IIMA alumnae, Ritu Banga, who is the co-founder of Zoomdojo, a startup job search and career resource advisory visited CIIE for the event, ‘Career in Impact’ workshop on Monday. She is visiting the campus after almost two decades. So, we thought of interviewing her on visiting the campus, her entrepreneurial journey, career in impact and other interesting things about her. Excerpts of the interview:
I graduated from IIMA in 1981 and since 1985 I have not been here. It’s wonderful coming back and it feels special to be able to conduct a workshop on a subject which is now my specialty because of the startup I had. I am glad that I can contribute something back to the institute and see how the education I got here has translated into making me the person I am today by giving me various opportunities.
The career history
I didn’t start out as an entrepreneur. Like most students at IIMA, I also went through the placement process and got a job in an advertising company, Redifusion –an IIMA alumnus startup.
So, the journey goes like this:
Redifusion → HCL as program manager (marketing then sales) → Market Research at Mode, an IIM Calcutta alumni startup → the charm of entrepreneurial spirit → Founding ‘Point of View’, consulting firm → shifting abroad → making school policies → Invited to be part of the board of trustees for Asian University of Women → Realised the need for career advisory for students and young professional → Zoomdojo
Career in impact
My own company, Zoomdojo is a LIC, for-profit company but the work we do has a social impact. We are an open resource helping students and young professionals to find jobs without charging them. The ability to improve your community and give service and value to your community, I think that is a very satisfying and professionally fulfilling path to take. I believe that if you create a secure financial situation for yourself, you are actually creating the freedom of action for yourself to do things that you really want to do.
I believe social impact careers should be rewarding financially, professionally and emotionally as the 9-5 jobs will soon disappear and people will have to start doing something that contributes to the welfare of society. So, I think we all should be involved in making an impact in the society that we live in – whether it is by working with a company with a social mission or by treating people well around you and trying to improve their lives or by creating a social startup.
Every business should have a CSR
Every business should have a mission beyond its immediate operating environment, it can be more or so within the business context they are operating. But they should have a social mission which works on improving the livelihood of people around them.
Is there any difference between a social enterprise and a business with CSR?
No, I don’t think there is any. I always say that being a non-profit company or for-profit company is all about tax classification. When you say I am an NGO, just because you are, for instance, working around a clean water supply, does not make you an NGO. What makes you an NGO is how your articles of incorporation are. A water purification equipment business is also into clean water supply but it is not an NGO. So, NGO is a mechanism and it can be profitable. And just because you have termed your company as NGO, does not mean you should not charge for your product. You should charge a nominal amount for everything that you provide to create the sense of ownership and make the person feel that it’s a privilege that I am getting a benefit and only then will your product be properly utilised.
The fun part
One thing that you have learnt from your experiences that you will always remember
I learned that you have to be comfortable taking decisions without complete information and that it can be scary but also fun, as you start trusting your gut.
One bad habit that you will like to work upon
Not getting enough sleep
Enjoy the work that you’re doing. Enjoy the moment of time, because it’s not coming back. Tomorrow is not here yet, yesterday is gone, but you have today, so make the most out of it.
Three books that you read recently and liked
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
A habit you enjoy
I really enjoy long walks in the parks. We are lucky to have a central park close to where we live. I go regularly for long walks in that park with different routes, it helps me think clearly and I enjoy nature.
A philosophical statement
Life is a big adventure. You never know how it unfolds. So, don’t plan it too far ahead. Roll with it. Take chances and you will be surprised with the outcomes. Enjoy what you are doing.
About the event
CIIE hosted ‘Career in Impact’ workshop in association with Sattva, India’s leading social venture consulting firm and Zoomdojo, an IIM alumni start-up working with leading US colleges on Monday at the Sunil Mehta Conference Hall. The purpose of the workshop was to connect students with professionals working in a range of social impact fields including not-for-profit, for-profit social enterprises, foundation and CSR departments.
The speakers for the event were Ritu Banga, co-founder of Zoomdojo; Aarti Mohan, Chief Editor and Content head of Sattva and Niraj Lal, CSR Head of Arvind Mills along with Shashank Rastogi, director (operations) at CIIE. The event saw a footfall of over 50 students from the city.