“You can have all the money, the best of infrastructure or the perfect business strategies but if you don’t have the people who believe in your dream …None of it comes to life.” elucidates Pooja.
Pooja Shah is the Managing Director of MIDAS School of Entrepreneurship. It was with her tenacity and enthusiasm that she achieved such an ambitious administrative position whilst still being young. She is armed with a Masters in Entrepreneurship from the University of Nottingham and is a torchbearer of Entrepreneurial Education.
At MIDAS, Pooja is working towards creating and honing budding entrepreneurs to achieve their dreams and take their business ideas to newer heights. Besides Experiential learning constitutes the cornerstone at MIDAS and you also get the opportunity to learn directly from entrepreneurs. Thus, quite aptly, it has ‘Midas touch’!
Read further to know more about some business tips, the key lessons about business and Pooja’s vision in this illuminating conversation with Storiyaan.
Pooja Shah: Making The Next-Gen Entrepreneurs
Questions and answers
What led you to strike an entrepreneurial streak and how did you first discover it?
I started tagging along with my father to his office when I was 13 years old. Then I started working in a photo-finishing lab and that’s when I realized I had a business streak in me. This made me start from scratch, understand the nuances of the business and I have not looked back ever since.
As a managing director, could you share the purpose served by MIDAS in creating entrepreneurs?
My father Prof. Parag Shah started this institute in 2013 with a vision to create 10,000 entrepreneurs who will give back to society. I found my purpose and calling in the dream called Midas. As entrepreneurs, our students will employ people and thereby indirectly take care of their families. Hence, we wish to create entrepreneurs who are not only business-ready but also ready for life.
Can you tell us a bit about your human resource and what are some of the skills that you look for in your employees?
I have learnt over the years that skills can be taught to people but what is important is attitude. The second most important thing is the culture in any organization. Having a team of people who believe in your dream and want to be a part of it will always bring the best results for your organization.
What were some of the roadblocks you had to face in your initial days and how difficult was it to manage those?
Being a young woman it is difficult to navigate through a male-dominated industry. You are not taken seriously at your job. As a result, I worked extra hard, pushed myself to be better than the rest. It was only when I could prove my mettle and leadership ability that I got offered the position of Managing Director.
What is the application process and ways one can get in touch in this masterclass 'Transcend' and learn under your guidance?
Transcend is a module that is taught at MIDAS for young aspiring entrepreneurs. To be a part of Transcend you need to join the 11 months full time program offered at Midas. I take personalized individual classes and guide you to be self-aware and learn your skills accordingly. Thus, Transcend helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses to help you take action and be the best version of you.
Since you have completed your masters in Entrepreneurship from Nottingham University, tell us some of the experiences you dealt with that are your greatest lessons.
Studying abroad gave me exposure and a learning of a lifetime. My biggest learning was meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds from all over the world which was a learning I would not receive otherwise. In addition, the learning methodology and different courses taught me to think out of the box. This is something I employ in MIDAS that is to think different, creative and innovative.
How has the pandemic affected this journey of yours?
The pandemic will have a lasting impression on the education sector. My lesson was that we will have to be adaptive and agile. This time has taught us that life is full of unexpected turns but all you got to do is accept it and move forward with resilience and positivity.
Moreover, I will also recommend the students not to be stagnant – Move forward, talk to your mentors and turn the disadvantages into benefits.
You are a torchbearer of education in Entrepreneurship. What is the most satisfactory part of your job and why?
The most satisfactory part of being a torchbearer of education is impacting students. They are the next generation of entrepreneurs and influencing even one of them is a success. I will never forget the students who came in scared and doubtful but at the end of the year are confident to pitch and present their business idea to an esteemed panel of Jury members. Helping students to be ready for life and not just their first business is what is most satisfactory.
It's been 5 years working in MIDAS. What are the major changes you can locate since the time you have started working here to date?
I think personally the biggest change is that I have become a mentor and a coach along with being the Managing director. At MIDAS the core and our vision are still the same. Over the years we have grown as an institute and adopted the best possible teaching methods to bring out the best in our aspiring entrepreneurs.
As a woman entrepreneur, believing in empowerment, what would be your special message to the women on the importance of being independent?
I think the most important thing I would tell to any woman who wants to work as an entrepreneur is ‘take yourself more seriously and stop letting people walk over you.’ Financial independence is the most important because only then will people take you seriously. Do what you have to do and be fearless. Self-belief can change the course of your life.
1. Your mantra in life – Do what you are passionate about and give your 100%
2. The person you look up to the most – My Father
3. The book that inspires you – Antar Prerna: An Entrepreneur’s Journey by Parag Shah
4. Empowerment to you is – Freedom
5. Describe yourself in a word – An empathy queen