Interview – Women Achievers in Biotechnology
Dr. Poonam Sharma, M.Phil, Ph.D.
Director, Founder, Gyan Bindu Academy Pvt. Ltd.
THE EMERGENCE OF GYAN BINDU ACADEMY WAS SERENDIPITOUS
‘’Interestingly we are the pioneer in Life sciences coaching as we started it first in India, this was the other reason of sudden demand of our services’’.
Brief background of Dr. Poonam Sharma
Dr Poonam Sharma studied at Jawahar Lal Nehru University, New Delhi and successfully obtained her M. Phil. and Ph.D. from there in 2000. She has published over a dozen of research papers and review articles in several refereed and reputed national and international journals. She has attended several national and international conferences/seminars related to her area of academic research interests. She has already published eight books while another two are in the press. She is the Founder and Director of Gyan Bindu Academy Pvt. Ltd., a 2005 start up which has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years into India’s top Life Sciences/Biosciences study assistance services provider. She is the head of the institution which comprises specialized teachers for individual subjects. Through her experience and commitment over years, she has developed most innovative teaching methodologies in a time bound manner.
She has delivered a number of radio talks on environmental issues on all India Radio, New Delhi. She has been associated with SCERT, New Delhi and NIOS, New Delhi as a resource person. She is an active member of many professional bodies and societies. She is also the president of Social Welfare Foundation, a non-governmental organization registered under the Society Registration Act 1860.
When did you decide of becoming an entrepreneur?
Honestly speaking it was not a motive rather a destiny. After completing the Ph.D. in 2000, my first job was as a Research Associate at a CSIR lab in Delhi, next as an Assistant professor at a P.G. college in Rajasthan and later as programme coordinator at a NGO in Delhi, yet I remained unsatisfied and wanted to do something different, innovative and unique. The story of robust growth of the academy is very interesting. I found that students were looking for a good, dedicated and sincere coaching institute for JRF-NET Life Sciences where their commitment will be fulfilled. I knew it was going to be a challenging job and would require much time, energy, effort, dedication and hard work still I took the challenge and devoted myself for the cause without worrying about the benefit or profit as I knew sooner or later my hard work was going to be recognised. Thus in October 2005, Gyan Bindu Academy was started with a humble beginning in a small office and a single shared classroom with just 13 students at New Delhi. Today we have three offices, 6 large classrooms, a big library and a hostel, all equipped with modern facilities. Interestingly we are the pioneer in exclusively Life sciences coaching for JRF-NET in India.
What was your first plan to build something?
As I mentioned earlier we had a very humble beginning with a vision to help students qualify the JRF-NET. Our hard work paid back and among the initially enrolled thirteen students in the first batch, two were selected for JRF/NET which boosted our morale and since then there is no looking back. Next our mission was to expand the coaching to help the students qualify the JRF-NET conducted by CSIR-UGC along with other exams conducted by ICMR, ICAR, DBT, JNU, BHU, IITs and IISc. With the passage of time we went beyond to make a difference in the way students think and approach the problems thereby changing lives of the students. During the process we tirelessly worked hard and kept on setting newer benchmarks of excellence. Continuously raising the bar and aiming the unachievable has become a part and parcel of Gyan Bindu Academy.
What were the initial hurdles and strength?
Since I am a first generation entrepreneur, I had to face hurdles because of the lack of knowledge but slowly I overcame and enjoyed them. The topmost initial hurdle was to bag the faith of students. Financial aspect was another hurdle. However our determination and passion helped us tide over these initial obstacles. My biggest strength in all my endeavours is my husband, who stood like a rock with me and without him it was not at all possible to manage the vast empire of Gyan Bindu Academy Pvt. Ltd. The other strength was my biosciences background which played a key role in assessing the quality of study material that was being provided o the students. Also it helped me in maintaining high quality of questions in the test papers. Thus, I looked after the academic domain of the academy while my husband dealt with the management part of the academy and together we worked as a team.
Why coaching when so many people criticize coaching business?
Opposed to the theme of money making coaching business we started Gyan Bindu academy with a vision to help students belonging to the poor and middle class. We charged very nominal fee and students were provided many services in lieu of it. In fact it was not started as a coaching business rather it began as a teaching profession with unique methodology. Our academy is not just another coaching centre, we work systematically on our students, guiding them throughout the course, so as to make them methodically understand the subject. The academy subscribes to point the view that mere hard work is not enough, instead it is labour coupled with right approach, following correct methodology and keeping the requirements of the examination in mind, that helps hitting the Bull’s eye. I feel very satisfied when I see my students qualifying JRF-NET which looked impossible to them when they came to join us.
Who requires your company’s service at most?
Anyone from the field of Life Sciences/Biotechnology studying in graduation, post graduation, doing research even those in teaching profession avail our services. In fact students keen to take up research or college teaching requires our services most. Many a times some permanent faculty from schools and degree colleges also join the academy during their study leave so as to clear their concepts and update themselves in Life Sciences/Biotechnology.
What is the essence of your company? What it offers?
It is a matter of immense pleasure to introduce ourselves as a matchless institution for JRF-NET aspirants. Our objective is to create a breed of innovative and dynamic professionals for academic and research institutions in the field of life sciences/Biotechnology that are capable of making a difference in their respective fields. We have vibrant and talented faculty that is a part of distinguished corps of researchers, from reputed institutes/universities all over the country making a significant contribution to the knowledge base of the institute. I must compliment the faculty and staff members of the academy for carrying further the dreams and aspirations of the academy by involving themselves whole heartedly. The academy has attained a good reputation in covering the vast syllabus of JRF-NET in a short period of 5 months. The entire course is structured in such a way so that all the important topics are given due weightage. The weekly tests provide the scope of improvement along with analysis where a student can closely observe where he/she could have scored better and accordingly prioritize the future strategy.
Do you provide support as per the need of student or you have stringent protocols in your company?
Every company runs on some strategy, this is also true with us but we have tried our best to remain flexible with everyone who associates with our academy. We always remain available for students. In every session we provide free coaching to some financially weak students. We do not ignore student’s questions to save time but we have a separate doubt clearance cell where teachers take care of student’s queries.
The faculty constantly encourage the students to come out of their comfort zone and work hard. The faculty discusses the strategy to attempt the test paper in little time with perfection. They identify the improvement areas and give remedial suggestions individually.
How your coaching and coaches are different from others? How you see competitors?
The Academy’s lasting success emanates from its core values of honesty, sincerity, discipline, commitment and hard work. Since the inception of the academy the ethics of truth, transparency and commitment have never been compromised under any circumstances. The committed and dedicated Research and Development team works round the clock to ensure that the study material and test series is constantly updated. We have best study material and best teachers who work hard day and night for the sake of students. The best part of the academy is that during the test series and mock tests the students are exposed to difficult and innovative questions which enhances their thinking capabilities.
The most significant feature of Gyan Bindu Academy is that it deals only in the field of Life Sciences/ Biosciences. The greatest strength of this academy is the strong management and the highly intelligent, experienced and qualified faculty. The faculty here are not just teacher rather an inspiration for the students. They ensure that students have a strong foundation for any challenge they may have to face in the exam. The in-depth teaching by the faculty saves a lot of time as the student need not refer individual reference books for every topic. We have a strong pertinent teaching methodology and the greatest advantage of joining this academy is that here the faculty sharpens the analytical skills and the parallel thinking process which enables the students to creatively resolve the complex & tricky questions by merely applying the basic concepts. At our academy classes are designed both meticulously and strategically in a time bound manner. Preparing for JRF-NET is one thing and transforming the knowledge and skills into success on JRF-NET day is another. The academy is unique as it ensures the best possible result depending upon the basic potential of the student and his/her hard work.
For me having competitors is a positive thing as they have played an important role in the massive growth of the academy. We constantly update ourselves; try to adopt latest technology and methodology to remain better than them. In fact it gives us a pleasure that we are doing something different than others.
How students get maximum benefit from your coaching? What is the time table and study material?
The eminent team of faculty at Gyan Bindu Academy is responsible for its unmatched status in the field of JRF-NET preparation so the academy is a wonderful place to learn as the concepts taught here deepens the understanding of the subject. The teachers at the academy explain the fundamentals very clearly that makes them enough confident to attempt even the most difficult questions in the examination. Our students emerge as a true competitor in every sense after attending the rigorous session. The strong faculty of the academy is its backbone who helps the students to solve the complex and tricky questions. They emphasize upon strengthening and improving the fundamentals, the key to qualify the exam. The weekly tests help the students in organizing time efficiently and effectively. In addition, these extraordinary tests bridge the gap between the understanding and performance. The innovative questions compel a student to apply the learnt concepts during the classes.
As for the time table, the classes are held six days a week and every day 3 classes are scheduled. The duration of each class is 2 hours and all the three classes are of different units. The weekly test is held on every Sunday followed by discussion. The exhaustive and extensive study material developed by the distinguished team of faculty saves a lot of time as the student need not refer individual reference books for every topic. In other words the transformation is from a simple text based academics to a matured academic life.
What are your future strategies to provide assistance to student community?
Our publication wing, is working hard to bring out few more relevant books for the student community within next six months. These books will definitely help them in attempting multi- concept problems with great confidence. Also we intend to start biweekly tests for the students so that they can overcome the silly mistakes that could have been avoided. This will build their solid foundation for the final day of JRF-NET. Next, we have plans to start scholarships for the poor and downtrodden students.
What in your view are achievements of your company?
Gyan Bindu Academy is a revolution in the field of JRF-NET coaching for Life Sciences as it helps a student to achieve his/her desired goal of qualifying the exam within a short span of time. The holistic preparation here helps to attain the challenging target of passing out JRF-NET with a good rank. The academy boasts its history of glorious results. Our results are a reflection of the academy’s commitment to the student. Many of our students have finished their Ph.D. from IITs, different labs of CSIR across the country, various state & central universities and other reputed institutes. The strong network of the alumni, spread all over the world, in leading institutes and universities, are a testimony to the academy’s focus of nurturing individual actualization and the pursuit of excellence. The alumni of the academy have brought laurels to it. We consider our alumni to be a very important part and parcel of the academy in its journey towards excellence, and eagerly look forward to their valued feedback and suggestions.
How you see yourself after these many years (13) of working?
After 13 years since its inception Gyan Bindu Academy Pvt. Ltd., has become a name synonymous to quality and success driven education across the country in the arena of JRF-NET Life Sciences with hundreds of success stories each year. Today the journey continues to grow with the success of each and every student of the academy. We are indeed proud with the every successful step that we take along with our students twice in a year. We are trusted across the length and breadth of our country. Students from the remote corner join us to realize their dreams. The correspondence/postal coaching was started in 2008. The online test series was started in 2010. The faith of the students from all over the country prompted us to embark on a mission to venture into the area of online coaching and hence the online coaching classes were started in 2014. Also we started our publication wing in 2015, Gyan Bindu Publications with the idea of helping the students. The entire team of the publication wing works sincerely to bring out the authentic topmost books for preparation. The journey of the academy for just JRF-NET to the most powerful brand in the field of Life Sciences has been exhilarating and still there are miles to go on…..
What are future plans of your company?
I am proud to say that hard work of all the entire team of Gyan Bindu Academy has resulted in making us pioneer in biosciences coaching business and helped in producing top rankers in Life sciences, biosciences, biotechnology and many other examinations. In future we would like to reach students having Life Sciences/Biotechnology background but are unable to come to Delhi due to one or other reason. We intend to open our centres across the country in near future.
Any message to student community of India?
Students should develop the habit of studying between the lines while reading thereby enhancing their thinking capabilities simultaneously. They should develop scientific aptitude and try to imbibe strong logical thinking. Also they should focus on most difficult topics initially when they have ample time and are little relaxed. Students should come out of their comfort zone, give their best and the best shall come back to them. There is no short cut to success. One has to be committed, dedicated and sincere towards achieving the target. Put your heart in the preparation and never ever give up. Your firm determination will ultimately help you succeed in the exam. If you are serious about studies, then there is no better preparation for career in life sciences than the experience of studying at Gyan Bindu Academy. I welcome you to Gyan Bindu Academy and wish you a world of success with us.
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