INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
Coronavirus Pandemic: A Blessing in Disguise for E-Learning Startups Globally as Narrated by Vikasa Gautam of PInterview
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Vikasa Gautam: I am fine. My family is also doing well. We are taking precautionary measures like wearing a mask, keeping social distancing, avoiding crowded places, and meeting people online via video conferencing to minimize the chances of getting coronavirus infections.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded PInterview.
Vikasa Gautam: I am a mechanical engineering graduate from NIT Jamshedpur and MBA grad from IIM Bangalore; both are top premier educational institutes of India. After completing engineering, I joined Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, a defense public sector unit which is engaged in the manufacturing of fighter planes and helicopters. I worked as an engineer in a different capacity and led many critical projects in collaboration with other global players like Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Turbomeca etc.. For higher education, I joined IIM Bangalore and did my MBA. Post-MBA, I have worked as a Corporate Banker and helped many corporate, SMEs, and business entities.
During my academics, I faced many difficulties in getting the right professional advice and connecting with Industry professionals for career mentorship. Also, lack of right information, professional skill set, and quality educational content among millions of youth population in India drove me to start PInterview with a mission to empower the next generation of youth with the best professional knowledge & skills under the guidance of industry professionals and domain experts from across the globe in order to make them succeed professionally in their chosen path of career.
How does PInterview innovate?
Vikasa Gautam: PInterview is an innovative idea from the beginning. From the start, PInterview offers its services online and connects industry professionals and domain experts with the users via video meetings and using technology & the internet to impact millions of candidates residing in rural, semi-urban, and urban localities of India. PInterview is serving a global audience 24/7 with the best content and advisory sessions.
Our success is an outcome of a strategic focus on the students’ requirements, constantly investing in various knowledge-based services, and promoting a culture of innovation with constant learning. We are engaged in continuous improvement of processes to enhance the quality of services and industry interaction in order to build value for our customers. We support the idea of overall professional skill development of students in metro as well as non-metro cities of India as well as globally. By establishing the concept of On-Demand and On-Time Services, imparting a smoother way to empower candidates with the best professional skills.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Vikasa Gautam: Coronavirus pandemic is a crisis once in a century, and it has impacted people and businesses all over the world and forced nations to go into lockdown. Although this pandemic made people to stay inside, but also encouraged people to spend more time on the internet and watch useful content and learn new skills and educate them online. This pandemic became a blessing in disguise for PInterview as it got heavy traction, and many new users signed for its services. As PInterview is an online service provider, it got exponential growth in terms of new enrollments and new mentors choosing PInterview to share their domain expertise with millions of aspirants out there. But heavy online traffic also puts a heavy load on internet infrastructure, which sometimes cannot cope up and create connectivity issues that I hope will subside soon.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Vikasa Gautam: With a growth in demand for services, the supply side also gained momentum. I have to make many difficult choices; one of them is listing of professionals on our website for professional advisory as we are interested in only the best quality and do not want to make any compromise with our quality sessions and content, so we are facing hard times in filtering top professionals for listing on PInterview. Another choice is to create content only in English or in a vernacular language, which can bring more new users and benefit non-English audiences.
The most important lesson I learnt is there is always an opportunity in every difficult adversity. One needs to analyze the circumstances and create benefits out of it.
Another lesson is always being prepared and utilize the opportunity whenever you find it. Never give up and always think about future innovations and work accordingly.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Vikasa Gautam: I am a fitness freak and do physical exercises, yoga, meditation on a regular basis, which helps me reduce stress and minimize anxiety. I also read a lot, which makes my mind happy, and I always feel motivated.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Vikasa Gautam: Although PInterview was a unique business model when it began its services, nowadays, many more new ventures have come up, which is good for this ecosystem and also for aspirants because there is a vast market with great opportunity to serve. Team PInterview is working on some new innovative features and services which will be added to our existing portfolio very soon. One of them is vernacular content, which will impact new coming internet users too.
Your final thoughts?
Vikasa Gautam: I think we should take some notes and learn some important lessons from this rare pandemic. One of them is about taking care of our environment seriously. We never stop whether people or industry which is not good for mother earth and our environment. Our unstoppable activities are creating endless pollution, which is neither good for us nor for coming future generations. Coronavirus forced everyone to stop and put them into lockdown, which ultimately helped our environment breathe properly for some time, and we have seen good results in terms of clean air and skies.
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