Fulfilling the ‘Government Job’ Dream that Thousands of Indians Harbour
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Anil Nagar was born in a farmer family in a village called Amarpur in Uttar Pradesh, India. His parents were illiterate but always wanted Anil to get a good education and so didn’t stop him when he wanted to go to Delhi to prepare for the all-important IIT JEE (exam which is the gateway to IITs in India). They somehow managed to stitch Rs. 20,000 for the course and Anil packed his bags and headed for the capital of the nation to fulfill his dream.
And as they, luck favours the brave, things went well for him and his grit took him to IIT-BHU from where he graduated as an electronics engineer and entered the corporate life where all the riches awaited him.
A twist in the tale
One might think that this story was heading for ‘and he lived happily ever after’ (which it did) but not as one would expect. Anil’s life crossed roads with lives of two other men, Nikhil Agarwal and Saurabh Bansal. Nikhil was an IIM Lukhnow graduate while Saurabh passed out from MFC, Delhi and the two of them along with Anil started brewing up an idea they had. “We wanted to do something in education. The itch was too strong. CAT and IIT-JEE preparation scene was ‘done to death’, there were too many players so we thought of something else,” says Anil.
And this something else turned out to be coaching for bank jobs. The trio researched and found that there were thousands of people in India who craved for government jobs. “Government jobs are perceived to be easy going and relaxed jobs in India. Many crave for them, and we recognized these segments,” mentions Nikhil. For instance, there is a huge segment of housewives looking for 10-4 jobs and also the youth that feels trapped in the mire of BPOs. This is how in 2010, Bank Power was born.
Starting up with an initial investment or Rs. 2 lakh, the initial says weren't easy. But when the going gets tough, the tough get going and the trio proved this. “Initially, we started out teaching ourselves,” says Anil. “We did not have a very good idea about how we should go ahead with it apart from the fact that we knew that the opportunity existed,” adds Saurabh. They didn’t have any course material to provide but they worked day and night for 6 months to teach alongside with content creation. “We managed to come up with the study material within 6 months from where we were able to standardize the course,” says Anil. It also wasn't the case that they didn't have competition. There are other players offering similar services and they had to jostle for visibility. Also, the fact that all three of them are first time entrepreneurs, they've learnt stuff the hard way.
BankPower maintains a batch size of 60 on an average and has trained more than 10,000 till date. "In the first year, we trained 700 students at one centre and have been growing very fast since then," informs Anil. (see accompanying diagram for growth figures)
Even the growth has had its own share of struggles. “Things were going smooth when suddenly, all the banks decided to have a centralized exam, changing from the format wherein different banks had different exams,” says Anil. This forced Bank Power to restructure and modify the way they marketed themselves so that they could attract aspirants throughout the year and not turn into a seasonal phenomenon. “The exam is in December but students can take the course in January and keep coming back throughout the year if they’re not satisfied,” explains Anil.
- Modular Classes System: Enables a student to join a course at any point in time, regardless of the stage in which a current batch is.
- Online Testing in this industry: BankPower were the early adopters by starting online test in early 2011.
- Bankersadda.com: A dedicated portal for banking job aspirants and made is free for all. This portal generates about 30,000 pageviews daily.
- Bank Power Magazine: Their own magazine for aspirants.
- Access Card System: Gives students hi tech facilities.
The courses are priced in the range of Rs 8,000-10,000 and the course material is updated constantly.Completely bootstrapped and profitable, BankPower has a strong hold in the NCR region. Investors have also approached the trio but they're comfortable growing on their own currently.
The road ahead
BankPower has two ways to go ahead: One surely is geographically but they'll also accelerate on the product level. "Ultimately, we want to have a pan India presence but looking at short term, we'd like to consolidate our presence in NCR region. In medium term, we have identified some educations hubs like Patna, Lucknow, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Indore etc where we want to make our presence," informs Anil.
On the product side, in line with teir philosophy of providing quality education, BankPower has also launched a brand SSC Power, which is a focused brand catering to the needs to the recruitment tests of Staff Selection Commission (Central Government jobs).
An inspiring story, BankPower is an example of what strong will can achieve. We wish BankPower all the very best in the future and encourage more people to take the entrepreneurial path...