Kota: The Odyssey from Coaching To Corporate

Ajay Veer Singh, a student from a small town had a simple dream in life that he wanted to earn a living for himself and his family so that they no more remain cursed with the evils of poverty. So, he came to Kota in the year 2004 with no money, but just the desire and hope of living this dream. He stayed in an Ashram, worked there so he could enroll in one of those popular institutes of Kota. He attended classes during the day and worked thereafter. Looking at his dedication, the institute even gave him a 100% waiver off the tuition fees. Months of hard work and support from the institute, finally prepared him to appear for one of the most grueling exams of the country. He qualified IIT-JEE (now JEE Advanced) in 2006 with All India Rank – 5525(Gen) and secured admission in ISM Dhanbad (Indian School of Mines); a premier engineering institute of India. Now, he is successfully running a coaching institute of his own and thus helping others build their dreams.

Kota has for years been the harbor for such sundry stories of dreamers who survive their tough times in it with due guidance and protection and thereafter sail through an entirely different course towards their destination.
Trailing backwards, about a good 25 years ago, is all where this long expedition started. The dying industrial town had become home to several union strikes and disputes that actually stooped the economy of Kota. And then, the after-effects prevailed which eventually gave rise to the most needed reformers who transformed the city for good. A few enthusiasts, their love for students, their passion for teaching and their desire for growth made the city grow by leaps and bounds each year. It was this time that the “Kota’s System” was actually formulated which revealed the flawless and the most rigorous “Teaching Methodology” of all times encompassing tools efficient in translating a student’s talent into success. From there onwards, the city never looked back. A mere coaching institute, that used to start in a room fitting in as many students as it could, with a single teacher or  two, suddenly started creating miracles. IITians and more IITians, and this never ending thirst went on and on. It startled the entire country, whereas on the other side Kota came into the limelight which poured in flocks of students from different corners of the subcontinent. These institutes were now known for sending thousands of students every year to the IITs, NITs, AIIMS and other premier colleges. The economy boosted and thereafter the city got renamed as “Kota: The Educational Hub” of the country.
But these expanding numbers gave the impression of cramping infrastructure, shrinking services, wayward processes and the worst of all was the dearth of skilled and trained faculties. An immediate remedy with action was the crying need for the hour. To cut the long story short, Corporatization had to begun. And henceforth, started the huge transformation of this city which once used to be an industrial hub. Coaching institutes or businesses thus observed a paradigm shift from Sole Proprietorship to Private Limited companies. And not only this, they even started raising IPO’s and went public. Dozens of coaching centers showed up, including the big ones like Resonance, Bansal Classes, Allen Career Institute, Vibrant & Career Point. The sprawling campuses, hi-tech buildings and air-conditioned classrooms of these centres could now give any world-class institution a run for its money. Perfect Mentorship, Best in class Study Material, Rigorous Testing, Daily Practice Problems, Research & Development, e-Learning, Distance Learning etc. are now glued to the core of the teaching methodology of these institutes. In order to establish the foundation of the entrance exams at an early and budding stage, they even expanded their span of students making it open for all the students from class VII to class XII. All these winning parameters gave these institutes an edge over other competitors. With an ever rising competition, thus barged in the business jargons like Departmentalization, Hierarchical Organizations, Well Defined & Transparent Processes, Franchisees, Business/Study Centers, Planning, Internal Communication, Performance Management, Faculty Training Programmes, Admission Tests etc. And yes, the mother of all: “Branding and Advertising” which splurges across the city in the form of Hoardings, Unipoles and Kiosks. Each of these institutes turned companies, unlike the regular coaching institutes now have their own Managing Director (MD), Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Executive Director (ED) and Vice Presidents (VPs) who are all busy strategizing the company’s growth plans taking it to the next higher level each time by providing extended services to their biggest asset: the students .These institutes are now the real big players of the entire coaching industry and have so strongly occupied the coaching space that even the recent change in the pattern of the entrance tests, which came as a challenge to the entire coaching industry has rather made these institutes way much stronger. For now they claim to have made their teaching methodology flexible enough to adapt any change and proudly call it “Pattern Proof” or “Pattern Independent”.
Despite the uncertainty and changes in the exam pattern, the Kota Coaching industry still grabbed a good 25-30 % of the country’s result this year in JEE-Advanced, JEE-Main, NEET, AIIMS etc. from the 1.2 Lakh students who came to Kota. At present, the Kota Coaching industry as a whole is worth 1500 crore. The city of Kota now reverberates as a city of private companies, a city of coaching institutes, a city of hostels, of booming real estate, of stationery shops, of cyber cafes, of photocopiers, of messes and of food stalls, all together contributing to a major part of the city’s economy.
But seems, it’s just the beginning, as the city is still yearning for more. Spanning across different Indian states from Kashmir to Kerala, these big names (coaching institutes) now want to be visible everywhere. And in the age of digitization, they don’t even want physical presence to be a barrier in their spread, so they are applying the best of technologies to reach the students at even the farthest and secluded Indian towns via satellites/internet. They are heavily diversifying into schooling, higher education, and even exploring different streams and sectors thus enhancing their portfolios as “Corporate Ventures”. Looking at the sky high ride that this industry is taking ahead, it is not off beam to predict that some day it may even hit the international grounds as well.

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