Entrepreneurship helped shape our business ideas and institution building activities taught us how organizations function”, says Sitashwa.
For Manik, self-belief has been the most important take away from Great Lakes."One year at Great Lakes made us go through difficult situations and forced us to think differently and quickly which is tremendously helpful today,"states the Chief Marketing Officer of Jade Magnet.
Courage is what defines Susmita. And she says she owes that quality to Great Lakes. It was a daring decision to start Smart iDeAs that Susmita made in the year 2008, when the market situation was completely downturn. Smart iDeAs provides Market Research & Advisory Services, Market & Marketing Strategy Advisory for new & upcoming organizations and SMEs & Entrepreneurs. The company also provides Marketing Advisory Services through Integrated Digital Marketing Communication, Social Media Marketing and Personal & Organizational Brand Building.
I would say Great Lakes gave me this courage and ability to think big. Not just big – but BIG, says Susmita."More than skills, what I gained post Great Lakes is the confidence and ability to set a goal and make it happen. Great Lakes has helped in sharpening my marketing and business skills and has taught me where and how to focus", she adds.
A truly inspiring entrepreneur, Thirukumaran, founded Prapanjam, a social enterprise works towards the empowerment of rural women. Founded in 2008 as a small eco-friendly handicraft production business with just 10 women in a village near Madurai, Prapanjam today provides livelihood to more than 400 women in nearby 21 villages, producing handicraft products which is exported to various countries world-wide.
Talking about his Great Lakes life, Thiru says that every second spent at Great Lakes was a fun filled memory. He adds that the campus gave him such positive energy. “Most of my classmates are now CEOs and big names in Marketing area, the learnings that I got from them is tremendous. It has really helped me during my tough times”, says Thiru.
The thought of doing something on his own, something bigger, persuaded Vinesh to step into the journey of entrepreneurship. A software engineer before joining Great Lakes, Vinesh was always involved in things beyond his project which gave him enough exposure to come up with various business ideas. Even while studying at Great Lakes, Vinesh worked on developing prototypes for his business parallel with his course. High5Store, founded by Vinesh in 2012 is an exclusive online marketplace for Indian ethnic collection serving customers from India and worldwide. It has more than 500 sellers in its network with 50000+ products.
Having no entrepreneurial family background and no mentorship, Vinesh is pretty much a self- made entrepreneur.
Started in June 2011 as a 4 member team, Gurmeet’s venture BlazeClan has offices today at US, Singapore & India with a team of 35 members. This advanced AWS Consulting Partner and managed services competency provider is currently serving close to 1000 users globally. According to Gurmeet, Great Lakes has helped in his entrepreneurial journey in more than one ways. He says that the industry experience of Faculty, backed by practical approach of teaching has helped him in learning various aspects of running a business. He owes it to the faculty members who helped him in finding the right industry connects and introductions to key people.