Interview with Vibhuti Taneja, Education consultant, Woman entrepreneur and Founder of EDCel Consulting
Ms. Vibhuti Taneja is an education consultant, woman entrepreneur & Founder, EDCel Consulting (one of the early stage independent consulting firms for schools.
Vibhuti has assisted many established school chains in scale and expansion and would like to capture a few trends on how the education system is shaping up over the last few years:
Physical classrooms, chalkboards and stacks of textbooks – the Indian education system remained constant for several years, decades even.
Then, slowly but surely, technological adoption upturned the industry as we knew it. Finally reaching a tech-led inflexion point in mid-2020, the national policy framework around education underwent massive transformation.
While the COVID-19 pandemic was unfolding across the world, India’s National Education Policy 2020 was approved by the Union Cabinet of India on July 29th 2020.
With a vision to unlock a new education system in the country, the NEP 2020 was introduced at a critical juncture, when there was a dire need for technological intervention to ensure continued education for students.
Since then, there has been no looking back. From schools switching to online learning to higher education programs being delivered through online channels, the education industry has come a long way.
As of 2022, with the world reverting to normalcy, the education space has settled into its new normal. Interesting trends have emerged during this period which have shaped, reshaped, and accelerated the growth of our industry.
Vibhuti has been in the education sector for over 15 years and has assisted leading school chains and learning institutes in various functions related to operations, academic and marketing and scale & expansion before she started her own Independent consultancy.
Having started her career with Mothers Pride in 2008, Vibhuti quit her well established job in 2017 and started to work with educational institutions as a Consultant as she wanted to provide her knowledge and utilize her experience in building more properties and bringing the best of the school chains to the ground. She has developed various education programs to provide learning and access to destitute children.
Can you tell us details about your age, education, childhood and general background?
Vibhuti Taneja: I’m Vibhuti Taneja, a 35-year-old entrepreneur with an inherent and longstanding passion for education.
I come from a family that’s highly focused on education. My father is a Veterinary Doctor, and my mother is a homemaker.
They both instilled and reiterated the role of education and co-curricular activities throughout my childhood. As such, I developed a keen interest in education at a very young age.
Throughout my career, I have worked with diversified school chains like Shri Ram Global Group, Aravali International Schools, Imperio Schools, St. Xavier’s, The Learning Nest, Little Miracles, Head-start, Little Wings, and Regis Kids World as an independent consultant.
In my role, I assisted these schools in overall planning and development, including academic and marketing functions.
My extensive journey in the education segment took me through several roles and experiences, but it was during my 10-year stint with Mother’s Pride and Presidium group that gained in-depth insights into the process of school development.
By 2017, I had identified a gap in the industry which could be plugged only by modernization and innovation, and decided to take it upon myself to develop a solution.
As a result, EDcel was born to offer modern solutions to help schools stay abreast with the changing dynamics of the industry.
Since then, EDcel has scaled considerably. Today, we have a base of 35+ exceptionally happy clients who depend on us to bring in diverse knowledge and translate it into positive action for their institution.
On the education front, I hold a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in English from Delhi University and a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Sikkim Manipal University.
I have also pursued my Bachelor’s in Education and Master’s in Education (M.Ed) from Maharishi Dayanand University.
Please tell us a little about your entrepreneurial journey
Vibhuti Taneja: My entrepreneurial journey has been equal parts challenging and rewarding. I started EDcel with an initial investment of INR 1 million, essentially my savings from my independent projects and job.
With the drive and idea in place, I amassed a pool of consultants and industry leaders who shared my vision to boost India’s educated population and had a knack for entrepreneurship.
Initially, we had to overturn the conventional mindset that educational institutions have adopted over decades.
While EdTech platforms were successfully disrupting online learning, our focus was on the modernization of the traditional learning segment, which was particularly challenging.
But, there was no giving up. We decided to leverage our obsession with excellence and cracked our first contract within four months.
We used this experience to refine and customize our strategy for schools of different scales of operations.
The opportunity also resulted in positive word-of-mouth for us. Today, we are proud to have serviced 60+ clients across the country, currently associated with 73 schools.
In the most recent development, we have been conferred with a certification in School Management and Leadership by Harvard Business School.
Kindly brief us about EDCel Consulting, its specialization, and the services that it offers
Vibhuti Taneja: The schooling system in India has been stagnant for decades. However, with numerous innovative start-ups entering the fray, new and established schools are looking to break away from conventional methods of management, marketing, operations, and development.
This is where EDcel comes into the picture. We offer end-to-end solutions tailored to different schools, ensuring delivery with the best-in-class techniques.
Our outstanding team of consultants help organizations provide the highest quality education in a world where technology and modern practices reign supreme.
For newly-established school chains, we offer services such as market research and potential as per their target market.
We build their structures and processes from scratch, helping them develop their academic calendar, curriculum, and marketing assets.
On the other hand, with established groups, we provide solutions that help them drive their next phase of growth through required tech adoption.
What inspired you in your work?
Vibhuti Taneja: My parents have been my primary inspiration and motivation for starting up in the education space. With their consistent focus on education and co-curricular activities, I realized early that the schooling segment was my calling.
Moreover, I drew considerable inspiration from my experience with leading industry players. My time at Mother’s Pride was especially critical as it provided the impetus to make a change in the status quo within the schooling segment.
Finally, the vast and constantly growing opportunity offered by the education space was a factor that motivated me to establish and scale EDcel.
What made you choose this type of business?
Vibhuti Taneja: The Indian education market holds massive potential for young entrepreneurs. Numerous new-age school chains are disrupting the market hitherto dominated by a handful of notable players.
This has catapulted the demand for modern practices, and several traditional organizations are looking to outsource their operations to independent consultants.
Having worked independently with various schools and created significant success stories, I shared my idea with other consultants and industry stakeholders.
After refining the idea and identifying the right product-market fit, I took this business ahead and have since been working with the best schools in the country.
What do you think are the key elements of a successful education consultant?
Vibhuti Taneja: Based on my personal experience with leading school chains across the country, the requirements of every educational institution are different.
The key element of an effective education consultant, then, is the ability to adapt and align their offerings with the needs of the school and provide solutions accurately and in real time.
Another crucial aspect is to continue evolving with the ever-changing dynamics of the industry to ensure that every school is poised to offer the best experience to students.
What do you think sets you apart from other education consultants?
Vibhuti Taneja: While several consultants have sprouted up in the industry, EDcel remains ahead of the curve on the back of my 15-year real-time experience in this space.
Working with the best school chains in the country allowed me to gain hands-on experience across various functions critical for schools to scale up.
This diverse and extensive knowledge combined with strong ethics and an unwavering appetite to take risks have allowed me to position EDcel on the cutting edge of excellence and constant evolution.
What was the inspiration behind turning an entrepreneur?
Vibhuti Taneja: I spent a major chunk of my years in the education segment working with marquee school chains such as Shri Ram Global Group, Aravali International Schools, Imperio Schools, St. Xavier’s, The Learning Nest, Little Miracles, Head-start, Little Wings, and Regis Kids World as an independent consultant.
I gained key insights into the core operations of a school while assisting these significant schools with planning, development, marketing, and academics.
However, it was during my 10-year stint with Mother’s Pride and Presidium Group that I identified an opportunity in this space which was ripe for disruption by an innovation and modernization-focused start-up.
At this juncture, I took the onus of creating a solution that would cater to the current needs of the schools in the country.
Thus, EDcel Consulting was born to help both established and new schools easily adopt modern processes and technology.
If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting out, what would it be?
Vibhuti Taneja: The first step to success is to surround yourself with smart, curious, and optimistic people who are well-aligned with your mindset and willing to go the distance required to transform an idea into reality.
To truly achieve greatness in the highly-competitive business ecosystem, never forget to dream big and then work as hard as you can to make it come true.
Business growth is neither linear nor predictable. Savour the surprises and take the risks – it will all be worth it when you see your venture flourish.
What do you think are the challenges you face when working with school clients?
Vibhuti Taneja: In the highly competitive job landscape, every start-up, including EDCel, has to grapple with attrition and talent crunch. This is a key challenge since a company is as good as the team that comprises it.
Further, as we work closely with new and established schools to transform their processes from the ground up, a major challenge lies in their traditional approach and apprehensions towards evolution. In some cases, we also have to work very hard to set expectations regarding timelines and results.
Finally, from time to time, we may come across clients that possess the means to adopt modern technologies and practices; however, they lack the technical know-how, which requires us to work harder in order to ensure that they become well-versed with the changes we are looking to implement.
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