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P.Rajendran, Co-Founder and COO of NIIT in Conversation with YourStory on “What it takes to Create a Global Venture”

NIIT has created a global benchmark in the Technology education and training space with presence in over 40 countries and over 8,600 centers that focus on making the youth employable globally… P.Rajendran is part of the initial founding team of this education behemoth and has played a key role in shaping the NIIT success story.

P.Rajendran (fondly called Raju) might have a lot of qualities one could write about but one thing that clearly stands out is the tremendous amount of positive energy and enthusiasm that he infuses in everything that he does. So we at YourStory bring to you a high impact, inspiring snippet of conversation which we had with Raju and hope it will inspire you to take your own path.

What made you leave a stable job and opt for entrepreneurship?

After passing out from IIT Delhi, I worked for eight years with Keltron headquartered in Trivandrum. I had one of the best professional experiences at Keltron. Handling processes, instrumentation, product strategy, end to end marketing instilled a sense of independence very early on. After the learning curve reached a peak in the organization I was looking out to do something more meaningful. At the same time Vijay (Vijay Thandani, CEO-Co-Founder,NIIT) who was also working with me at Keltron (in Mumbai) had completed his 8 years in the organization and was similarly looking for the next challenge. Rajendra (Rajendra Pawar, Chairman and Co Founder,NIIT) was also looking at the road ahead. Incidentally all three of us were classmates at IIT and Vijay and Rajendra were thick friends in college and they both got talking and I joined in. Technology was going to knock at the door and we decided that the country needs to be ready to embrace this momentous change. ..

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The idea was to build something for Gen Y.


What do you attribute the success of NIIT to?

A whole array of situations and opportunities contributed to the growth of NIIT. From day one we thought beyond the obvious, and introduced many firsts. We were one of the first to introduce the franchise model, in fact the success of the franchise model has earned us the sobriquet of “McDonalds of the training sector.” Training and education centered around creating world class talent, enabled us to build world class products and training solutions which were global firsts. Youth is our market and target audience. We have been able to grow because we have enabled the growth of Indian youth. For us, it is a mission and not just business to empower the Indian youth and create an opportunity for him or her to be able to decide what to make of his/her life.


What excites you about what you do?

To be honest everything that we do at NIIT inspires and excites me and so we continue to do more.

Sense of fulfillment – We want to empower the youth with training, education to make a difference. It feels great being a part of this initiative which is driven by a mission to empower youth to build a career.

Be true to yourself and when are you are working on what you like it does not feel like work. Each day brings new meaning and opportunities and you get to live your passion. Yes entrepreneurship is not a bed of roses, you do have your bad days but if you are in sync with your true calling then everything automatically falls in place.


You are part of the Dell Take Your Own Path Campaign. How important is Technology for you?

To meet the growing demand to expand and open new educational centres around the globe, NIIT needs technology that is scalable and affordable. How are you going to reach out to millions all at once? Highly scalable and affordable Dell PowerEdge servers manage NIIT’s ever-growing chain of learning centres worldwide. We believe in performance and value a partner who has similar goals.


What is your message to entrepreneurs especially young people all over the country planning to Start up?

Be truthful to yourself. Opportunities are in abundance and India today is much more evolved then when we started in early 80s. It’s important to understand what you like and then go after it. It’s not a cliché that if you like what you do, you will do it well and eventually succeed.

YourStory wishes P.Rajendran many more such brilliant business ideas and hopes to see him continue on his glorious path. We thank him for his time and insightful responses to our queries.


To know more about P.Rajendran log on to

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