Soumyajeet Mohanty ran Edu Solutions, an educational consultancy service in Bhubaneswar Odisha. Initially he started Sunrise Coaching Solutions providing tuition to engineering students. As the venture did not yield much returns, he ‘moved up the value chain’ by providing ( fake) admissions to students wishing to get into medical colleges. Most of these students either had poor scores in NEET ( National Eligibility cum Entrance Test is an entrance examination in India for admission to medical and dental graduate courses) or who were repeaters. Mohanty and his team of six were able to notch up a revenue of Rs. 8-10 crores within 2 years.
The admissions were fake, the seals bogus. Mohanty’s team was able to extract Rs. 10 – 50 lakhs from parents for each seat Now what is common between Mohanty’s modus operandi and the management principles?
- Focus on Results: The moment he realized he was not getting results through tuition, he quickly changed his business model. Sometimes such people are called as serial entrepreneurs.
- Identifying a gap in the market: Meritorious students with a good score are going to make it even otherwise through the NEET admission process. Mohanty identified those greedy parents willing to make their children doctors by hook or crook.
- Brand Building Activity: First Impression is the Best Impression is another management principle which Mohanty followed scrupulously by inviting his clients to five star hotels and providing them with powerful presentation including the elevator pitch.
- Need Identification: With active listening and deep probing the team was able to understand the financial strength and the desperation of the client based on which the service charges were decided.
- Order Closing: The clients were taken to the medical colleges and were handed over the admission letters.( with fake letterheads and seals)
All these years I felt that the main purpose of education was character building and preparing a student to have the right moral values with Knowledge and Skills to face life and earn livelihood in a respectable manner. I do not know whether I am right or wrong. I am perplexed by the following questions:
a. Who is more intelligent? Mohanty or the clients? Mohanty claims he is a BE Mechanical Engineer. Whether he got the degree through official or unofficial means is beside the point. He was not able to get a job which prompted him to start his business venture. (Some surveys point out that 75% of Engineering Graduates are unemployable) But if he were not to be intelligent how he could imbibe all the management principles and achieve quick success without even having a formal management education and work experience!
b. Were the clients less educated or intelligent? I do not think people who are able to shell out Rs. 40-50 lakhs as mere service charges for a medical seat are from an uneducated stratum of the society. The clients included businessmen, senior bureaucrats, doctors, army officers etc. So should we give them a benefit of doubt of being educated or intelligent?
c. Who is/are crooked? Mohanty who manipulated the system to earn money illegally and unethically or those ‘educated’ clients who wanted to bypass the system to earn prestige in society?
I would like the readers to answer the questions below:
- Who is intelligent and/or crooked?
- What is the root cause?
- What is the purpose of education?
- What can be the creative and normal solutions to such situations?
Rajan Parulekar| firstname.lastname@example.org