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'Education Brands Cannot Be Built Through Marketing Gimmicks'

Nandita Abraham, CEO, Pearl Academy opens up to BW Businessworld about the marketing of institutions and improving the employment enhancement

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Nandita Abraham, CEO, Pearl Academy opens up to BW Businessworld about the marketing of institutions and improving the employment enhancement. 

Universities became a brand due to the quality of education they impart. But today universities and educational institutions are becoming a ‘brand’ by employing marketing money. Your comments.

Brands can be built based on the quality of product/service and not marketing money. Especially in the education industry, word of mouth, reputation and student outcomes are critical in nurturing the image of a brand. In last 25 years, we have focused on crafting careers through creating experiences with the student at the centre of everything we do. The cornerstone of the institute is ‘quality’ which cannot be achieved through marketing gimmicks. The academy is committed to providing a high level of excellence, innovation, customer satisfaction and development through both individual and team efforts. 

Cost of Education is rising fast. In fact, many a times it becomes a hindrance for imparting education to the right meritorious candidate. Can you share your thoughts on this?

The industry has evolved, and the impact is not limited to educational sector only. Education is not an expense but an investment. Students today are aware, and they look at the value an institute offers through education, exposure, and experience. We focus towards making academics an experiential journey giving students an opportunity to hone their skill sets and get industry ready.  As an ode to 25 years in India, in November 2017, we had announced ‘Quarter Century Scholarships’ 2018 for students to showcase their creativity and aspire for creative careers. Pearl Academy has always strived to encourage young minds to go beyond boundaries by providing them with the best-in-class educational opportunities and facilities. We reaffirmed this commitment by giving ‘Quarter Century Scholarships’ to 525 of the nation’s most creative minds. 

It is often said that Indian students do not go out of college ‘job ready’, even skill development has been able to employ nearly 50 percent people only. How are you changing this?

We have always focused on preparing candidates industry ready. We celebrated 25 years in the industry this year, with ‘Influence’ – a show by 17 alumni of the institution, at Amazon India Fashion Week. We have made sure to produce job-ready students by continuously updating its curriculum with the changing times and trends in the fashion and design industry. The institution has strong industry integration at various levels.

Working in real time and real industry environments go a long way in nurturing industry professionals of tomorrow who can take on any challenges. The institution hosts many meetings for overall exposure of the students.

We recently collaborated with one of the most celebrated and inspiring contemporary designers in the fashion world, Manish Arora. This collaboration aims to provide the required learning and international exposure to students enabling them to create a mark around the globe. 

How do you plan to climb the ladder of being India’s leading university?

More than the rankings, it’s the success of students that we are committed to — our 97 percent placement record and the fact that leading MNCs like Accenture, IBM, Capgemini and Walt Disney; leading luxury brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Burberry; leading designer labels like Rohit Bal, JJ Valaya, Manish Malhotra among others have recruited our students is a testimony of the quality of education, exposure and expertise this institution imparts. 

Education is the root of every working professional. How to create students who are skilled enough to be employed and how is Pearl helping the education sector?

According to ASSOCHAM, the Indian designer wear industry is growing at a CAGR of about 40 percent in the country. The requirement of designers is also expected to increase from 7000 in 2016 to 62000 in 2020. 

Our unique Total Learning System ensures that we provide a 360-degree exposure to our students. It’s our constant endeavor that every single student gets an opportunity to develop skills, knowledge, and is motivated to embrace change, set trends, lead the pack as an innovator and leader of the future, setting new benchmarks in skill development and talent enrichment. 

This includes a tool to assess student’s professional competencies both at entry and final levels and helps students develop a career path for themselves. Students are taught special skills like Design Thinking, Digital Marketing and Entrepreneurship by industry experts from around the world.

This model will ensure complete learning by every student and give them all the tools and exposure required to be successful in tomorrow’s industry. The exposure will deliver the competence and confidence they need to achieve their goals. Our recent tie-ups with Amazon and Adobe reinforce our commitment to skill development.

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