Starpreneur Ashutosh Shringi interviewed Mr. Paresh Gupta

Dream to make the largest finance career advisory group

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A Graduate of Sri Ram College and Chartered Accountant of 2002 batch; MBA from London School of Business and Finance and have over 10 years of experience with track-record in carbon management, energy sector, regulatory advisory, strategic advisory, financial modeling, takeovers, mergers and acquisitions, infrastructure consulting, financial restructuring and business research, education, recruitment & training. After working across Asia, Middle East, Europe and Canada for some of the top rated companies including HSBC, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Keypoint (Ernst &Young offshoot in Bahrain) and Adventity Global Services (now Sutherland Plc.) in 2011 I decided to try my hands on entrepreneurship and came back to India.

 

The journey in the last 2 years has been amazing with 3 interesting startups, national awards from Economic Times, IIM Ahemdabad and lots of ups and downs. The venture closest to my heart is a social initiative “MAPyourskills” aimed at developing talent in finance students by providing a suitable platform to these candidates, a networking opportunity and a chance to interact with Industry experts who could provide right direction to their careers in the finance domain.

 

What gap in the market did you discover that persuaded you to launch your start-up?

 

Most finance professionals and students in India today struggle to find good jobs even after excellent academic records. The absence of real mentors with adequate industry experience and industry connections in the country is reflected in the steep decline in placement results of most finance professionals.

 

Fresh Chartered Accountants, Cost Accountants, Company Secretaries and MBA Finance are facing a serious decline in job availability as per their profile. For e.g. the students appearing for CA campus increased from 2931 in Feb-March 2010 to 9717 in Feb-March 2012 whereas the percentage of jobs offered to these candidates reduced from 49% to 9% over the same period. Jaipur’s placement record is worse off as compared to India average and was less than 6% in the last placement season which happened in September 2012.

 

 

Declining CA placement Scenario in India

 

 

How long did you spend developing before launching?

 

It is often said that most startups happen over a cup of coffee or there is a eureka moment. For me it happened over a guest lecture at the CA institute. I had just returned back from London to try my hands on entrepreneurship and I was invited for a guest lecture at the CA institute. Immediately after the lecture I was swarmed with students who were struggling to decide on their careers. I discussed this issue with Ankit and Mohit who are also CA and have worked in top rated companies and we joined hands immediately to form MAPyourskills.

 

Most surprisingly, the overall time spent to launch the business was only about 5 days. Within 5 days we planned our first workshop, created our website, sent out emails to students, called our friends as guest speakers and we were ready and our first workshop was a big hit with a full house.

 

Has your start-up had the feedback and growth you expected since launching?

 

We launched MAPyourskills with a very modest goal of training about 25 candidates and helping them in their careers; and in the very first event we had over 100 participants. The number has been growing crazy since then and we are only about 1 year old. Some of our achievements in the last couple of months are:

  • Over 4200 registered members online
  • Our candidates placed in top rated companies like Bajaj Finance, ICICI, Coca Cola, Bosch, Evosys, Il&FS, Jabong, Genpact, Samarth Lifestyle, Kingdon of Dreams, KPMG, E&Y and so on..
  • Workshops conducted on International Finance Courses, Financial Modeling, Oracle based ERP, Employability Skills, Presentation Skills, Excel Skills, Case Study Solving, CV making, Interview skills and many more
  • 10 times better result than CA campus
  • Conducted programs in collaboration with FICCI, Mahindra World City and the next one is planned with the largest accounting body of the the world ACCA (UK).
  • Guest faculty from London, Bahrain, US, Mumbai, Delhi and other big cities
  • Speakers included investment bankers, consultants, lawyers, corporate professionals, IAS officers and subject matter experts

 

Where do you see your start-up in 5 Years’ time?

 

It is a tough question because you never know where the wave would lead us but we dream to become the largest finance career advisory group of the country. We hope to cover the entire country in the next 4-5 years, atleast 2 workshops per year in each of the top 20 cities. Also hope to capture a wider network of corporates who would like to get connected with us for the quality of candidates and honest advise provided by us.

 

What is your vision about the start up?

Since it is a social initiative we plan to build a culture of networking, exploration, right advise and mentorship and provide fair advise to our students and not be biased by monetary reasons. Each year, India produces more than twice the number of Chartered Accountants and other professionals as compared to UK however, when we look at employability, we are far behind and the prime reason is that students only worry about marks and results and forget to build the right industry connections and network. In most parts of the world, students attend workshops, conferences and events just to meet senior professionals but such culture is grossly missing in the country and that is exactly what we plan to eradicate.

 

 

What advice would you offer to any soon to be start-up founders out there?

 

There are 2 important things in my opinion which are needed if you plan to be an entrepreneur:

  1. Plan your finances well. Lot of startups do not plan their finances and just start out of pure passion. It is good to have a passion but you should plan your personal finances well because entrepreneurial journey is tough and needs money which should be planned well.
  2. Don’t go blind on mistakes. We all commit mistakes and it is very important to accept mistakes, mend them and move on. Unless you are ready to accept failures, entrepreneurship will be tough. Be aware of what is going around, listen to your critics and ensure you take corrective paths before things go from bad to worse.

 

What is the advice for the students today?

 

Since MAPyourskills is a startup for students I recommend this to all students everyday- Nothing is difficult if you are determined to achieve it. Know it that no successful person is made without failures. Those who lose heart or do not even fight enough can never rise in life. Do your research well, ensure that you select the right mentor in life and work smart rather than just working hard and you will surely get what you plan.


About the Author

Amit Grover, founder of AHAtaxis.com, is an IIT Delhi and IIM Indore alumnus, having more than 12 years of industry experience. He started Nurture Talent Academy, and earlier worked with Infosys, Asian Paints, Onida and Mumbai Angels. He regularly blogs on www.amitgrover.co.in. AHA Taxis, his recent venture, offers one way outstation travel across India.

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