/ An Interview with Squadron Leader N Praveen Kumar (Retd), COO at iDreamCareer.com
An Interview with Squadron Leader N Praveen Kumar (Retd), COO at iDreamCareer.com
Open Talk @DSIM
An Interviewwith Squadron Leader N Praveen Kumar (Retd), COO at iDreamCareer.com
iDreamCareer is a Career Assessment and Career guidance arm of Medhavi Professional Services Pvt. Ltd which is a national organization working in Education sector encompassing number of schools and colleges under its umbrella.
Q1. Hi Praveen and welcome. Let’s talk about your business, how would you describe “iDreamcareer.com” in under 50 words?
Ans. iDreamCareer offers innovative and comprehensive educational and career planning solutions. It is a developmentally appropriate system that encourages early career awareness and incorporates everything that is needed to create a future educational and career plan and is a one stop platform for career planning needs of students.
Q2. Wonderful! What made you decide to start working on “iDreamcareer.com”?
Ans.Research shows that a right career decision is the key factor in determining success at career and at the workplace. It plays a critically important role in resolving all concerns related to workplace (of stress, anxiety and depression) that may arise on account of an inapt career choice. Mental health problems and struggles with career concern both are in cause and effect relationship. Both fall in the ambit of career guidance.
A right career choice and role of career assessment & guidance in facilitating it, has, therefore, assumed a very high significance in schools and student communities. Thus the idea of iDreamCareer was born.
Q3. Great concept! What planning did you do before you started up “iDreamcareer.com”?
Ans. A great amount of planning was involved before the complete structure of proper career planning process was put in place. The first step was to create a Career Assessment tool based on Indian demographics. The entire IT integration was a lengthy process. iDreamCareer Career assessment had to be tested on over 7238 Indian students to bring out test reliability and validity. From branding to pitching the product at the right price was also crucial.
The company also worked to mentor many low income family students.
Q4. So, at what point in your career did you decide you wanted to start a company?
Ans. A write-up on iDreamCareer Co-founder– Ayush co-founded iDreamCareer.com at an age of 22.5 in 2012 after completing his MBA in finance and working as an Investment Banker. As a co-founder of iDreamCareer, he played a critical role in the initial growth of the company and took up roles in all departments i.e. Sales, Fund raising, HR, and Accounts & Operations. Apart from scaling the company across India, East Africa and Middle East; he led the company to raise 3 rounds of funding, first in mid-2014, then in mid-2015 and latest one being the Pre-Series A round in Apr’16 from Times Group.
As the leader of iDreamCareer for over 4 years, he created a strong base for the company by hiring and building a passionate team of over 26 full time members. Ayush, in the present role of CEO at iDreamCareer.com, runs the entire show with deep focus on managing Sales, Product & Finance. He strongly believes that unbiased & structured career planning is the key to create a positive impact in the life of young students. He emphasizes that there should be very less disparity, if at all, between your career and your passion.
Ayush, as an experienced career planner, has always aspired to guide and motivate his students to pursue a career where they find enough space to explore their full potential and evolve as a human being, thus striving for excellence in all personal and professional endeavors’. Ayush was recently selected as one of the very few entrepreneurs from India & 100 from South East Asian countries to attend the prestigious Global Entrepreneurship Summit hosted by US State government.
That is the story of our Co-founder. I have been with iDreamCareer for over a year now. I have spent more than two decades in the Indian Air Force and was looking for a career change. The void of career guidance came into picture when I was conducting a workshop in a school in Kerala.
I realized that most of the students hardly have any clarity towards an informed career choice. As the luck would have been a fortnight thereafter, I met someone from the Board of Advisory of iDreamCareer. After that there was no looking back as I knew this is what I was looking forward to associate with after my career in the Air Force. The last one year has provided me with one of the most satisfying years of my life.
Q5. Tell us, what would be the impact of digital marketing on your business?
Ans. iDreamCareer being a completely online model, digital marketing would have a phenomenal impact. At the same time, our business is a fine balance between online and offline models.
Q6. Praveen, do you think the youth of India is lured towards the idea of a start-up these days?
Ans. Actually, India has always been a country of entrepreneurs. You can see that from the chain of shops in all our cities and small towns. The difference now is that we are becoming more organized in this sector and many Educational Institutions have introduced courses on Entrepreneurship.
Hence, a large number of youths are attracted towards start-ups as it gives them a lot of flexibility in the working environment and a means to fast bucks. However, youth also needs to understand the hard work and discipline which goes behind establishing a start-up.
Q7. Praveen, what are some of the ways you work to ensure that “iDreamcareer.com” remains competitive in an ever-changing global marketplace?
Ans. It is important to be rigid with your goals but flexible with your methods. So in the ever changing market scenario it is imperative to experiment new ideas by not compromising with core principles. It’s also essential to avoid short term gains to create a sustainable and long term model.
Q8. Praveen, before we finish it up, one last question, what would you say are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?