Please introduce yourself.
My name is Nikhil Barshikar and I am the Managing Director and Founder of Imarticus learning. I am originally from Pune but spent around 8 years in the US – four years of university at Rutgers, after which I I began my career in the Corporate Finance division of the erstwhile Lehman Brothers at New York, following which I moved to Mumbai as the Head of Equity and Prime Operations to set up Lehman’s India operations. Once I became the Executive Director and Head of Nomura’s Offshore Strategy for Asia and managed and facilitated the transition of over 500 roles in one year, I established operational support for the local domestic FII business and the local asset management venture.
When and how did you think about Imarticus learning?
After spending fifteen years of my career across a smorgasbord of roles within Investment Banking across India and the US, I realized I was ready, both from a perspective of mindset as well as seniority to start something of my own in 2012. Working at Lehman and then at Nomura, I always noticed a massive issue with regard to hiring skilled manpower. Most hires were untrained and had no idea of what Investment Banking, let alone Middle office was about.
The other thing I noticed was that the induction training at most Indian firms was non-existent. Companies just didn’t have the wherewithal to train their brand new employees. This meant that enormous man-hours were wasted on ineffective on the job training that sometimes never even happens. I realized that there was a massive gap between what was taught in Business Schools and what was required by Financial services and decided that I would begin a company that would fill the gap and provide industry endorsed professional education that would be relevant to employers.
Introduce your Co-Founder/Founders and Team.
It has been a team effort through and through. Imarticus Learning would not have been possible without my co-founder, Sonya Hooja, and the rest of my team including Jasjeet Kaur, Suresh Rao, Harish Thakkar and Amit Ratanpal who have been with the firm since day one. Three years on, we are still the same team that began and that reflects our commitment to the vision we set out on day one.
Explain more about Imarticus Learning?
We began Imarticus Learning as a bridge between the academic Institutions and big corporate companies and offer students an opportunity to study programs not taught anywhere else in the country, from actual people who do them for a living and then get access to jobs and careers they never thought possible before.
In the last three and a half years we have grown and we now offer a comprehensive range of training, Placement and Corporate solutions designed to assist individuals and corporate in meeting its skill-set requirements. We are headquartered in Mumbai, but we have delivery capabilities pan India with dedicated centers at Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, and satellite centers at Pune and Jaipur.
Our Training and content delivery capabilities run across the entire gamut of Investment Banking, Finance & Treasury, Capital Markets Operations, Business Analytics, Technology and Consulting. In the space of three short years, we have become the preferred sourcing and corporate training delivery partner for leading Global Banks, Consulting, KPO, Technology and Analytics firms. But more than that we offer a range of customized delivery methods such as instructor led training, e-learning, workshops and seminars for optimal training effectiveness.
What makes you special and how is it different from others?
One of our most unique features is the concept of Mentorship where we have continuous individual counseling sessions with senior professionals from the industry. The other is our unique take on Online Learning where we want to seamlessly transition from the classroom to the virtual environment so that the student still receives the benefits of classroom interaction and peer networking while gaining the advantages of learning 24/7 anytime any place. We achieve this via our live instructor led webinars and our state of the art Learning Management System.
Our faculty and learning methodology is another key strength. All our teaching staff are working professionals. While they say, those who teach don’t do, at Imarticus Learning those who ‘do’ are those who teach. All our staff are specialists in their field who have years of domain expertise, ensuring that learning is both innovative and industry relevant. Having had successful careers themselves, they appreciate what it takes to succeed in a competitive environment and encourage and mentor student aspirations.
The faculty includes industry professionals from firms such as JP Morgan, Nomura, Avendus Capital, Goldman Sachs, Citibank and Barclays. With combined experience of over 150 years in the Global Banking, Financial Services, Business Analysis and the Analytics industry, the faculty is perfectly positioned to impart the best in-class training through innovative teaching methods.
What challenges did you face while setting up your company?
When you move from a big corporate to a start up, infrastructure and bureaucracy pose your biggest challenges. Even applying for something as simple as a landline is a pain point. The other challenge is execution. Your idea is worth nothing if you don’t have the wherewithal to execute it. So my advice to readers would be to prepare an execution plan that will set the ball rolling. Do not procrastinate or it will never happen.
What’s the current path and future plans?
I envision Imarticus to be a global leader in professional Finance & Analytics education blending both classroom and online platforms to deliver professional industry endorsed programs that can be scaled to meet the needs of both professionals and corporates beyond Indian metros and highly customized training and staffing solutions to leading Indian and Global Corporations. Our immediate plans are two-fold. One would be to set up another domestic center in Hyderabad, as well an international center in Dubai.
The second one would be to expand aggressively in the online and blended learning space. We have already launched 5 online programs in the space of three months, all of which have seen incredible traction. We are very excited about instructor led online programs. We are focusing on seamless transition from the classroom to the virtual environment using state of the art technology.