With a combined spirit of a father’s expertise in the education system and a son’s ideology of running it in a very measurable and successful way, it is what brought about AKA Coaching Center For Excellence into existence. “It was my passion to contribute to the field of education and I wanted to blend my father’s academic experience with my corporate understanding which inspired me to carry forward my father’s legacy and establish AKA’s Coaching Center for Excellence professionally.”, exclaims the managing partner, Anjan! After 25 years from their start, this unique coaching center currently operates in Jayanagar, a well-known location in South Bangalore.
Working as a corporate professional for the last 10 years in investment banking, Mr. Anjan had the passion and desire to contribute to the field of education. With a notion of emphasis on quality and overall development of students, he joined hands with Anuj Kumar Agarwal, a Masters of Science degree holder in business from the University of Virginia who is equally passionate in contributing to the field of education and comes with a strong know-how of running a business. Both of us have been running this institute with the strong guidance and experience of R.Ananthakrishnan.
The Challenges you’ve faced
“The foremost challenge that you would face while running a coaching institute is maintaining the quality and standard of the delivery year after year while harnessing and maintaining healthy relationships with your teachers,” says Mr. Anjan. We consider them as an integral part of the institute in order for it to run successfully. We tackled these challenges by fostering an environment to make everyone feel like they’re part of a big family and they are equally important in contributing to the success of the institute. We invested a lot of time to establish this culture, but today we can proudly say that most of the faculties associated with us are continuing to grow and helps us stay motivated for the last 25 years.
The secret behind your Management success?
Quality always forms the core pillar and foundation on which our institute operates. We challenge ourselves to the limit. “Making a hero out of a zero.” this is what we believe in. Equipping a child to be proficient not just with academics but in an overall aspect is what we strive to achieve. However, Classpro has been instrumental in shaping our automation. About 5 years ago, we were manually maintaining all our records with multiple duplications, lots of efforts and mistakes, but Classpro has made life so much easier for us. The complete management style has been eased with the help of Classpro, thereby making it very simple for us to focus on the other important areas of the coaching class business.
The Disadvantages of Manual Management:
We followed rather a simple approach with the use of a manual ledger book to record salaries of the teachers. Similarly, we maintained manual attendance registers to record attendance and the marks were announced in each class. The parents were made aware of their child’s performance only when they saw the physical paper from the child. A performance trend of each student was communicated personally by the respective teacher’s observation than through any data or reports. This was how we functioned before the introduction of Classpro. These processes actually were very tedious to manage as each and everything needed to be checked and rechecked. Considering it was done manually, the chance of error or data mismatch was very high. It was somehow possible to do it back then, but with the present day scenario, manually doing all these operations would be very challenging.
Importance of Communication with Parents
Communication is indeed very important. Ensuring that the coaching classes are being transparent and honest with parents is very essential in shaping a student’s academic journey. It does go without saying that parents should also be equally involved with the institute to shape a child’s academic performance. We manage communication primarily through Classpro and also through another third party messaging portal on a daily basis.
The AKA Classroom plan
Maintaining a small batch size and strictly restricting ourselves to 10 students in a batch for school and 15 students in college is what helps us provide that level of personal attention to each student. Once the number of students in a class is less it becomes very easy for my faculty team to evaluate the student’s performance as a personal connection is established with each student. Maintaining a limited batch size helps in maintaining consistent individual focus on each student, thus making it an easier job for both the faculty and the student to feel comfortable enough to interact with each other without any hindrance.
Special Teaching Methods or Activities?
“We believe in keeping things simple and maintaining our core aspect of giving personalized attention to each child and focusing on their overall development,” emphasizes Mr. Anjan. Our classroom environments are very inclusive and each child is free to seek as much clarity as it wants to with the idea of the child happily wishing to come back to the institute each day. When you achieve this, getting them to perform well is a cakewalk. We also keep ourselves in tune with technology, we use a projector, an audiovisual medium to teach complex and dry topics, use the microscope to explain biological concepts like a stem, flower leaf, etc. In addition, our Chemistry faculty gets the students in a frenzy by mixing up some chemicals in a test tube in the class teaching them chemical equations. These methodologies instigate the interest quotient in each student making learning fun and effective.
Apart from these, we conduct an Annual day every year where we recognize our past performers and honor them in presence of all the current academic year’s parents and students. In addition, we also have a graduation day and a career counseling workshop conducted for our 10th and 12th std students to give them a sneak peek into what’s in store for them in the future and also a formal send-off, of course with some fun in the process to make memories that we can cherish and treasure. Thus, fostering an overall inclusive environment that focuses on imparting education through practical knowledge bundled with an enriching experience.
Your idea for the Future of Coaching Community?
We would love to keep quality in education alive and imbibe that more into the community. We strongly believe, with all the commercialization at some point the core essence and values that education carries is getting diminished and hence we’d love to keep that essence alive and we’re making a conscious effort to make that happen every single day from the last 25 years.
Your Biggest Hurdle:
In the present day scenario where every street has a coaching center and having something unique is what will make you stand out in the competition. The biggest challenge is to believe in your core value and work effortlessly to shape the academic careers of children with no expectation whatsoever in return. And having just gratitude and self-satisfaction to motivate you and act as a driving force. “I believe understanding and accepting this aspect is the biggest challenge one faces in the coaching industry.”, says Anjan A & Anuj Kumar Agarwal, managing partners of the institute.
The Digital Era of Coaching Classes:
We respect the fact that technology is booming and we are trying our best to keep up with it. We do encourage online platforms but when it comes to coaching in specific to the classes and subjects that we teach, we still like to remain old school and follow traditional methods of teaching and testing children. It is essential that the children are tested in an actual simulation environment. We see to that, with a real-time environment the aspects like stamina, concentration and focus are built-in within the children.
Your Role Model:
My role model has always been my father, says Mr. Anjan. He is a qualified engineer with a post-graduation in Astrophysics and Astro science. He is driven by the passion to make maths as easy as writing ABC. This same passion was the reason he left his Chief engineer post in Tata Power Company back in 1993 and relocated to Bangalore and has been coaching and mentoring students for the last 25 years.
The fact that he remains positive irrespective of all odds is his ideology- having patience and perseverance to achieve your ambition yet be passionate every single minute in what you do as if it’s running in your blood is a core part of our living ecosystem. That’s what keeps us at AKA’s Coaching Center For Excellence motivated, a 71-year-old passionate individual guiding us to success.
Special Routines or Practices?
Well, I heard this term very recently and I associate myself on how I manage my day through this. I’d like to call it “work-life integration”. I don’t believe one can compartmentalize their personal and professional lives. For me, it’s all one and how you manage each of it equally with due importance is the key and that is what at the end of the day makes all the difference. The attitude you portray and demonstrate matters the most Says Anjan A, managing partner
Future Goals for AKA’s Coaching Center For Excellence :
We would like to continue to make learning Fun, Easy & Effective for multiple generations and make an impact in the lives of many children. Our main focus area is nurturing and coaching the students for overall development. We constantly work to achieve exceptional quality in the field of education by maintaining strong professionalism in the manner in which we deliver our coaching to children.