Amit Saboo is a veteran in the education industry, having worked with institutes like IMS and Career Plan, before starting Career Avenues, which coaches students for the GATE exam. “Not everyone can assimilate the same learning content at the same pace, because of which we have smaller batches and leverage technology to cater to the different needs of each student,” says Saboo.
Born in Hissar in Haryana in a business family, Saboo realised the value of extra curricular activities at a very young age. He represented his school and college in sports like table tennis, basketball, football and cricket. He believes that while academics is important, it is necessary to have an all-round appreciation of the world around us, something that he tries to inculcate in his students as well. While doing his BCom at DG Vaishnav College, Chennai, and MBA at SIES College of Managememt, Mumbai, he was an avid quizzer and debater.
Saboo began his career with Ernst & Young in the financial advisory team. He quickly realised that education was a calling, and joined Institute of Managment Studies (IMS), which was then the leader in CAT test preparation. He set up the Chennai branch of IMS and ran it for a while, before he was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. He started Career Avenues in 2002, with the support of a large number of former students, many of whom joined him as faculty. “Our differentiator was in the success ratio of our students compared to the other institutes. I would spend time with each student, working out a preparation plan, and monitoring their progress. Many students were taking the CAT for the second or third time,” he reminisces.
Although this gave him immense satisfaction, it was not a scalable model for Saboo. After a few years, he had to put the institute on the back burner, and get back to consulting on talent management and transformation. But Saboo began missing his teaching days, and soon rebooted the institute. “We offered a money-back guarantee for our courses, if students did not give a good rating, but no one has requested for it yet,” he says.
Saboo then moved on to GATE coaching because it was a less crowded space with a huge opportunity. “While most players focus on only four or five top streams, Career Avenues actually covers all 22 streams, even if some of them do not make money for us. This year, we will be offering a personal touch with regular one-to-one counselling for each student. Our technology platform allows us to provide the students with a good study experience. Plus all our study material has been developed by GATE toppers,” he elaborates.
“This year at least 15 PSUs will be recruiting engineers with an average starting salary of `7 lakh, which is twice the salary offered by leading IT companies on campuses. We had 55 students get into IITs and IISc last year, and hope to improve the results in coming years,” he adds.
Published: THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS on 03rd March 2014