'When even just one person trusts and supports your dream then there is no stopping you'

Though passionate about the education sector, Shailaja Adhikary, who is Managing Director of IEC Group of Companies, initially chose to be involved in the banking field as both her parents were bankers. “I was a bit influenced by my parents and started working at Standard Chartered Bank Nepal at a pretty young age but my heart was not there, to be honest,” she says

Working in a reputed bank at a young age is what many people desire but Adhikary mentions she did not enjoy her work. “I desperately wanted to start my own business related to the education sector but was scared to inform my parents about my interest,” she shares. It was after a lot of pondering she mustered the courage to tell her parents of her yearning. Adhikary adds that when she spoke to her parents about her wish they were taken aback and her mother was not happy at all about her choice. “However, my father was very supportive and believed in me and when even just one person trusts and supports your dream then there is no stopping you,” she states.

Prior to initiating her venture, Adhikary took a diploma course in fashion designing in India and established a fashion and design school which also offered a computer science course at the age of 21. She is also the founder of Euro Kids in Nepal. With over 25 years of experience in the education sector now, she spoke to Business 360 about the five things that have changed her personally and professionally.

Give your absolute best

The best decision was to let go of the banking sector. There was a lot of commotion in my family when I decided to take that step because there is a general belief among everyone that the banking sector offers a bright future and here I was quitting one of the most secure jobs in the country. Starting my own business and diving into the education sector was a big risk and a challenge but I am happy I made that decision. In fact, you could term it the best decision I have ever made.

Whenever you start something on your own there are many aspects that you have to be aware of and a lot of responsibilities fall on your shoulders but it helped me mature professionally. It also gave me the confidence to venture and achieve more. Hence, I strongly think that you have to have interest in what you’re doing to give the absolute best and that is a life philosophy I follow.

My parents, my inspiration

My parents are my biggest inspiration. Both my parents were working professionals and did their best to provide us with all the facilities when I was a child. In fact, my grandmother used to often tell me that I needed to be look up to my mother – a hardworking person. When one puts their soul into what they are doing they will be able to achieve what they set out to do and I have followed it religiously.

Money management is key

While growing up we used to have a lot of conversations with my father about money management. He taught me all the intricacies of managing money. When running a business, one does have to hire people and the business might make a profit or face a loss. But when you do make a profit you have to realise that the money you earned is not only yours but also of the people working in the company and the company itself. Even if you’re the founder or the CEO, you need to set a salary for yourself because it’s about growing and expanding and that needs investment. So, money management and reinvestment of the profits will help to achieve the goals is the best advice that I follow till date.

Crisis an opportunity

Any person running a business will face difficulties along the way. For example, the earthquake in 2015 and the Covid pandemic were the biggest crises for us Nepalis. In fact, the pandemic was a crisis faced by people across the globe. However, every crisis brings along an opportunity. Hence, whenever there is any difficulty you need to take a step back, analyse the situation and make plans that will help you overcome those hurdles in the coming days because like I mentioned earlier there will always be difficulties in life whether it be personal or professional. It is about how you deal with the situation with a clear and positive mindset and of course, you need to also learn from those crises.

Being successful in life is important. However, for me, it is not about the materialistic things only but the achievements that my students have made. This gives me a true sense of happiness and satisfaction. Their happiness and achievements in life are reciprocal to my success.

Women are more sensible of the people around them

According to some studies, when a man is handling a company then its failure rate is 50% but this drops down to 30% when the company is being run by a woman. I feel as a leader women tend to look at all aspects of the organisation. Women, I believe, do business from the heart and head and are more sensible of the people around us. Women also have the capacity to treat everyone as equal. There is no gender discrimination in terms of salary or any other facilities. We tend to think in a deeper manner and care for everyone which is a unique quality that women possess whether it be in personal or professional life.


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