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Madhu AgrawalCo Founder of Callido Learning Published On: Tuesday, September 13, 2016 Views 1681

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"Every person has 24 hours in a day - it's what you make of it."

Madhu is hard working and conscientious by nature, and could always be relied upon to get things done properly even when under considerable pressure. She is a very intelligent and engaging person who is hardworking and committed. She has several awards and acclaims to her name, which highlight her credence. She started her career as a research assistant in University of Warwick. She has an expertise in legal writing, research and public policy. She came into highlight with her venture Callido Learning LLP. They develop resources for the instruction and assessment of 21st century skills, in a fun, engaging and powerful manner.

Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.

We help students develop into confident, self-motivated learners who are ready for college and the work-place. We do this by equipping every student with these crucial skills: critical and analytical thinking, research, problem-solving and communication skills. Each student undertakes a pre-assessment, gets a personalized report and suggested program based on their profile, learns online on our IT platform, gets constant feedback on their performance and then progresses further. The program is completely online, available 24/7 and is open to educational institutions as well as individual students. The resources have been reviewed and endorsed by leading names, including Cambridge and Ivy League faculty.

What inspired you to build the above product/ service?

My co-founders and I were struck by a common realisation: by the age of 25, we had switched multiple careers. Upon reflection, we realized that the reason we had been able to move between industries and make the most of different, new opportunities, were the transferable skills we had picked up from our education.

In the world we live in today, information is becoming obsolete rapidly. What is important is the ability to understand what is being learned and having good thought process. It is not the ability to remember lots of facts and learn them, but the ability to think independently, find the right information and problem-solve independently. Research shows that the average student in school today will switch 7 careers over their life-time. So the question really is, how can we prepare students for careers and industries, which do not yet exist today? We wanted to build an educational product that was authentic, powerful and yet scalable – a solution that wasn’t going to be limited to elite schools or a geography but something that could make an impact for every student out there. Technology enabled educational solutions fit right in!        

What is your life mantra?

Every person has 24 hours in a day – it’s what you make of it.

What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?

Coming from completely different careers – law, transport, tax advisory, renewable energy etc. and getting up to date with the latest in education. We were fortunate to have excellent advisors and mentors, who played a pivotal role in shaping our understanding of good educational principles.

What also helped immensely were the transferable skills we mentioned earlier – the ability to learn new things, an analytical bent of mind, creativity and problem-solving.

How did you overcome those challenges?

It is certainly a challenge, especially in India, where the focus is still very much on exam percentages. Also, as a new entrant and young team, it is difficult getting the attention of the decision makers at schools. It took a lot of leg-work getting the meetings, but once we got the meeting, we’d let the product speak for itself. Luckily for us, our first school was also the toughest school to crack – United World College, Pune. It’s also a testament though to the amazing quality of our resources as our first adopter was the market leader, who put it through a thorough vetting process before agreeing to roll it out for its students. Getting the right set of clients on-board in the initial period went a long way toward establishing our credibility. Today we count some of the country’s leading institutions such as Dhirubhai Ambani International School; The Heritage School, Gurgaon; Canadian International School, Bangalore; Singapore International School and Pathways Schools amongst our clients.

Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.

We started the business after many years of working in the UK and USA and the company is currently privately held.

According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?

Determination. Self-confidence. Knowing when to walk away.

Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?

Bitrix – we use it for our project management and CRM and recommend it

Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.

Using a powerful tool (Eisenhower matrix) to plan and prioritise – we have built an educational module on how to be more productive using this tool

Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.

Obsessing about efficiency in everything

Answer in less than 50 words

One tip to success:

Define what success looks like for you so you know when you’ve achieved it

One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:

Thinking they’re not good enough

One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:

Never focus on the tasks at hand at the expense of the bigger project at hand

What are your plans for next 3 years?

Take Callido to new heights. We are growing rapidly, entering new geographical markets as well as new market segments such as higher educational institutions and the corporate training segment

If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?

Focus on picking up more work that enhances my career and skills rather than just dealing with every task that comes my way

What are your top three getaway destinations?

  • Croatia
  • Riga
  • Iceland

Share a quote that inspires you the most.

“Every person has 24 hours in a day – it’s what you make of it.”

Inspiring Entrepreneurs

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