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Planning to Join Your Family Business: Do You Need a Formal Education? What could you do with a formal Degree within the business?

By Rahul R

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Family Businesses today are undoubtedly evolving with evolving technology. In fact, family-run concerns are even going more professional and corporate with respect to adaption of latest practices are concerned. At this juncture, what about the gen-next, who were till very recently thought of as having easy passages and transitions to business which their predecessors (in the family) began and nurtured?

In this regard, Entrepreneur India sought to understand how the next-gen of leaders transition into their own businesses. In this quest, the number one criteria that came out was, a formal education.

Family business concerns – No more served on a platter

"My father repeatedly reminded me and my brother that we needed a solid education and work experience; and only if he felt we deserve it, we would get to join the business," states Namita Thapar who is Executive Director at Emcure Pharmaceuticals which was founded in 1983 and headquartered at Pune. Emcure was founded by Satish Mehta, Namrata's father who insisted that she cultivate essential business skills through formal education.

On her part, Namita worked in the USA for six years, after acquiring an MBA; which led to her taking bold moves at the organization.

"I want to make HR a much more strategic and stronger force with a "talent wins' and "people first' approach," she adds.

Amongst her strategic decisions, the move to get a relatively younger team on board has been a key conversion.

Now, as first-time entrepreneurs, it is not a cakewalk when you are invited to join the business; agreed that tricks of the trade can be learnt on-job; however, execution and training the mind to accept challenges is better derived from formal education acquired through channels that focus on quality instead of commercials.

Bringing value to the table

Family businesses require value-additions during changing times; partly to manage the transition between times. This may require a begin from the scratch approach; but when the Gen Y (and Gen Z) are equipped with the latest nuances (say something like Data Analytics, Predictive Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and the IoT) it potentially becomes easier to analyze qualitatively the inputs and even the possible outcomes of strategies.

Literal prediction of outcomes up to a degree is also possible through data analytics and predictive analytics. These would undoubtedly serve as value additions to businesses; now, a formal education in these aspects would certainly serve as the shot-in-the-arm for the next-gen drivers of family businesses.

"Post my graduation, I worked for another company for two years, but later, decided to be a part of the growing business," informs Gurumukh Uttamchandani who is Executive Director at the Syska Group. Gurumukh is a third-generation entrepreneur in the Uttamchandani family. The business was founded by Gurumukh's grandfather, the late Jeevan Uttamchandani.

"From being purely into retail to tying- up with leading e-commerce platforms, and spearheading the social media of Syska, there were a lot of obstacles that I had to deal with," says Gurumukh's sister Gitika who is also Executive Director at Syska.

Hence, the transition from retail into e-commerce; with social media management is value additions which the third-gen entrepreneurs brought to the business. Likewise, that "differentiating' aspect is the key when it comes to exploring uncharted territories while running family-owned ventures.

Exploring the unexplored

With the core purpose of education being lighting of the lamp, to explore, it should do no harm to implement concepts learnt within family businesses to drive next-gen change with respect to both contributing to business as well as setting milestones.

Technology-driven exploration in this regard is already happening at family businesses, but setting benchmarks (even within the organizations) is also catching up.

Here, the concept of a Chief Wellness Officer within businesses also becomes a potential interest area; and this delves beyond traditional employee wellness.

"Companies must understand why people are with you, what they want and then align collective aspirations to business goals," stated, Leza Parker – a Singapore-based entrepreneur; at a recent conclave on workplace wellness.

As new-age entrepreneurs, leading teams, it should do you no harm to nominate (even appoint) a Chief Wellness Officer within your organization who could look beyond motivation of employees and in turn make them entrepreneurs while they deal with work tasks.

Now, as new-gen family business leaders, you could study corporate Human Resource (HR) policy making formally and decide on the best opportunity to implement this if possible within the business which you and your family have cherished for generations.

Rahul R

Former Staff

Rahul R is a media professional with over 6 years of experience. Prior to Entrepreneur India, Rahul was a Senior Technical Journalist at EFY digital magazine. 

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