Interview with MBASKOOL Founders Manmeet & Divij

Date of Interview: July 29, 2013

Manmeet & Divij tell us about you and how did the idea of come about?
We both were together during our MBA at NMIMS and we shared common passions like football, online gaming and became close buddies. It was during our MBA we realized that there was no website dedicated to the MBA students who are seeking knowledge and content related to business and management. There were sites for aspirants having admission information, but none which MBA students could use during their course time for connecting with the MBA fraternity.

Your site provides good info on Finance, Marketing, HR, Supply chain, Branding, Operations and more what is your source of information?
MBASkool focuses on giving quality content to its users. The content on MBASkool is generated by the MBASkool editorial team but now the primary focus is the submissions made by students from various B-Schools. MBASkool has appointed over 150 interns from various MBA institutes like IIM Indore, XLRI, NMIMS, Welingker, SIMSREE etc, who as content management interns and brand research analysts work on corporate projects and generate content for MBASkool.

How much time it takes to build and launch a portal like MBASkool?
MBASkool was launched in Jan 2011. Since its inception, a lot of original and quality content has been added. Being a knowledge and business content website, MBASkool requires a continuous effort to add more content on a daily basis. The process for building a portal like MBASkool is never ending as business trend, sector and brand analysis, management articles etc have to be continuously be added to the existing repository.

Does any of you founding members are technology experts? What is your advice for those startups who are not techies but want to run a technology based startup?
Manmeet has a strong background in technology prior to MBA so he is the one looking after the technology aspects of the site along with the normal operations and marketing. When we are running a business which is based on a website or some technology, it is always better to have a person who has strong technical knowledge and background. If it is not possible then you can hire a strong technical resource to the team or partner with a good tech company.

What was your seed capital to execute this idea?
MBASkool started as a boot-strapped venture. The basic capital required intially focused on making a customied expandable website and the server costs to keep the website online. Gradually the other important costs focused on marketing, posters, brochures, prizes, merchandise etc. 

How did you meet your Co-Founder? How do you distribute work and equity?
Both of us met during our MBA and became close friends owing to our common interests in online gaming and football. Being close friends ensured that we have a close trust on each other. Equity and investments are equally shared among both of us. Even the work is distributed equally as both of us are comfortable in taking up any role required to be exectued as the situation demands.

Explain how MBA students can interact with each other on your portal?
MBASkool provides a free to use platform for students and professionals. MBA students can form a community using the forum section on MBASkool. Apart from direct interaction, the MBA fraternity comes together to various events being posted, inter B-School competitions held by us etc.

Explain your business and revenue model?
Currently, the basic revenue model for MBASkool is through online advertising through direct ads and general purpose ads. MBASkool has a rich demographics of high-incomes, intelligent, independent individuals, which can be apt for advertisers who want to target the urban rich young students and professionals.

What’s your strategy to bring in more traffic to your website?
MBASkool maintains a very high standard of manually filtering the content and keeping only high quality content for the students and professionals to access. Apart from this, MBASkool has been offering live corporate projects for students, organising contests regularly etc. The MBASkool College Coordinator initiative ensures that MBASkool is always within the reach of the users and they are regularly updated about the events on MBASkool. All these things coupled with channelised marketing into B-Schools would ensure increased traffic towards MBASkool. 

Where do you want to see MBASkool in next 5 years and what is your roadmap?
The field of education and online advertising give a tremendous opportunity for MBASkool to tap. With over 2000 MBA institutes in India and over 3000 abroad, the target audience for MBASkool is widespread. Add to that MBA aspirants looking for knowledge sources and business professionals looking to refresh their domains, the potential for MBASkool is huge. In the next 5 years, we want MBASkool as a brand to be a one-stop management education destination, accessible across B-Schools in India and abroad, and provide a platform to students and professionals to interact and showcase campus activities.

What is your recipe for Startup?
Startups require a lot of dedication and relentless commitment. You have to nurture it step by step everyday, cherishing the successful moments and fighting the challenges that come your way. Never giving up despite all odds is the most important thing in a startup.
"Work towards fulfilling your own dreams, before someone hires you to fulfill their dreams"

If you were conducting this interview, what question would you ask?
If we were taking this interview, we would ask
What is the biggest incentive you get out of running a venture of your own: Money or Adrenaline rush or something else? 

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Tags: Education startup ideas India, Online MBA content for B schools, Recipe for India startups, Friends as co founders startups india, mbaskool manmeet divij contact info, 


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