Life is a great leveler. Only those who understand the intricacies that go with it, make it big in the world of fierce competition. Here is an interesting tale that dates back to a couple of decades at Hiriyur in Chitradurga district.
A primary school teacher then, V M Mruthyunjaya, though could not afford to give his children a luxurious life for obvious reasons, knew he could make them count if given proper education. It was all the support that the gentleman could offer his children. But he had no regrets. Time and again, he would tell his kids, “Don’t forget we all are children of Saraswathi (Goddess of knowledge) and not Lakshmi (Goddess of prosperity).” In the same breath, he prophesied, “For one to become son of Lakshmi, you have to make sure you are a better son to Saraswathi first.”
The little ones (four daughters and son) would not understand what their father was trying to drive home then. That he used to repeat it quite often, all that the kids could understand was their father wouldn’t be saying it without much salt. Close to three decades now, Mruthyunjaya’s son, a young entrepreneur in Mysuru, Arasu M T has gone a step ahead to make his father’s words come true, that too with a rare degree of distinction.
Most parents (no exceptions please) look at government schools disparagingly. But Arasu begs to differ when you quiz him if he ever thought so. He is rather proud that he got to learn the basics at a government school, initially. Not to forget his father who instilled ethics, values and morals in Arasu that helped him put the best foot forward more often than not.
If a not-so-popular government school taught him humility, where Arasu studied till class 3, it was St Annes School (class IV to X) that helped him understand what was in store. Founder and Managing Director of careerPrime Campus Recruitment Solutions, Arasu proudly recalls those early days when he got to showcase his talent in sports and cultural activities. “I secured a very good score in 10th but because of financial constraints, I joined Government Junior College for PU and later, joined Channabasaveshwara Institute of Technology, Gubbi to pursue engineering in Computer Science stream. I was working as student placement coordinator and got an opportunity to talk to various HR managers of companies during campus interviews. Observing the needs of training and placement in engineering colleges, got the plan to start a business entity which could address this major issue.”
As Arasu puts it, the journey from Hiriyur to Mysuru has been momentous and interesting. Treading an unknown path without proper directions, it was tough for 29-year-old Arasu when he decided to be on his own in 2010. “I came to Mysuru to work in an engineering institution as a placement officer but inner spark of entrepreneurship did not let me to do it for longer time and the rest is history.”
Tough times are like flash floods. They just come and go. Arasu pretty well knows it. The young entrepreneur had to shell out a small price in the form of hard work, blood and sweat in the last six years to help careerPrime take shape. That Arasu was bestowed with young entrepreneur award by NEFD, Coimbatore recently came as no surprise. “It was a busy season of operations, so my admin and HR team completed all the formalities with the support of my wife, Ranjini. It is true that award has really inspired me.”
‘All that begins well ends well’ goes an old saying. Now that Goddess Lakshmi knows Arasu is a better son of Saraswathi, she is ready to take him into her fold with both the hands!
Something about your childhood?
My father V M Mruthyunjaya was a primary school teacher and mother V M Sujayamba was a home maker. My home town is Hiriyur in Chitradurga. Parents struggled a lot in bringing up all of us. My house was the first school and my father being a teacher was disciplined. The values, ethics and morals he brought in us have been helping me in making right decisions.
Any particular person who impacted you more?
I believe there is something to learn from everybody in life. Many big entrepreneurs such as Narayana Murthy, Azim Premji and Bill Gates have surely created a strong impact in me. When I started this company, I was just 23 and not aware of what business was all about. Every step was just experimental for me, used to appreciate myself whenever the result was positive; and learning from the mistakes when the result was negative. It helped me so much. I got introduced to H R Nagendra Rao, Managing Director of DMS Technologies, Mysore and he is one of my best friends. His right suggestions at right time gave a clear idea of how to develop business.
You worked in different organisations before starting your own? Was the decision well thought over?
The decision was well thought over. After I left software job, my plan was to start this company but because of financial concerns and family issues, I had to opt an employment. I got an opportunity to serve as placement officer in a few colleges, but always I had a strong feeling that my potential was underutilised. Some factors also made me to be a partial entrepreneur, where I was working in an organisation and also taking care of my business in parallel, which made me land in a position wherein, I could not give my 100% dedication to develop my dream business. I started sensing my decision of being a partial entrepreneur was a big mistake and decided to take the business on full time. My destiny was set with this decision.
How was it when you started careerPrime?
Yes there were many. I came to Mysore with Rs. 230 in my pocket in 2010. My father had got retired before eight years by then. After sending salary to my family at Hiriyur, I was not able to save even Rs. 1000 per month to bear my food expenses. I still remember the days, when I was having only breakfast for the whole day and ate two pieces of watermelon at night before I sleep, so that tummy feels full. I decided to start the business as I started to feel the salary which I was getting would not satisfy minimum needs. I gave my first try in business by approaching STJ Institute of Technology, Ranebennur. They asked me to share a mail regarding my proposal and company. I was not having money to get the logo of careerPrime designed, which I had to put in the proposal and I designed it myself using the laptop given by the college to work with. Till today I have retained the same logo. I feel, even almighty was frustrated and decided to stop my troubles because I was successful in getting the appointment of my first client for negotiation. Unfortunately, they called me to meet them on very next day, but I was not having money to get my train ticket, business cards and print out of the proposal. My colleague B N Ashwini gave me Rs. 3,000 and another friend Anil Kumar helped me in getting the proposal and business cards printed using that money. First two years went good and I was able to create a client base of three colleges and ten companies. I got married by the same time. I invested the hard-earned money in business expansion setting up an office in Metagalli but unfortunately because of recession, many companies stopped hiring freshers, there were many unsuccessful meetings, sleepless nights and no business at all for third year and I had to close that office. Those twelve months are unforgettable in my life but those days made me to realize the real world of business and take business very seriously. There was nobody except my wife when I was facing hurdles in business. I started building careerPrime again from scratch. One of the rooms in the house became office and was able to expand my client base to generate the business almost triple times of the previous two years. The college where I was working as placement officer outsourced the placement and training activities to careerPrime but with a demand of me being the institution for minimum 10 working days in a month. This resulted in double work pressure, where I was getting hardly eight days in a month to focus on my business. Somehow I managed to do the same for some years. Meanwhile because of many unexpected changes in the college setup, I started feeling it is better to quit that part time employment and focus on my own business. As a result, in the last financial year and this year we have seen tremendous growth. We have our operational office at Bogadi and more than 50 institutions & 120 companies have got tied up with us today for campus placements and around 55 people are associated with careerPrime now.
What exactly do you do at careerPrime?
There are many engineering colleges in India and almost half a million graduates are coming out of Engineering Institutes every year and almost 70% of them are unemployable because of various factors. We address this issue at careerPrime, many engineering colleges have outsourced their Placement & Training Cell’s activities to us and we operate the placement & training department of the college from our operational office of Mysore. This has helped those colleges to minimize the gap between Industry and academia and students of such institutions are getting wide campus placement opportunities.
In a very similar way, Companies were spending huge amount for campus placements to hire fresh talent pool, but because of various services we offer to them using customized technical tools we have developed, the process of campus recruitment has become easy, fast, better and cost effective. Companies have also shared the feedback that the resources we supply from the client institutions of careerPrime are performing excellently as they are well exposed to current trends of corporate sector.
Many tier 2 and 3 companies were spending huge amount for lateral hiring of freshers, we have minimized that cost by offering the best campus recruitment services, so that freshers will be readily available for immediate joining, soon after their course.
What it takes to be a successful entrepreneur?
For beginners, my suggestion is never take entrepreneurship on part time as sailing on two different boats will neither satisfy you nor your goals. Commitment, Dedication, Determination, Patience, Humiliations and frustrations are part and parcel of entrepreneurship. Taking failure to heart and success to brain will stop the journey.
What has life taught you?
- If I can dream something in life, then almighty is showing some destiny which I have to reach next. It may take some time but need to have patience.
- If challenges are more in the path opted, then it must be the right path.
- As long as people won’t humiliate, we won’t understand our potential.