Two graduates of the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad have decided to opt for unconventional career paths than the fat-pay packages, earning laurels from the institute chairman and chief mentor of Infosys N R Narayana Murthy and director Bakul Dholakia.
While Gaurav Dagaonkar could well be the next Abhijit Sawant with his foot-tapping music, Sharath Babu aspires to build a food-chain and employ about 50,000 people.
Hailing from Chennai, Sharath has risen from a modest background and managed to graduate from IIM-A this year and has already begun his own catering business in Ahmedabad.
"I have faced innumerable challenges during the past 25 years. I remember how my mother Deepa Ramani cooked mid-day meals in a nearby school, earned Rs 30 a day and has managed to tend our family including two elder sisters and a younger brother," said an emotional Sharath while announcing his plans.
Sharath said that he himself had sold idlis on the streets to eke out a living.
"I have already registered my company, Foodking Catering Services Private Limited, and I aspire to start a food-chain and employ about 50,000 people in about 10 years," he said.
"I have approached few corporates and premier educational institutions in the city and the response so far has been good," Sharath said adding that he was planning to supply quality food at reasonable prices mainly to the corporate sector and educational institutions.
However, for Mumbai-based Dagaonkar, music is the first love.
Gaurav, who released the demo version of his album on Saturday aspires to make a creative mix of his natural ability to sing and his managerial and entrepreneurial skills to curve out a place in the Indian music industry.
"I have composed about ten songs and hope to come out with a full-fledged album in the next two months with the help of a music company," Gaurav said.
Gaurav who was the cultural secretary of IIM-A, had formed a band Zaahir - with other musicians in Ahmedabad. He has also designed a music studio in his hostel at IIM-A where he studied the technicalities of the music sequencing and arranging.
Hearing about their plans, Narayana Murthy said, "I am happy and proud that they have opted to walk on a road less travelled."
He said India's booming economy provided ample opportunity to budding entrepreneurs to start their own ventures.
"Youngsters from disadvantageous backgrounds like Sharath Babu have managed to overcome difficulties and start their own ventures," he remarked.
Patting Sharath, Narayana Murthy said, "In India a lot of children are not able to go to school because they do not have enough food to eat. So once you establish your food business, I will request you to donate a small part of your earnings to the mid-day meal scheme being run in the nearby school."
He said the IIMs were doing a "wonderful job" in churning out management students skilled in different aspects like human resources, finances, sales and marketing, corporate strategy, technology and others.
IIMs needed to expand in terms of the intake capacity of the students and needed to raise the salaries of the faculty so as to help the students get the best education in the world, he said.
He also called for greater autonomy for the IIMs.
IIM-A director Dholakia also applauded both the students for "their risk-taking abilities" by opting for unconventional careers.
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