Home35Under35 2024A Peak Into Ayush Kumar’s Journey: The Intersection of Education and Entrepreneurship

A Peak Into Ayush Kumar’s Journey: The Intersection of Education and Entrepreneurship

image: Ayush Kumar
Image: Ayush Kumar

An educationist, author and public speaker, Ayush Kumar is set to reshape business education with a decade-long tenure at the New Delhi Institute of Management. A graduate of XLRI Jamshedpur, Kumar has influenced thousands of management students across prestigious institutions such as SRCC, IMT Ghaziabad, and XLRI Jamshedpur. His bestselling mythological fiction work, ‘Hastinapur Crumbling,’ is making waves in publishing and distribution in India while introducing the Mahabharata to a wider audience.

True Calling

In a candid conversation with the Entrepreneurs Today team, Ayush talks about things that inspired him in his journey.

“Education runs in my blood, deriving inspiration first from my grandfather, a lifelong public servant, and an entrepreneur, who laid down the foundations of quality management education in New Delhi with a view to democratizing learning.” 

Ayush also draws inspiration from his experiences in education, hyper-growth startups, and management consulting.

Having been an integral part of the New Delhi Institute of Management (NDIM) team for over a decade while concurrently nurturing a corporate career, he has developed a multifaceted perspective on strategy and operations. He shares,

“My own worldview is therefore shaped not only by the reality I see today, but by the exciting future. Bringing all of these experiences onto one common platform at NDIM has been my goal since I started, and I’m glad to see us making progress on that front.”

Interviewer: What do you believe are the most crucial elements for success in education and business?

Ayush: “The key to succeeding in education, as in most businesses, is the ability to peer into the future, analyzing trends that others can’t see and using that first-mover’s advantage to build a differentiator. Digital learning was an illusion before COVID-19, but at NDIM, it was a key element in introducing our students to a global world. Generative AI is still relatively unknown across education or seen as a tool for cheating; we see it as an enabler. Even in my foray into writing and publishing, the key element of my learning was that there are no sacrosanct rules. If I can be in fewer bookstores but reach the hands of more people, I can build a competitive advantage over someone more thinly spread but without the reach. A good product, with the right strategy, always wins.”

Challenges & Milestones

One pervasive challenge Ayush had to face was the tendency to settle for mediocrity rather than striving for greatness. As he says,

“Small wins are great, but there are sacrifices that must be made to become truly special.”

Looking back on his own education at XLRI Jamshedpur, Ayush believes that it takes one to give it their all to achieve something beyond what people can envision. For him, it’s persistence that matters most. He notes,

“Even in education, too often teachers and students accept things ‘the way they’ve always been done’. The sooner we embrace change, the faster we can grow.”

For Kumar, encountering NDIM alumni thriving in various fields at events or in the corporate world signifies a significant achievement. He holds the belief,

“Money has an instrumentality towards the larger goal, but it must not be the single most north star, because people’s futures depend on your decision-making.”

Plans Ahead

Ayush envisions an expansive future for education in India, recognizing the increasing demand for quality education across all regions. He asserts,

“It would be a dereliction of duty if we restricted ourselves geographically, especially with the digital tools available to every institution.”

However, Kumar underscores that the primary goal should always be the positive impact on individuals’ lives, rather than pursuing growth for the sake of financial gains.

Moving forward, Kumar intends to focus on identifying untapped opportunities in the education sector, navigating a path that balances digital innovation with physical presence.

Interviewer: How do you envision bridging the gap between digital and physical educational platforms to capitalize on the evolving landscape of education?

Ayush: “The key growth strategy therefore is to identify white spaces in growth in education – something between a purely digital presence (as already tried by various companies), and a physical presence. I’m a firm believer that scale must be a consequence of your actions, not necessarily your fundamental guiding principle. Education will see a vast change in the next ten years—not only in India but across the world. India does have a unique opportunity to be at the forefront. I hope to be part of that movement.”

Key Takeaways

Ayush recalls some of the great lessons he learned along his journey. He says,

“If you see greatness on the horizon, if you think you can truly make a change in the world, persist. Don’t accept ‘good’. Run towards great.”

Lastly, for Ayush, entrepreneurship must make one give back to society and the world at large. Ayush signs off by reminding everyone to

“Stick through the tough times, but hold on to your vision, until the universe either bends itself to you or tells you what to change. If you’re Icarus, don’t be afraid of flying close to the sun. Solve the engineering problem of waxy wings.”

Snigdha Basu
Snigdha Basu
A multifaceted writer, Snigdha Basu is a freelancer and a columnist at Entrepreneurs Today. She also spearheads Chic Life Edition - her own Digital Magazine with sustainable fashion, beauty, and culture at its core. Reach out to Snigdha at [email protected] for inquiries.
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