Faced with the dilemma of whether to focus on his venture Richcore Lifesciences or to pursue the PGP programme at the Indian School of Business, Subramani Ramachandrappa (fondly known as Subbu) fearlessly pursued both. Effectively managing his business along with the PGP programme kept him on his toes; travelling to Bangalore every weekend to attend to his business, and focussing on the PGP programme through the weekdays. It strengthened his resolve to perform better and taught him valuable lessons about time management. Reminiscing his days at ISB, he says, "The programme is very intense where cutting corners won't work. One must be thoroughly prepared and perform to the best of their capabilities, as you are amidst a group of brilliant colleagues. The course design and the paucity of time helped me realize my priorities among the many exciting things happening around me”.
Subramani, PGP Co '04; Founder & MD - Richcore Lifesciences; Managing Partner - Vivnova Ventures; leads innovation and strategy at his ventures. Subramani believes that preparation, diligence, and resilience are vital qualities that have worked for him. His experience has taught him that the idea/product/solution one is pursuing is bound to evolve and morph into something completely different from where one started. He says it is essential for one to focus more on “the why and the how” instead of “the what” of a business.
Asked about what he would suggest to the present class, he says, "If you know what you are looking for, it would be much easier to find it. Coming to ISB knowing what you want from it makes the program more effective."
Subramani has fond memories of ISB; when he joined in 2004, the School was still in the nascent stage, just like all the trees and plants on the campus. The accommodation was brand new; the food served was delicious, making the campus feel like a luxurious resort. He mentions, “The School did a great job in ice breaking events in the first few days. There were many indoor, outdoor, and group events, which helped everyone familiarize themselves with each other soon, and made us feel like we have a family away from home. Bonding among the small class of 219 people was a phenomenal experience”.
ISB opened avenues for Subramani from day one itself, wherein he started looking at things with a different perspective, which helped him create innovative solutions for his businesses. More than anything, it was the experiential learning based on case studies, and deep interactions with his peers, that transformed his thought process. During classroom sessions, the faculty would share their thoughts and ensure that the class shared views. 'This helped us widen our approach and understand that there are not one but many solutions to the same problem; it was just how we looked at it,' said Subramani. The wealth of knowledge gained while interacting with professors and peers at the ISB was unmatchable. Subramani says 'It did not feel like an institution where I was studying but more like an ocean where we were immersed in the experience. This made a great difference. ISB prepares individuals for the lifelong learning process.'
Reflecting on his entrepreneurship development program at the Centre for Innovation (CIE) (formerly known as Wadhwani Centre for Entrepreneurship Development) where he shared his business plans, Subbu explains how the Centre was instrumental for him to gain international exposure, enabling him to transform his business from local to global, creating a niche for himself in the industry. The business plan he developed, as part of the entrepreneurship course at ISB, won several awards at international business plan events conducted at the best B-Schools across the world. His business plan winnings in fact gave him a net ROI of 2.5 times his ISB tuition fees within six months of joining the course. The School made him a deal; he could keep the winnings if he left all the winner trophies at the LRC, he chuckles.
Subramani emphasizes that leadership is a dynamic skill that requires different approaches according to situations. It's easy to lead when you are in a commanding position, but you have to be able to adapt yourself to ever-changing environments. ISB provides you with that opportunity to up-skill yourself. "ISB, with its enormous resources along with an extensive and accomplished network of alumni in diverse fields, has a great potential to bring about change," he proudly remarks. Adding to that, ‘It's a pleasure to be associated with ISB which values its alumni, understands the need and importance of their careers'. Subramani strongly believes that alumni and students can be assured of the School's unconditional support and can always reach out for solutions and assistance without any hesitation. Having had the opportunity to serve as the Vice-chairperson of the ISB Alumni Association (ISB AA), he believes ISB and the alumni always rose to the occasion whenever required, which strengthened the institution's brand value.
"If you are honest, you have nothing to fear. Honesty is paramount." this is the mantra Subramani follows in succeeding in life. Subramani openly spoke about the mental aspect and stresses of business life, which is often left unsaid: “an entrepreneur needs to maintain a work-life balance and must not just chase lofty goals measured in revenue numbers and exit valuations. An entrepreneur must also measure his/her success as a function of the happiness they feel and create among their team members. Staying fit physically and mentally is very critical. Entrepreneurs must never hesitate to seek help; as an ISB alumnus, all one has to do is scroll down their phone contact list, and they will find an expert who can help and is willing to go the distance with you”.