Educators play a major role in shaping our life and future. Any person can teach us a small lesson and we would say he or she is an educator for us. A good educator makes learning fun and valuable.
Educators are nothing less than artists, as educating is also an art form that requires creativity. It is not an easy job to impart knowledge into others in a way that the students will understand. One such influential educator that we came across is Mr. Pratish Nair.
In 2016, Mr. Pratish Nair along with his friends launched Prahlad Kakar School of Branding and Entrepreneurship with the sole aim to transform education as they knew it. The vision grew and in 2019 they partnered with NMIMS and the School of Branding and Advertising was born.
Let us learn more from Pratish about their voyage towards success and academic excellence.
Kindly brief us about you and your journey since the beginning of your career.
Looking back, I can easily say each phase of my life has shaped me into the person I am today. I am the product of the places I have travelled, the people I have met and the education I have been grateful to receive. I was born in Banaras, did my schooling in Banaras and Panchgani, then went on to graduate from Mumbai University and got my MBA in Marketing from Manchester. I then finally pursued the CIM degree from Lancashire, UK. My educational journey has been exhilarating.
While pursing my MBA in UK, I spent a brief stint working with Dolce and Gabbana in London. On my return to India I was but naturally inducted into my family business. The business was a robust 40-year logistics company, and it was my realm. But I felt like a fish without water. My father sent me to USA with the only words of wisdom “Figure things out”, which I hold true even today.
In US, I set up my first business in exports in Las Vegas and New York. I went through tremendous failure, criticism, and anguish. I worked 24/7 to barely sustain myself. The business finally took off and it self-sustained for an additional three years, post my return. If there is anything that I have learnt, it is that failure builds character and makes you the person you are always meant to be.
Being an entrepreneur at heart with a continuous itch to build something new, I then went on to start a corporate training company with my friends. It was a booming business and I put my skills to the test. We did a lot of leadership workshops with Shashi Tharoor, Saurav Ganguly, Brian Lara, Chetan Bhagat, Wasim Akram and many more including Prahlad Kakar.
We trained more than 500 multi-national companies. While being in the training industry, we did a lot of events for companies and we soon metamorphosed into an educational event management company. We organized a run in Bangalore which we christened ‘Get Fit for Kids’. It was the first family run in India, the first reverse run in India, where we had more than 8000 participants.
The energy was high, the intent was right, and exposure was correct. So, we started our own education institution to transform people’s lives. I still believe I have a long way to go in terms of breaking stereotype learning, getting the government support for educational activities and turning students dreams into a reality.
What is your source of motivation & inspiration that drove you to become an educator?
Ironically, my source of motivation has been the endless boring lectures, vis-à-vis the most entertaining lectures that I have attended as a student. It was from the boring lecturers that I learnt who not to be. This frustration inspired me to become an educator.
Looking back, I have realized that a few teachers changed my life just by giving a few words of encouragement, a little direction and perspective. It was through them that I learnt I could be a beacon of light in someone’s life. Today, very few students actually like to attend lectures.
My challenge as an educator has always been about how to make teaching an interesting trait. How can education help a student reach their true potential? I have always been clear that I did not want to educate for the sake of education.
Kindly tell us about the challenges you faced to withstand the complexities of the educational forums.
The corporate world is very different from the educational world. If there is one thing that I am grateful for, it is the management team at all the corporate companies who showed immense trust in us when we started our corporate training company. They supported our vision and out of the box workshops. It was something never done in the corporate world before. We invited celebrities and experts from various industries to shine their wisdom in the corporate world.
The take was very different in the educational world though. We created a school with ad-guru Prahlad Kakar to teach students the wisdom of advertising and branding. To bring out true creativity, we wanted students to face their fears. The idea was of pushing people out of their fear like placing them in a room full of snakes, just to make them realize that snakes are just another animal.
In the beginning, people laughed at us while others were curious, but no one was interested in investing. Slowly the perception changed as our students stood out from the rest in the corporate world. Our students are game changers, job creators and will add value to our world. We believe we have now taken education to the next level, where our students are turning the ordinary into something extra ordinary. We are trying to make a wholesome education system. Our aim is to develop a student without fear, and who are willing to explore, express and do something they wish for and subsequently add value to this planet. We believe we are a step in the right direction and have a long way to go.
Brief us about the current scenario of the educational sector.
The pandemic has been an eye-opener. It has helped us put things in perspective. It took a virus to see that our education system needs to change and be more adaptable. I feel the education industry is going through a transformative change for the better. I feel positive about this.
Now the job of our government is to reach everyone and not just the privileged in the city. I have seen students from tier-two and tier-three cities are hungrier and more passionate than the students in the urban cities. I hope that whatever we are planning should benefit everyone in the country and it should change the education system for the greater good.
As an educator, what do you think are the factors influencing a career-decision? How do you think a career decision should be made?
I would not like to call myself as an educator, even today I am a learner and will continue to learn till the last day of my life. There are several factors that influence a careerdecision but how beautiful it would be if a 10-year-old kid knows what he or she wants to become in their lives. But in true honesty, we have no idea till the age of 20-25 of what we want to do or become. Many of us just follow the bandwagon or take up a job for its monetary benefits.
Our world requires thinkers who can bring change in this world because whatever they are going to do is going to have an effect over this planet. I want that thinking to be imbibed by people and put as a gem of thought in a child, then let the child decide what they want to become when they grow up. I have seen some great artists, who at a very young age know what they want to do. It is wonderful to see their family support them to achieve their dream.
Career decision should be made by asking yourself, “What is that one thing that will not make me feel that I am doing a job? What will make me spring out of the bed and make me work till 2 am, while still having fun? What is that one thing that makes me happy?” The answers are easy but often difficult to follow. The sad part is people give up on finding their true passions.
One should have a heart-to-heart talk with themself and ask, “What makes me happy? What would I be happy doing on the last day of my life?” When you get that answer, please make it your career. It will also require 100 % of your commitment. Go ahead and do what your heart tells you – because in the future one should not have to look for a job but have to create one.
What advice you would give to the new-age educators?
Do not concentrate only on the bright students. If you want your students to bring a change in the world, make learning more interesting for them. Hire the teachers that are not just subject matter experts, but teachers who show more empathy towards them.
Hire people who can laugh and dance with them. They have been in school for 12 years of their lives. Make their life beautiful, it is our responsibility. And how you want to go about it is your call. The noblest profession is teaching and nursing, they always give and try their best to provide.