Lalith Dhanush, Founder at More than textbook
Great Companies: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Lalith Dhanush: Throughout my school and college I was a very average student in academics. I used to feel very annoyed being in class because I used to never understand why we need to learn all this. It came to a point where I spent most of my time in extra-curricular activities, especially being on stage as I loved doing that. My extracurriculars grew so much that I won tons of competitions during my degree which boosted my morale. I was even named the President of my Student Council for the work I had put in.
I applied for a couple of universities abroad to study masters in entrepreneurship because I felt working under someone was something I never want to do. Not just did I get placed in University of Limerick, Ireland, I also got a 25% scholarship. Best part about this was my marks had nothing to do with this scholarship, it was my extracurriculars, my skills that helped me bag it.
In my final sem of Masters, my team and I got a chance to participate in an Entrepreneurial pitch contest hosted by CitiBank. We had to come up with a product or service that Solves a problem that exists in society. While brainstorming about different ideas it hit me that there is one problem all students face and complaints about back in India. The education system, how it doesn’t help us much because all we do is byheart concepts, throw it all out on our exam papers and then forget it as there is no practical application taught for most of the concepts. I was abroad on a scholarship only because I was clear that speaking on stage is what I really like and spent all the time in gathering various skills that can help me lead a successful life. It was this secret formula that became our business idea and we named our business More Than Textbook. A company that helps students find their true passion, upskill themselves and learn everything apart from the textbook that makes them successful.
We won that contest along with another team. We got awarded 10,000 Euros for the contest while the other team got a chance to get incubated. At this time, it really hit me how powerful this idea is and how it can really change the future of India. Hence I took a one way back ticket to India, to start my own company called More Than Textbook to share the secret formula of career success with the youth of the country and revolutionize the education system.
Great Companies: What are the various Services provided by More than textbook
Lalith Dhanush: More Than Textbook offers Career Clarity workshops to students between 18 - 25 years old. It's a 6 step process to attain career clarity and have an unstoppable career. First is self awareness, to truly identify what a person is interested in, good at and really likes doing. Second is upskilling, to help students acquire Life skills such as communication, leadership, networking, etc. that will help them succeed irrespective of the career they choose. Third is Internships, to help students explore their interests, work, gain experience and truly understand if that’s the career they really want to pursue for the rest of their life. Fourth is community, a place where people come together for a specific purpose as it helps in building strong networks because in life your network is your net worth. Fifth is volunteering, it really helps shape one's character and instills them with the power of gratitude and humanity to have an infinite mindset that aids success. Lastly, its mentorship, to be with someone who is already living their dream and take guidance from them to assist their career.
Great Companies: What makes More than textbook different from hundreds of other Education & Training Firms ?
Our approach to learning is what makes us stand out from the rest. All our workshops are a mix of activities and learning because we believe learning is the highest when people are having fun.
Great Companies: What are the struggles and challenges you face?
Lalith Dhanush: Covid19 outbreak. As a company that started in 2018 we were really climbing up the ladder one-step at a time. By the end of 2019, our progress was on a high, we had a lot of projects offline where we had impacted 10000+ students yet with the covid outbreak all colleges were forced to cut off most of the additional workshops and just focus on academics. It was a big hit for our company which forced us to create online courses, online funnels etc which we are continuously working on till date and hopefully will get back to our peak soon.
Great Companies: How do you plan to grow in the future? What does 5 years down the line look like for More Than Textbook?
Lalith Dhanush: Our future plan is to tie-up with the top colleges in Bangalore in such a way that we become a part of the curriculum. We are launching my own show called The Lalith Dhanush Show where we will invite people from all career spheres to understand how they got there and make it big in their career. I have also authored my own book which will soon be released about how anybody can take their career from average to unstoppable. With all this we aim to impact at least 100000 students and help them gain career clarity to live an unstoppable career.
Great Companies: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Lalith Dhanush: Don’t take advice from anybody who isn’t living the dream that you want, not your friends, not your family and never your relatives. Engrave this in your head “He who has never seen the pinnacle of success can never guide you to be there, they will only hold you back”