A young man from a small town in Odisha was so conscious of his Odiya accent that he put on a strong Western tone whenever he spoke English. Job interviews triggered great fears and anxieties. It is common to (wrongly) equate good communication skills with fluency in English. Understandably, those who are not very confident in their eloquence often have problems in the professional environment.
“We didn’t tell him what he was doing wrong. Instead, we told him what was going right. We pointed out that his sentence structure was good and he could articulate even when his speech was a bit off. We showed him examples of world leaders who have accents and introduced him to his own,” says Rakesh Godhwani, Founder and CEO of the School of Meaningful Experiences (SoME), an education startup based in Bengaluru.
It was only a matter of time before the young man overcame his fear of job interviews. “Soon he got his MBA from a prestigious university and a great job offer!” says Godhwani, an entrepreneur driven by a deep desire to transform education in India based on his unique “Six C” model.
At SoME, the “Six Cs” philosophy empowers learners with key competencies – namely communication, confidence, collaboration, curiosity, competence and creativity. Godhwani calls them the backbone of entrepreneurial skills. “Good communicators are not always born with innate skills. However, if you’re willing to put in the time and energy, you can hone those skills beautifully,” he says.
If educational institutions are just training students to find a job and earn a stable income, Godhwani says the only goal for most students is to ensure they are not fired. “Although they can be competent professionals, they rarely have the drive to be successful. In this sense, entrepreneurship education can inspire students to be more – to think creatively, to innovate, to dream bigger. It can help to close the gaps in our traditional education system,” emphasizes the educator, who also teaches as an adjunct faculty at IIM Bangalore, IIM Udaipur and Ahmedabad University.
Without losing the courage and will to succeed, dealing with failure is a crucial aspect of success and entrepreneurship. At SoME, courses are designed to empower learners to adopt critical thinking and a growth-oriented mindset, identify innovative ways to find solutions, make an impact through value creation, and fearlessly strive for excellence.
Godhwani finds India’s obsession with unicorns quite alarming given current trends. “Students who lack certain skills or clear ambitions aspire to be entrepreneurs because they want to be the founder of a unicorn! It sets a false precedent for the younger generation,” he says.
While entrepreneurship education can help fill certain gaps in our education system, it would be a mistake to view it as the ultimate solution to all problems. “We have to use the insights from sports, music, dance, environmental studies and interdisciplinary modules to educate the students holistically,” emphasizes Godhwani.
When he started SoME in 2018, Godhwani was sure that the courses could not follow a template model. He has made a conscious choice to offer different programs geared towards different age groups and addressing specific learner challenges.
“Every learner has a unique personality and at SoME we offer personalized training that supports their holistic growth – personal, professional, mental and emotional,” says the IIM Bangalore alumnus. “We don’t criticize our learners, we believe in constructive feedback. We empower them to identify and improve their core strengths. Every learner is encouraged not only to play to their strengths, but also to understand and work on their weaknesses and learn new skills,” he explains.
Incidentally, faculty members are not called teachers. They are ‘guides’ that inspire learners to be a better version of themselves by enabling them to hone their human skills and thereby become more robust and competent professionals. They ensure that learning is fun and that learners participate in the process on an equal footing.
When one of SoME’s trainees – who was seeking a promotion – recently asked for one-on-one coaching to help him present himself confidently to company management, the ‘Guide’ was at his service. “With the right guidance, training and commitment, they landed the top job they wanted,” says the communications expert.
“Our courses also include industry-specific case studies and thought-provoking materials that encourage our learners to think critically and become confident problem-solvers,” says the entrepreneur, who believes that personal development is a lifelong process.
Disclaimer: This is a company release. No HT journalist is involved in the creation of this content.