This Birla Scion is Innovating Indian Education
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Indians have had a habit of casually referring the Tatas and Birlas in statements that stress the gravity of monetary power but we often forget that the children coming from these families grow up under the immense pressure of keeping the legacy alive. One wrong step and their face with bold letters bashing their entire family line are plastered overall publications.
Deeply rooted in the industrial and social history of India, the Birla family is one such legacy. Ever since, seven generations of Birlas have helped the Group maintain its heritage and grow into a conglomerate that today stands tall with nine listed entities and a portfolio covering 20 industries including automotive, engineering, education and IT.
There’s pressure but Nirvaan Birla calls it a privilege to be a part of the 150-year-old Birla household. The 25-year-old takes pleasure in having the power to reach so many lives in the business world and otherwise. More than that, he takes pride in being able to utilize the resources he has been provided with for sharing one thing that holds the power to take the nation forward – education.
The younger son of Yashovardhan Birla, the chairman of Yash Birla Group, has taken it upon himself to revolutionize the educational scenario in India through Birla Open Minds – an 11-year-old brand with the complex network of 47 educational institutions extended across India. Under the leadership of Nirvaan, Birla Open Minds has grown from 35 K12 and preschools in 2016 to 101 K12 and preschools.
Education in India is highly unorganized but with government intervention and definite leadership, the sector is developing. Birla scion himself has played a major role in the organization of Indian education. Having joined the business in 2017 when Birla Open Minds had nearly 40 schools under its umbrella, the network has now grown to over 100 schools across various parts of India.
The new generation is engaging with technology on every day basis which makes it important for the stakeholders of educational scenario to introduce innovative means to maximize the learnings. With the platforms like Byju’s and Vendantu already creating waves in the e-learning space, Birla Open Minds would be foraying into the e-learning platform with the name Birla Brainiacs in December.
“The platform will provide students an educational ecosystem catering to independent and complete needs of children from 1-12 to enhance learning and performance,” Birla explained. A regular practitioner of yoga and meditation, Nirvaan also wants to introduce life skills and mindfulness for students in a structured manner and on a massive scale through Soul Science.
The Other Side
Nirvaan shares interest in music with his cousin Ananya Birla, the daughter of Kumar Mangalam Birla but unlike the Birla heiress, he never saw himself making a career in anything other than business. Very few people know that Nirvaan has 10 years of Indian classical music training and has performed in front of audiences of over 1000 in Switzerland, Russia and other countries.
He has recorded a few songs and plans to keep the art as an alternative career. “It is refreshing to indulge in music from time to time. After getting drained out at work, music is that additional vitamin that keeps me going.” Nirvaan iterates that many go on holidays to recharge themselves but it is music that rejuvenates him.
Going a Full Circle
Birla Open Minds has been among the priority projects of the Yash Birla Group. Before Nirvaan took the baton for reforming the educational scenario of India, his elder brother Vedant Birla also had a brief stint at the company. He played an instrumental role in launching Open Minds, a primary school in Hyderabad.
Vedant now leads Yash Birla Group’s flagship company, Birla Precision Technologies (BPTL) and will gradually takeover the manufacturing companies of the group. Nirvaan is looking to lead the service-based companies along with the health arm of the group in future. From a loss-making entity in 2016, Birla Open Minds is now making very healthy profits.