Meghdut Roy Chowdhury
Hometown: Kolkata, India
Fun Fact About Yourself: I love cats and hate horror movies with the exact same passion.
Undergraduate School and Major / Degree programme: Techno India Saltlake – Computer Science and Engineering
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your life so far: Setting up India’s first and only integrated center for interdisciplinary experiential learning – Offbeat CCU. The process has been transformative for me and the youth of my hometown. It started with taking over an old unused hotel and converting it into a hotspot for young energy with learning as the centerpiece. It has everything from a live music venue, yoga/dance/MMA/fitness studios, coding labs, a backpackers hostel, a rooftop café, a film school and startup incubators/co working spaces.
The goal was to create a safe space for experimentation and incubation of young talent and it feels good to see this ecosystem drawing almost 30,000 people through its doors.
Was Entrepreneurship always your career goal? Being born into a family of a hardcore first-generation entrepreneurs, who created a massive legacy and value to society with nothing other than sheer grit and perseverance meant that I always had it in the back of my mind to take the entrepreneurial path. I started my first company at the age of 19 while pursuing my bachelors’ degree and knew this would not be the last.
What led you to pursue a MiM at this point in your personal development? I have always had a fascination for studying in Europe (my maternal grandfather was actually the first in our family who had studied all his life in the UK, and I was inspired by his stories and projector slides) and I knew that France would be THE place to go study business as the reputation of the French business schools were formidable to say the least. I knew that Stanford University had a student exchange partnership with HEC Paris and I always had it as part of my big vision to study at Stanford someday, so it all fit in. So it was a no-brainer to apply for an MiM program.
How did you decide if a MiM was worth the investment? I did my research and figured that a pre-experience masters was the most efficient way for me to get exposure to the business world without having to wait for another five years to enter an MBA program. I knew I was going to come back to my hometown of Kolkata and dedicate my life to the redevelopment of its image, building entrepreneurial ecosystems to empower more youngsters like myself, and work with Techno India Group – the education management conglomerate established by my father. Two years at a prestigious institution like HEC Paris would be just the right amount of time to dedicate to this phase of my life. It all worked out in the end, better than I had expected.
What was the key factor that led you to choose the MiM at HEC Paris and why was it so important to you? I was quite fixated on going to HEC Paris. Even when I was applying through the SAI School network, I ticked HEC as the only option out of the five possibilities. Choosing HEC was the best decision I could have made. Even after all this time and taking exchange semesters at my childhood dream school Stanford University and Tel Aviv University in Israel, I would still stick to the fact that I have never met more interesting people than I did at HEC.
What quality best describes your classmates? Ambitious yet humane. They came from so many different countries and so many different educational backgrounds, but there was a certain level of relatability with everybody I met on campus. Even now I end up crashing with my HEC buddies across the world whenever I am travelling and end up discovering so much more about them. The network is really the most precious thing about this whole experience.
Tell me about your venture: Currently I have quite a few ongoing ventures;
- BlooperHouse Studios – a music recording and video production studio that I founded when I was 19.
2. Technopreneurs’ Surrogate Ventures – a startup incubator and co-working space in Sector V, Saltlake.
3. Offbeat CCU – an interdisciplinary experiential School of the Future targeting young adults, which I built from scratch after acquiring an old hotel in the heart of Kolkata.
4. Topcat CCU – Kolkata’s only homegrown venue that supports live original music, the underground music scene of the city and the independent arts.
5. Y-East – Sustainability collective focusing on social impact in the East and Northeast of India that I co-founded with my partner Pauline Laravoire.
6. MiM Mentor – A consulting company I created with colleagues from HEC Paris and ESSEC B School in France, which helps incumbent students get into the top business schools in Europe.
7. Ecole Intuit Lab, Kolkata – Premier arts and design school offering UG and PG programs in Visual Communication, Fine Arts, Game Art Design and Advertising Design.
How has your business school experience helped you in creating and launching your business? It helped me broaden my vision of what is possible. I have become fearless as an entrepreneur and I take more calculated risks now than ever before. Also I have managed to co-create ventures with my business school friends which would have never happened if I didn’t study at HEC Paris!
What is the biggest/most important lesson you have learned during your studies? The biggest lessons are learnt from real life on the ground experiences through interactions with those around you. No classroom in the world can teach you as much.
What are the next steps for you / your entrepreneurial venture? I have a big vision – to make my hometown of Kolkata relatable for young people again. I will continue building ventures which fit into that vision. By leveraging my competencies in education, sustainability, entrepreneurship, entertainment and hospitality, I want to make sure that tomorrow’s generations don’t have to leave the city because of a lack of opportunities.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Hopefully a bit more relaxed after getting anything more than five hours of sleep a night. And having created a bit more meaningful mass impact for this city that made me who I am today.
DON’T MISS: MEET THE MIM ENTREPRENEURS OF 2020