Vamsi Krishna, Founder, Lakshya Institute

By Team YS|1st Sep 2009
Clap Icon0 claps
  • +0
    Clap Icon
Share on
close
Clap Icon0 claps
  • +0
    Clap Icon
Share on
close
Share on
close
“Aiming for Education”

To have an Aim in life and to pursue it to completion is a hallmark of greatness. Vamsi Krishna is an educator in the sense that he has brought about a change in the way we look not just at teaching but at those who are being taught.


His “Lakshya” is not just to impart knowledge but to make sure that it is applied judiciously. He explains his concepts saying “Lakshya is a dream child of four young IIT graduates conceptualized with an aim to revolutionize the way learning is perceived and teaching is delivered. We believe with a proper thought process given to pedagogy, “Learning can be made Interesting” and hence effective.”


“We have currently started up in the very tangible segment of IIT-JEE, AIEEE and medical entrance examinations training. We heavily integrate technology into our teaching process and hence bring a differentiation as well as create a system-based organization which is not entirely teacher dependent. Through these and others practices we wish to bring an organized approach to this sector and innovate the way teaching has been delivered.” 


Their venture may seem to be just another fish in the sea but in essence they differ greatly in their understanding of industry oriented education. Vamsi says “Our USP is our unrelenting and single minded focus on students and academics. We believe, to do exceptionally well in this sector in the long term, strong understanding of the students academic needs and related externalities (test patterns, industry/college requirements, major skill set requirements etc.) is imperative. Our ability to understand the academic needs of students and being able to create the most relevant and effective service for them has been our USP and will remain to be so in the future. Our academic content development and teacher training systems are designed focusing on this approach. It is for this special attention towards students which shows in our finer details that students love us for.”


“Our strategy is our twin focus approach:  1. Pedagogy -> Instruction methodology based on "teacher + innovative digital content module". Teacher delivers instruction using these modules. This instructional method and modules are of high quality which is conceptualized in house by subject experts comprising of a team of 12 IIT graduates and from Thapar University. Use of modules also helps us maintain uniformity and highest quality standards across multiple delivery channels yet at the same time giving room for creativity of teachers.”


“2. Training -> Teacher training which is done on top of these modules which brings uniformity in delivery and also help us train better and effectively which eventually help us scale faster.”


 


“Our other differentiators include:  · Business Partnership Model: For expansion we are strictly against a franchisee model where an external person comes and extends the brand. We believe in nurturing in-house entrepreneurs. Ours is probably the first institute which is embarking on a partnership model in test prep segment. We believe if teachers can be empowered and made a partner in the business in the long run then it will satisfy his entrepreneurial instincts and also breed loyalty in the overall system, hence making it sustainable while expanding.”


“It will also be instrumental in attracting good talent into this sector and by grooming our own people to become leaders we ensure philosophy is carried to every centre.”


“Student Mentoring: Every teacher at Lakshya is trained to have empathy towards students and he/she basically loves teaching. We are proud to say we all are 'Teachers by choice and not by chance'. This kind of attitude among teachers helps them to relate to the child in a better manner and a student learns not just subject knowledge but values and inculcates right attitudes.”


“Focus on EQ (emotional quotient). We have an Aacharya, a spiritual counselor and a Yoga teacher (formerly working with Oberoi group), who deals with the stress aspects of preparation.”


“Use of technology: Every classroom is equipped with a Projector to deliver digital content. Electronic Smart boards are gradually being introduced to further improve on the quality. A student can clearly see the difference on the very first day. We have developed our own Virtual learning environment (VLE) for students www.lakshyainstitite.com/ezvidya. Where student can review chapter, air doubts, collaborate with others. Learning continues even after classes.”


“Result Analytics section: Here we provide advanced result analysis and individual specific strategies which go a long way in performance improvement. We plan to leverage this capability as an independent product in future. Other stress Busters: Movie sessions and Motivational talks to take stress off and to make Learning experience more interesting.” 


Vamsi is not content with just achieving his vision he believes that a vision is a living entity and it should grow. He says “Lakshya plans to use its USP of unique pedagogy and use it to attract the best talent and train them on top of these modules. This model is scalable and takes less time and cost. The standard content helps maintaining quality standards and uniformity across multiple channels of delivery.”


“We currently have a team of 12 IITians with us which we are able to use as a huge brand proposition and also use their expertise to improvise on the academic content. At Lakshya, as stated earlier, we have a Business Partnership Model. For expansion, we are strictly against a franchisee model. We believe in nurturing in-house entrepreneurs. We believe if teachers can be empowered and made a partner in the business in the end then it will satisfy his entrepreneurial instincts and breed loyalty in the overall system, hence making it sustainable while expanding. It will also be instrumental in attracting good talent into this sector and by grooming our own people to become leaders we ensure philosophy is carried to every centre.”


Vamsi has a story behind how he developed his vision and found the conviction to make his dreams come true. He recalls “We (me along with my three friends, who now are my partners) always wanted to do something of our own. However after graduating from IIT-Bombay I entered into corporate world and did a 9-5 job in a very good firm. I quit after 6 months. During my job days I always used to feel a sense of loss of opportunity and that I was not doing justice to my talent.”


“I always wanted to be master of my own destiny and wanted to create a difference in the world. I always felt that there is a need to create something that which will induce a positive change in the way we live. I felt whatever one does it should affect people and bring a positive change in the way we live. The more the effect the better. In a job I always felt that the effect which is possible was very limited and hence I felt strangulated. Having been an entrepreneur for three years I am extremely satiated by the fact that the entity which I was instrumental in creating brought a positive change in the lives of the people and I guess that satisfaction is the reason why many venture into entrepreneurship.”


His words may lead you to believe that everything just fell into place, there were however challenges that greatly tested Vamsi’s beliefs. He lays bare his struggles saying “In the beginning when we went to schools to address students to make them aware of competitive examinations and to counsel them, Principals and teachers saw us as a bunch of kids. One of the best schools of the region rejected us saying you cannot handle the kids. As none of us belonged to Patiala, parents found it very tough to trust us with their wards future. In one of the incidents two years back, we were looked at by the Principal of one of the most reputed schools as a bunch of kids wanting to address a huge gathering of their kids, claiming to change the lives of their students. We were mocked, sort of shooed away.”


“The challenge was to first get the gathering, which we eventually did, and then, to leave an impact on those young innocent souls. We spoke our heart, motivated them, showed them the bigger picture of the things to come, and made them believe in themselves. What followed was truly heartening; there were kids crying, flocking us, wanting to talk to us, some even came to take our autograph. Such honest talk and empathizing with the problems of the students and parents enabled them to place their trust in us.”


The process of growth and learning still had a few teething problems. Vamsi discovered that with each new step forward there were newer lessons to be learnt and mastered. He says “Once Lakshya grew and we had good number of students and revenues flowing in and when we tried to bring in more people and expand there were challenging situations we faced. In order to expand, we naturally went and recruited teachers from our own industry. Our experience with them were not at all good, there was a huge philosophical gap in the perceptions. We found that they were Teachers by chance not choice and that they could never appreciate those philosophies, which we dreamed of spreading, leave alone inculcating them inside the students. We then had to remove each one of them from the system and start recruitment from a fresh perspective.”


“We recruited only fresh graduated from good colleges and had a very good recruitment round designed to select only those who were passionate about teaching and were teachers were choice. Lakshya now has a team of 12 IIT graduates and other MSc`s and Doctors from good universities as teachers, who absolutely love not just teaching but mentoring students.  Lakshya has come a long way since its inception and there have been lots of learnings. What did not change a bit during the whole journey was the purpose or vision which is to make a positive change to the way teaching is delivered and learning is perceived, essentially to make 'Learning more Interesting', and in the process glamorize this profession.”


“If you build it they will come”- you may have heard the lines in a famous Hollywood movie but they apply very well to how Lakshya grew. Vamsi says “Our first money came from our own personal savings that we could pool in after 8 months (on an avg.) of being in different jobs. Our savings got us started but to ramp up our operations we looked for loans from various banks, and got disappointed. Our second round of money and the much needed encouragement came from our (of two of us) previous employer, Mr. Ranjinder Gupta, MD, Trident Group. He proved to be an angel investor providing us Rs 5 lacs (interest free) for duration of one year.” 


“Our passion and confidence in our venture proved crucial in getting us the required money. From that period Lakshya has been internally financed and there has not been any need till now to go for external financing. We are expanding to one more location this year for which our internal resources would suffice but we would look at some VC funding after that when we look at expansion to multiple locations.” 


“Lakshya currently operates through three verticals  1. One and two year IIT-JEE, AIEEE and medical training: Regular classroom instruction and Test series and distance correspondence education. We have till date catered to 2,400 students in this segment. 2. iClass: Where we go on a contract with a school to train its own students. In our very first year we have 110 students; currently we have 240 students enrolled with us. 3. Junior Wing: Started this year we have regular classroom teaching for IX and X class. We had tremendous response in this and currently cater to 120 students. We wish to scale this section up next year.  We strongly market our results in the surrounding regions through conventional ways.”


“We believe the best way of publicity is through interaction and hence are aggressively involved in seminars in schools and otherwise. We believe in keeping good diplomatic relations with the school principals and enable an interaction process between schools and institutes, which are traditionally seen as rivals.”   

 


Lakshya has proved that its approach is the best possible and Vamsi is proud to share some facts with Yourstory he says “Results: This year Lakshya has produced 161 selections in IIT-JEE and 267 in AIEEE. We also had 2 AIIMS selections this year. All this in just three years of establishment. Last year Lakshya has been able to deliver 33 selections in IIT-JEE and 115 in AIEEE. This was from our first two year classroom batch and this number is the Highest number of selections from any institute in the whole of Punjab. This has proven the effectiveness of our Pedagogy and has helped establish our brand in the region.”


“Our first two-year batch gave their competitive examinations in 2008. Before that from a small city of Patiala only a handful of students used to get selected in IIT`s and other good colleges (2-3 at max). Our batch had 33 selections in IIT and 115 in AIEEE. This was a record not just for the city but also for the entire state. No other city of Punjab had these many selections. It was really a proud moment to see the systems and the pedagogy we devised was capable of delivering results and that too from our first batch.”


“Lakshya has been awarded the Hottest Startup of the year 2009 in the Tata NEN Hottest Startup contest which took place in 08-09. Apart from this, Lakshya has been featured in articles of major Indian newspapers like Economic Times, HT Mint, Indian Express and also in national and international blogs.” 


Vamsi has found that his ideas have taken root and grown with time. He assesses his beliefs and singles out those that have made Lakshya possible he says “Lakshya was started with an aim to bring about a positive change in the way learning is perceived and teaching delivered. Everyday we strive to come out with better ways towards that end. Be it our innovative module or our student mentoring session, be it our focus of stress control and EQ or taking students out for retreat, we strive to make 'Learning Interesting' which is Lakshya`s Tagline.”


“Lakshya is a Hindi word which means aim. For us our 'Lakshya' is to bring about this change in the education system. Lakshya faculty constantly motivates and inspires students with their own experiences and inculcates values into them. All our students, whether selected in IIT or even who couldn’t qualify, are definitely better individuals in terms of the attitudes they reflect. We try to inculcate in them the habit to learn, relearn, and continue this process for life. This we feel should be the aim of any education system and this is exactly what we want to enable by scaling up - "Create a whole generation of thought leaders".  Unfortunately, in our country not the best of the society is attracted towards teaching as a career.”


“If the teachers are not the best then how will the new generations shape up? Through system based approach using technology and partnership model we wish to bring an organized approach to this sector and also to make teaching more sought after and glamorous in the country. This is one of our long-term aims, which we want to enable through Lakshya.”


“It is this passion to make this dream a reality which motivates not just me but the entire team at Lakshya to push the envelope.” 


Vamsi and Lakshya are on their way to becoming the rule and not the exception when it comes to education. Yourstory doffs their collective hats to the vision and Entrepreneurial strength of Vamsi. We wish him success with achieving his “Lakshya”.


Vamsi bid us farewell for the moment saying “In the end all I wish to say is entrepreneurship is one of the most beautiful things a person has a chance to experience. Congratulations to all you entrepreneurs for having chosen to take the road. Remember always that success is not in the growth, it is not the scale the organization achieves, it is not even in the change the idea accomplishes. That all is important but more important than these for you is the journey you will be undertaking for the journey exemplifies success. Feel proud about that aspect. Bon Voyage and All the Best :-)”

Clap Icon0 Shares
  • +0
    Clap Icon
Share on
close
Clap Icon0 Shares
  • +0
    Clap Icon
Share on
close
Share on
close