Business Is Not Only About Making Money

Updated: Sep 6 2003, 05:30am hrs
A common thread which runs through almost all large Indian business families is that they marry their children at a relatively young age. It is not often that one would find an unmarried girl beyond the age of 22-23 years in a well-known business family. Charu Modi was no exception. The grand daughter of industrialist late Rai Bahadur Gujar Mal Modi and daughter of Godfrey Philips Indias chairman KK Modi was married into another well-known business family of north India.

Charu Modi Bhartia
For nearly a decade, life revolved around taking care of her two children and dabbling into little bit of work, more as a hobby. But if you have a mother who is a successful entrepreneur in her own right (Bina Modi runs a chain of restaurants in Delhi) and a grandmother who is still actively involved in running a school in Agra, it is difficult to sit at home. So in 1996, at the age of 33, Charu Modi packed her bags and left for USA to pursue her masters in business administration (MBA) at the American Graduate School of International Management, Arizona. She then stayed on for three more years, working in different US companies.

But why would the only daughter from a large business house in India need a MBA degree to do business I did not want to venture into business without education in management. A professional edu- cational qualification like MBA not only helps you to understand how to run a business but also earns you respect of peers and employees and provides self satisfaction, she says.

After her return to India, Ms Modi set up a 50:50 joint venture Modi Apollo International Group Pvt Ltd with Apollo group of USA. The company launched an offshore campus of Western International University in New Delhi in November 2002 with an investment of $2 million (Rs 9.50 crore). The campus today has 210 students on its rolls and offers courses and programmes leading to certificates, associate degrees, bachelors (arts, sciences and professional curricula) degrees, and masters (professional curricula) degrees as in USA. Modi Apollo has launched MBA courses in management, marketing and information technology as well as a MBA programme for call centre executives.

Ms Modi is obviously excited about the future prospects of her education business. What is unique about us are the phenomenal systems and curricula that are identical to what is taught in USA. Most other institutions offering foreign degrees are given syllabus and then told to devise their own curriculum. The competencies (of Western International University) that Fortune 1000 companies value in USA are there with us as well, she says.

Ms Modi has now set her sights on setting up at least two more campuses by next year and wants to grow to 30 campuses over the next 10 years. But why did she get into a completely new line of business when there were a number of successful businesses in her fathers group that she could have easily joined Doing business is not only about making money. It is also about satisfaction and enjoyment. I enjoyed my education in the US so much that I decided to get into the field of education in India, says Ms Modi.

And isnt it all easy when you come from a well-known, established business family I dont deny that its a huge gift. It gives you networking capabilities and lots of other pluses. But then running a business successfully, especially in the field of education, is all about actual performance, she adds.

Ms Modis interest is not confined to Modi Apollo. She is also the head of Modi Innovative Education Society, which provides an international university degree in nursing as well as short diploma courses. Modi Healthcare Placement, the third venture, looks after placement of nurses to USA and UK. This companys big break came recently when it bagged a contract from Banner Health Hospitals of UK for placement of 150 nurses and has also tied up with Hospital Corporation of America (UK branch) for recruiting nurses for them. Ms Modi has also formed Modi International University, Chattisgarh.

With so many education ventures in the start-up mode, Ms Modi ends up travelling about 10 days in a month to different parts of the country. Quite often, I end up working even on Saturdays and holidays. But Sunday is a strict no-work day when I spend time with my children (she has a 16-year old daughter and a 14 year old son), she adds.