Paving a new path in coaching: Mensa Commerce Classes
While more coaching classes have been opening up to help students excel in science, Mensa Coaching classes have always stood out as a pioneer for something new. With a strong educational background, the two founders Prof. Narayan S. Iyer, a Chartered Accountant and Prof. Shiva Muthuswamy, a Cost Accountant have established an institution that can help every student ace in commerce. Sitting down with these this dynamic duo to talk about Mensa Commerce Classes, has brought so many interesting insights and points that make them stand out from other coaching class.
It all started in June 1994, when a friend got us together because he knew about our common passion for teaching commerce students. It was a very impactful meeting because we both just spoke for 10 minutes and it was clearly evident that we wanted to partner together to create something special. And that is how Mensa Coaching classes began!, proclaims Prof. Narayan S. Iyer. Mr Iyer, who has been working in the corporate field for more than 11 years pursued Chartered Accountancy (CA) alongside his career. Sharing his passion with Mr Iyer, Prof. Shiva an ICWA graduate had finished his Cost Accountancy in the shortest possible time.”But I liked teaching more, and that is why I dreamt about starting a space for commerce students to learn.”, says Shiva.
The Inspiration behind the start?
“It was my confidence!” replies Prof. Iyer. The confidence of talking, ability to convince and perform better by being a teacher was the inspiring force that led me to start something new. My work experience in Asian paints, with a lot of IIM graduates, gave me this confidence. Irrespective, I was qualified as a CA at the age of 33-35! I understood that there were not many chances of me going incorporate. That’s when my confidence bore away. “Don’t they say, When one door closes, many other doors open. Well, the other is what we need to focus on, and that’s indeed what I did.”
Shiva Muthuswamy did his Cost Accountancy back in 1992. He took the shortest possible time to be qualified. We both are two extremes working together for 25 years, adds Mr Iyer candidly. I never worked with corporate. I took school-based tuition classes while I was waiting for my ICWAI final results. Teaching career actually implored my interests. I enjoyed the process so ended up this way. That’s how Prof. Shiva came to Mensa, he adds.
While I am a CA and my partner is Cost Accountant, we thought we should follow our strong suit, Commerce. Since we had acquired enough knowledge, it was the best possible way for us to impart it now. We just took a leap of faith based on our strengths, trying to impart a graduate level course structure for all our students and it indeed turned out to be the best thing for both of us.
Special Techniques & Methods
We have a practice of teaching with the virtue of experience. We bring in a lot of practical examples and we aim to bring the interlinking of what we teach and what they might have learnt. This helps them to take it up easily as they find it interesting. Some of our professors use skits, where using roleplay they execute the situation and help in practical discussions. How to face real-time situations is what we focus on teaching through this.
Challenges & Hurdles to face!
It is a part of any business and is a reality, replies Prof. Iyer. We must always pose a challenge to ourself. We took improvisation of the teaching and education process as a challenge and made it simple for our students. When we started one big hurdle was how to penetrate and face the market leaders. We had to establish ourselves as a brand and for that, we had to go beyond 100%. However, with the hard work and dedication we and our team of talented teachers put in, it didn’t take much time! It just took around 2-3 years and we had already captured the entire market.
Other biggest challenge is getting the quality manpower, to be able to get the right teachers to teach was indeed a challenge. There were times when we went all the way to Chennai to hire teachers for our class. Luckily, that situation has improved. Now Mumbai has so many capable CAs who want to teach. The manpower is right here and hiring them is very easy now. Judging the talent and teaching potential is the challenge.
Improper information to students & misguidance is another problem. Everyone should rather focus on encouraging them and put the seeds of education in them. A professional degree is a necessity this must be communicated to them properly. You should make them ambitious. We explain with examples where people have done it despite their challenges.
Initial Management Phase
Initially, we had our family’s support. Everything was micromanaged by family members. Our family members took a lot of initiatives to make sure the work happened. Now it’s a mix of family members & professional team with more than 10 years of experience.
Facilities to Students!
The students who are in Junior college, finish their lectures by 10:30am. They have access to a seperate room where they can relax and have food. A very flexible meeting facility with the faculty is availed by students, they can come and meet anytime and get their questions answered. Along with that, we have provided them with a library facility. Not only that, we made 10-15 minutes of introduction videos to help them get a proper revision or get an idea of concepts they may have missed.
Parent’s Involvement with The Coaching Class
We had to ensure proper communication as they are one of the main stakeholders. With Classpro, everything was easily communicated to them, the attendance, marks, etc., that made our work simple and the parents had complete knowledge about their child’s progress. But we also focus on face to face conversations, so we made sure our parent-teacher meetings were happening so we could give them live updates and the triangular relationship of student, teacher and parent was complete. That is what is necessary, we here at Mensa Classes believe that blaming anyone doesn’t help. We have to come together as a team to help students excel. We also have career guidance meets to help the students decide on further career options.
Vision for Student’s Future
Nurture them to challenge themselves & set a new benchmark. Transform them into brilliant world class citizens with deep-rooted material and moral values.
Marketing Strategies back then?
Despite lack of advanced marketing mediums like today, we succeeded due to word of mouth. Our content and disciplinary actions played an important role. As they say content indeed was the king and it made us stand out as a different and serious institute in the eyes of both the aspiring students and the parents. This helped in getting ranks from the very first year itself, we aced.
Since I had experience of teaching and had already taught students, helped me to get well! says Prof. Shiva. This helped in getting established quicker. Team of good teachers worked hard to educate and bring out the best. And to say within 4-5 years, many students got qualified and got well-paid jobs in big corporates. This success was right in front of everyone. This is what other parents took to compare as well. For them, this was results they wished for and we had clearly delivered them with finesse.
The View on Online Education
Students can actually learn a lot through them. It’s need-based depends on the subject, grade, course, availability of classroom teaching, students urgency, etc.. Classroom teaching ensures teachers reading of body language of the students, ensures minimum distractions, compulsory commitment, mentorship, etc.. Ideally a mix of both ensures higher productivity & success.
How Coaching Classes have changed?
Coaching classes have now begun to focus on students more. And that is the right way. We have to ensure that the whole process is more student oriented as it is they who are the fruit bearers in the end. With more awareness being spread about the necessity of education, the need for better methods and techniques are also needed. From chalkboards to powerpoint presentations we have definitely grown technologically. Sharing data is now very easy, any information is accessible and that is a very good thing. The time lag to find or get an answer or a material is now less. Study materials and all are also very accessible online. Compared to older times, where we had to physically exhaust ourselves is not necessary. It is now the question on intention, attitude and emotional strength to teach and read. So no excuses at all. The opportunity to study is now easily accessible. And that is how coaching class has changed.
With such a dynamic duo stepping up in the leadership role, Mensa aims at making commerce coaching and learning experience very easy for students, teachers and their parents. By helping them teach and understand things easily helps them to focus better and achieve results which are clearly noticeable. With such a dedicated approach Mensa Commerce classes have paved its 25 years long way into the coaching class industry. Having such hardworking teachers in coaching is what makes us at Classpro aim to work hard in making all their work more simple.