Apr 15, 2015
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What does it take to be an entrepreneur? It requires a great concept, basic resources and a lot of courage. To instill this courage in the entrepreneur hidden in you, we have brought you the story of Jayanth Kolla who wholeheartedly believed only in one success mantra – Think Unconventional.
A middle-class family, both parents in government service and an engineering degree from a humble college – this is the very ordinary background to which Jayanth belongs. He was neither a topper at college nor did he secure a job through campus placements. Yet, today he is the proud founder of his dream company – Convergence Catalyst. How did he do this? Let’s find out!
Since his childhood, Jayanth was exposed to different cultures in India due to his father’s job involving frequent transfers. Little did he know that this exposure would later help him be open-minded and think beyond the conventional trends.This very mindset helped him in college by making him aware of his own strengths and weaknesses.
“Staying in the hostel, I learned management – money management, people management, etc. besides earning my bachelor’s degree”, recollects Jayanth. At an age when students are still trying to understand the world around them, Jayanth had already realized his core strength – his analytical skills.
Later on, after struggling for 2 years he was offered a job as a Network Engineer in Tata Tele Services. He was a part of a department which was not respected by his own colleagues and his work had nothing do with his core strength. But Jayanth made the most of this unpropitious situation. “I started learning a lot on Telecom networks and technology – CDMA, GSM, etc. – even though these things had nothing to do with my work. Also, I used to come to the office at 6 in the morning and used to study for CAT till 9:30 and at 9:30 I used to start my work.” His hard work paid up when he secured a seat in XLRI (Xavier School of Management) – one of the best B-Schools in India. He could have done his MBA and settled with a high paying job at an MNC, but Jayanth once again chooses the unconventional path – working in the industry for firsthand experience.In the very words of Jayanth, “There are three dimensions in everybody’s life. The best is when you can get all the three of them together. One is essentially what you are good at; second is what you enjoy doing and third is what will bring money and I was trying to model my career around these three dimensions.”It was this clarity of mind and determination that helped him take the unorthodox step of not doing an MBA. “So, I gave myself a target of 7-8 years that at the age of 32, I can become a freelance strategy consultant on my own”, Jayanth reminisces.
As years passed, he got a chance to handle both the Technology Team and Business Development Team in another company. Soon, once again Jayanth had to take another judgment call. He was offered two lucrative jobs simultaneously, one at Qualcomm and the other at Motorola. Joining Qualcomm would have meant returning to his hometown (Hyderabad), back to his parents and girlfriend (now his wife) but the job profile offered to him was a technical one. While at Motorola, he was to be a Product Marketing Analyst. Jayanth chose the latter, despite being displaced to Noida, because exposure, contacts and experiences were all he ever wanted to be able to accomplish his sole goal of becoming an independent strategy consultant.“Motorola was the MBA that I missed out in a B-school”, reflects Jayanth.Not only was his decision a tough one, but also the most fruitful one. He met his prospective business partner at Motorola.
If this was not enough, Jayanth made his third unconventional decision later when he chose to quit a leading company like Nokia only to join a smaller firm in a bid to get an experience in his favorite field – research and consulting.
After 9 years, 6 companies and starting from scratch in many unrelated departments, Jayanth gained all the knowledge, experience and contacts required to establish his dream in 2011 – Convergence Catalyst.
Speaking on how supportive his family has been, Jayanth admits that without their support his journey from an employee to an entrepreneur wouldn’t have been smooth. Not only was his wife understanding when they had to sell their apartment to cut down on the home loan expenditure but also his parents never bothered him with their doubts and anxieties despite being immensely tense themselves.
Coming to the infrastructural backing, Jayanth says that iKeva has been a cost-effective option when they were on the look-out for a co-working space.He remarks, “The people at iKeva have been extremely cordial, extremely flexible and very professional”. Jayanth has been associated with iKeva since 2014 and is his one-stop solution for whenever he needs a boardroom or meeting room.
Currently, Jayanth’s establishment is spread across U.S., Australia and will soon spread to Japan. “I like the freedom that entrepreneurship brings along with it – doing what you love and loving what you do. It is satisfying.I believe I’m living a spiritually rich life. Half of the time I work at home. I get to avoid Bangalore traffic. I mean this is something that a salaried job can’t offer me.”
Jayanth’s inspiring narrative reminds us of a quote by Shiv Khera – “Winners don’t do different things but do things differently.”
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