Dr. Sanjib Chakraborty - Owner, Asian College of Teachers

I have started my career in the corporate sector in 1994 and was already working on training and development programs with Fortune 500 companies. So you can say that I have literally grown up around training and development which ultimately led to the transition into entrepreneurship in 2003 as I eventually turned into an entrepreneur CEO and started my own company. To be honest, I always had a soft corner for entrepreneurship and that also remained the topic in my PhD where I made a deeper attempt to understand the root cause that fosters entrepreneurial decision which I explored further in the book “Hate your Status Quo” which I penned in 2015 for all fledgling entrepreneurs. Besides building business and leading people, I have also been passionate about teaching and traveling and have been immensely enjoying my stint as a lecturer with Stamford University in Bangkok ever since and globetrotting both for pleasure and business and as well doing something very close to my heart that is conducting Learning and Development (L & D) workshops in different cities. I am also a certified L & D Practitioner from British Institute of Learning & Development, UK and Certified Trainer from Singapore Institute of Management, Singapore. I must say that it has been a phenomenal fulfilling journey for me with of course, many hurdles to cross but I must say that every day has been a learning experience for me. Besides business acumen and entrepreneurial strategies I have always tried to generate a sense of spirit inside my company to create a positive work culture which has ultimately spelt success for me.

How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?

The seed of entrepreneurship was always there inside me and it took some time to germinate. There wasn’t any particular inspiration as I was inspired by many people whom I met at various stages of my life. Apart from them, there has been a voice in my head which has been constantly telling me rather pushing me to take the plunge into entrepreneurship as I knew deep down that besides making money, I can make a difference in people’s lives.

When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?

When I started I was prepared to embrace conflict which is part and parcel of entrepreneurial journey because problems are bound to arise along your entrepreneurial journey and you have to constantly combat those conflicts and come up with quick solutions. For me a conflict is an opportunity in disguise and it brings in its wake a chance to innovate or shed light on things in a different manner and possibilities are there that it will bring the groups closer and the conflict can be resolved together with a collective effort. As a leader you always need to ensure that the problem remain separated from the persons involved.

What do you think it is that makes you successful?

Entrepreneurial success is leadership success and problem solving should be the essence of your leadership style. Handling countless things all at once may cause emotional turbulence at times especially if the result does not turn out to be desirable. You have to make sure that your commitment and integrity remain intact and you need to constantly gather courage to motivate your workforce and keep them productive. Even if you are struggling sometimes you have to do so silently without losing your sanity and resilience and maintain that transparency in your communication and provide the freedom to your workforce for an open dialogue at times of crisis. This collective effort will bring in a sustainable solution.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

When I realized that this enterprise is not only earning revenue but can also transform people, their career and make a significant contribution to the society as we are preparing global educators who will shape future generation.

What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?

Personally I see a very bright future not only for my business but for all our students – past, present and future. I am extremely hopeful about the growth of course, taking teacher education to a new height and adding more courses catering to special education, educational administration and soft skills for teachers . . . we probably want to be the only teacher training organization in Asia with so much to offer in terms of training programs for teachers, trainers and professionals from all backgrounds.

What business books have inspired you?

Many, not one in particular . . . I have picked up so much from several books and I guess that will continue . . .

Do you think too many choices in terms of your courses can confuse your customers?

No. Not at all. The myriad courses we offer are meticulously crafted and are designed according to the needs of the learners of 21st century. Our teacher education courses are unique and each course is one of a kind as our aim is to not just train teachers but prepare global educators who can lend expertise to diverse classrooms across the globe.

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