For Rais Qureshi it was a home homing of sorts. Having graduated from the college in 1996 he has, armed with a degree, dreams and little else, built up an electronics empire that literally stretches from Chandni Chowk to China. And it was this story, of sheer grit, monumental failures and spectacular successes, that he shared with the students of his alma mater.
He recounted how he set off with borrowed capital of INR 50,000 to reach the pinnacle of glory as a manufacturer of mobile handsets with a dedicated factory in China that employed 500 people; how he lost everything overnight when one manufacturing defect set him back by a sum of INR 6 crores and how, having honoured all his commitments, he restarted from the scratch to have reinvented himself as one of the prime movers in the LED TV and Smart Monitors segment.
“Never, ever, give up on life or the fight” said Qureshi, carrying the audience of Commerce Plus students, who were literally hanging on to every word that was uttered. The students empathized with him when, at his candid best, Qureshi admitted his own failures that led to his debacle and cheered him, when he spoke of his resolve to win it all back when he was on the roads, giving him a standing ovation, when he explained how he had surmounted all the odds staked against him to have the same factory in China that had once turned him away, to start working for him again. “Forgive them, God, for they knew not what they were doing” he said, talking of the dealers who had once refused to stand by him when the going had gone tough for him, explaining the why and the how he has won them over to fight his war, and win.
“It doesn’t matter what you do, or even, how you do it” said Qureshi in parting, “as long as you give it your best. For, Success and failures are relative.” Confident that many of the students attending his talk will one day follow on his footsteps, he dared them to dream, but never to forget, “that it all began here, in Bhawanipur!”
Qureshi was invited to the college to address the students of Commerce Plus as a part of a seminar on Entrepreneurship Development programme that aims at fostering enterprise among the participants by exposing them to those who have already made the transition.
The Commerce Plus programme of the Bhawanipur Education Society College (BESC) is widely considered in the academic circles as one that is stretching the horizons of education, that too, in an industry friendly manner, churning out students that are employment ready. BESC terms it as its “Mission” of “shaping careers beyond expectation” and Prof Dilip Shah, the Dean of Student Affairs, the moving spirit behind the evolution of the institution justifies it saying that “continuous industry feedback tells us that tomorrow’s problems cannot be solved with yesterday’s knowledge. Commerce + seeks to respond to this paradigm shift”.
The 240 hour programme is spread over 6 months with internship assistance. “The entire programme has been structured around direct interaction between the knowledge leaders and the students” explains Prof. Vijay Kothari “and is based on the assessment of the student’s individual interests, aptitude and abilities. Going by the initial response, we are overwhelmed.”
For, the Commerce + programme, with its application of classroom training in real-life settings and the active participation in authentic, job related tasks, is already being hailed as a game-changer that is walking the talk of Industry-Academia interaction. Industry feedback is positive and campus placement drives are already being coordinated by the students, to whom, this too is a part of the learning curve.
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