Prof. Vinay Nangia
Mentor, Guide for Education Business
& Start Ups, IIT Roorkee
Q1. Please share your inspirational journey with us?
Journey of my life has been a journey of experiments and adventures. In my University days I wanted to become a Banker, a Marketing Executive, a CEO, a Consultant, a Dr. (with PhD) and a Professor everything. With the grace of God I became all of these. It has been a journey of taking risks with good luck. I started as a Banker in Mumbai in 1974. From 1975 to 1980 saw the interiors of Uttar Pradesh to see agricultural and rural lending by being Branch Manager in three districts of Uttar Pradesh. 1981-84 I was a Trainer in Bank’s Training Centre at New Delhi. From 1985 life suddenly zoomed as an Investment Banker. Managed number of IPOs and FPOs of private and public sector companies including HUDCO (Rs.50 Cr.) and PFC (Rs.200 Cr.). Working in Capital and Money market was hilarious.
In 1985 developed Jaipur for the first time as a city for Capital Market. 1989-90 I was heading Trade Finance division of a bank at Singapore. 1991-92 I was Group Chief Executive for a large business house owning two oil mills and was the largest importer of electronics and food items in Nigeria. During 1991-92 I set up a textile mill at Lagos, Nigeria. In 1993 returned to India as Senior Vice President in ESSAR group at Mumbai. In 1994 as CEO and MD I set up a Finance & Investment Company with foreign funds at Mumbai. From 1991 to 1995 it was a roller coaster journey with high stakes and high rewards. And THEN I GOT BORED.
Q2. What attracted you towards teaching instead of any corporate job?
It was an accident. Having been offered Professorship in 1998 directly I was not too keen to join at that point of time. Twice, I was invited with family to stay in the campus when I was given the offer but I had not given my consent to join. Finally I accepted this position treating it as a Project Management assignment of setting up a new department rather than an academic career. In due course of time I loved my job so much that I would like to be a teacher in my next life as well. Freedom of thought and action is what I like in this job.
Q3. What kind of hurdles did you face in your journey?
Every time your position, location and employer changes you face new sets of challenges. Having worked in deep interiors of UP to Mumbai, Delhi, Lagos and Singapore every time the type of challenges differed. In UP villages security and accessibility were the main issues whereas in Nigeria it was cultural issues and healthcare facilities. In academic administration dealing with intellectuals is a different ball game.
Q4. You have more than 46 years of experience in Business, Industry, Banking and Education in many countries. How do you find the new world of startups?
It is an evolving world. Having seen times as a student when Calculator was not invented to R, Python, AI, ML, AR and VR etc., having seen the change from British influence to American influence in India, having seen green revolution and white revolution, a lot of water has flown in the Ganges. My personal take is that Start-ups are going to be the New Normal and innovation is going to be the driving force for the next few decades especially in view of Post Covid developments. Mega sizes companies and Start-ups shall rule the roost. MSME shall continue to remain a left out sector.
Q5. How do you motivate students to excel in their academics and career?
If you have done it people believe you. They learn by example. Everyone wants to learn and excel. My biggest contribution to my students has always been the TIME I gave to them I am always accessible to my students 24*7.
Q6. You were one of the first professors who started Business School in your organization. What kind of problems had you faced in that endeavor and how did you remove it?
When you start a new department in a University you have all kinds of challenges including admissions, course curriculum, regulatory approvals, setting up labs and library, hostel, recruitment of faculty and non-teaching staff to name a few. More than administrative and regulatory, mindset related issues are most challenging in an academic environment. I was lucky to have got full support, guidance and help at every step.
Q7. Which one thing do you want to change in yourself and why?
I want to be humble. Having come from corporate background I still feel the need to be more humble.
Q8. You are playing a key role in Entrepreneurship and Venture Development. Please share some tips to get success in Entrepreneurship and Startup?
Passion, planning and perseverance are necessary pre requisites to be a successful entrepreneur. I wish to add that being in the company of good people; be that of co-founders, management team or of mentors is critical.
Q9. What is the meaning of success in your terms?
For me Success means to be of Value to others.
Q10. What has been unique in your life?
I took a mid-life retirement at the age of 44 years after a successful corporate career. Those three years I enjoyed most by doing things I always wanted to do. I updated and upgraded my skills and knowledge. That was very useful for changing course of life later.
Q11. What did you like most in this 46 years professional journey?
My journey continues…. Till now what I liked most was being on the UPSC panel for Civil Services as Advisor and taking interviews for IAS and other services for a very long time from 2003 to 2016.