Maya Shahani – Mentoring leaders of tomorrow
Maya Shahani
Maya Sahani

Teaching demands a foundation of a long-term relationship between a teacher and student, focused on growth and development. A teacher also becomes a mentor with an endless source of support and wisdom, not just someone who imparts knowledge.

A good mentor helps students inculcate value-based learning, which brings out the best leadership skills, shaping their personalities ready for the future.

One such mentor, Maya Shahani, the Chairperson of the Shahani Group, who is also the Chairperson of the Thadomal Shahani Centre for Management, offers incredibly valuable developmental support. From the beginning, Ms. Shahani’s vision has been to build strong ethical and heart-centric business leaders. Along with her work in education, she has been deeply involved in charity work, which has been recognized on an international level. Let’s go through Ms. Shahani’s journey as a mentor and a Chairperson of Shahani Group.

The Pedagogic Causeway

Maya believes her journey of life was defined since the moment of her birth, as she was born in the year when World War II ended and the United Nations came into existence. Her delighted parents would often say that she is responsible for this peace. This thought stayed in her mind, and that is when she felt that the only way to transform the world was through the right education.

Maya finds herself lucky enough to have married into a family of philanthropists. The family ran the Thadomal Shahani Trust with the prime objective of promoting quality education. Her father-in-law, Mr. KT Shahani, was an active member of the HSNC Board, which runs 27 educational institutes. Looking at Maya’s interest in the field of education, the founding fathers of the Board inducted her as the first woman member of the Board.

When her son, Dr. Akhil Shahani, an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management decided to start their educational institute under the umbrella of Shahani Group and Thadomal Shahani brand, luck smiled at her once again. She derives immense joy and satisfaction by running her institutes as she is living the dream of transforming the world through holistic, international quality education.

Spiritualistic Approach

When Maya was a child, the importance of education was engrained in her mind by her mother who believed that education was the greatest wealth one could leave for their children. Maya grew up as a refugee from Pakistan during the Partition of India. Despite the entire family enduring hardships, her mother made sure that the kids received the best possible education.

When Maya was young, her parents and teachers were her greatest role models. But as she grew older, she realized that we are all fallible as human beings and that she was chasing shadows. Then started a journey within herself. Maya states, “I would say that subconsciously we all have a role model, and that is our own Divine Self. Once we reach that state of self-realization, we achieve Nirvana, after which there is no need for an external role model.” This is what she wishes to pass on to her students. She believes that her life goal will be achieved only when every child she mentors becomes a sage child which is why she has named the CSR arm of the Shahani Group as the SAGE Foundation.

The Visionary sight

The Thadomal Shahani Centre for Management aims to create student leaders who will contribute to changing the world, with the power to influence minds as well as hearts. The institute develops their skills to enable them to understand and empathize with the rapidly changing environment and mould them to become conscientious leaders. It believes in experiential learning and encourages the students to discover their unique strengths, which helps them develop social and cognitive skills that enhance their capabilities.

The institute’s mission is aligned with the fast-paced shifts in the global economy, society, and environment, which requires a new cadre of empathetic leaders who can be guided to benefit humanity.

The institute’s core values are based on a holistic approach to education as it believes all elements, including physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial well-being, are pivotal. Ethics is the basis of all its teaching, and its credo is ‘Ethical Excellence.’

Under the leadership of Maya and Akhil Shahani, the institute’s course objective is to empower students by bringing high-quality education from reputed International Universities/ Institutes to India so that Indian students would not need to go abroad to pursue higher education. This will, thus, make India an attractive education hub, which will, in turn, result in the availability of high-quality and equitable education for all, which will further solve the problem of employability. 

Embracing Innovative Approach

According to Shahani, Interactive E-learning is revolutionizing the educational sphere as audio-visuals are more engaging and have higher retention than written content. Asynchronous learning with interactive videos and the capability to stop, rewind, and skip sections makes learning easier. Students spend less time learning the information they already have, and it also provides faculty access to valuable analytics.

At Shahani Group, they had foreseen this even before the pandemic and had already started e-learning in their centres, as well as flipped classrooms. There was a free flow of learning at such sessions. 

New Problems Newer Solution

As schools and colleges have gone back to the offline mode, one of the big challenges educators are coping with is hybrid learning. It can be difficult to focus on both offline and online students at the same time. Some of the curriculums are also outdated and not aligned with industry requirements. Additionally, there is a great need to upskill teachers because everything is much more advanced now, and students have access to a great deal of information on the internet. Teachers need to be aware of the new information and skills in digital tools to earn the respect of students.

Sharpening the Educational Tool

Thadomal Shahani Centre for Management works with SAGE Foundation, the CSR arm of the Shahani Group, to help under-resourced students obtain globally recognized, industry-based management training side by side with the elite students. They also assist them in obtaining scholarships and bank loans.

In 2019, SAGE Foundation received a grant from JP Morgan for INR 76 lakh to train economically disadvantaged graduates for banking jobs, for which Thadomal Shahani Centre of Management provided the training. The success of this initiative led JP Morgan to fund an additional INR 17 crores, to train 4,800 students for the BFSI sector. The institute is actively reaching out to NGOs to provide students from the economically weaker sections who can take advantage of this offer. 

Several Awards received by Shahani

  • The Global Economic Summit Award for Women Empowerment
  • Women Achievers Award
  • Certificate of Appreciation by President Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global initiative
  • Social Entrepreneurship Award at the hands of the then Deputy Prime Minister Shri L.K. Advani
  • Jewel of India Award for Outstanding Achievements by the International Institute of Education and Management
  • The Jamnalal Bajaj Award for Fair Business Practices and many more awards.

A note to remember

Education is the noblest of all professions, as you get the wonderful opportunity to transform lives and develop bright young minds, to make the students of today into the leaders of tomorrow. The founding father, Thadomal Shahani, rightly said, “Education is the best way of giving back to society.”

Roadmap ahead

Ed Tech will take centre stage, and the Shahani Group will continue to develop transformational methods to provide quality and equitable education for one and all. To achieve this, the institute will be collaborating with more foreign universities so that students can access international education in India at minimal cost without having to travel abroad. The Group plans to go pan-India and spread out in the Asia Pacific region.

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