The co-founder and CEO of Zoho Corp, Sridhar Vembu, is not one of those filthy-rich high-life lovers. It had always been in him to do something which the masses of his motherland could benefit from. He is not new to us; We’ve had the privilege of featuring his exclusive interview. Here is more on his philanthropy; Zoho University.
This post is more about this very unorthodox software company that is rebelling against many conventions, than merely being a career guidance. It is also partly about a boy named Saran Babu who is a flagship developer at Zoho. The connection between the two stories? Saran never went to college. He went to Zoho University instead.
The success story of Saran Babu started when he was 17. And as most other success stories, this one too began with a risk. At that time, Saran was on the lookout for a part-time job so that he could take over the family burden from his retiring father. He did not have much to expect as he was just out of high school. It was that time when Zoho, formerly called AdventNet, came out with an initiative. It was to hand-pick deserving high-school students who are on the verge of dropping-out, and train them on software development. There was no promise of being recruited because this was more of a test-drive for Zoho. It is said that 3000/- was all they initially offered to these students. After 18 months of real-time training and assessments, they would be placed as regular employees.
Saran being the very first chosen one, had a tough time taking the call between a conventional college education he could hardly afford, and trusting this then-never-heard-of company. Looking back, it might be one of the best decisions he has ever made. Five years later, Saran finds himself at the heart of Zoho Creator, a star service of Zoho, and now earns nearly 40,000/-. Never mind the money; He is adored by all for his simple ways and humble attitude; Even by those few who might envy him for his technical expertise. Saran stands tall and most of his successors turn to him for guidance. He is turning 23 next month.
Of the two sides to everything, the less-seen side need not always be the dark side. Education has always been thought of as graduation from a famous and costly college. The overlooked fact is that the other side too is changing lives. Zoho plays in a market ruled by Google and Microsoft. How could it afford to employ people who never went to high-school and college? Well, that is just what they are doing, and they are doing just fine. It is 10% already, and Sridhar would love to see around 40% of his proud followers to be graduates of Zoho University. He humbly says that it is not charity that they are doing; It is a win for the company too, because these employees are the ones with the greatest vigor and passion of a young and fresh mind. The most loyal ones too.
All this sensation comes from Zoho University which is now looking to recruit it’s 19th batch of students. Here is more on how to apply.
Kids who have completed their +2/diploma (in any stream) are eligible to apply to Zoho University at firstname.lastname@example.org. They would then be given a written test, followed by a series of interviews. On successful selection, the candidates would be inducted into an 18 month training program at Zoho University.
With five full-time faculty members, a curriculum that finally has relevance to reality and 18 batches of successful high-school drop-outs, Zoho University is, without doubt, more meaningful than conventional college education.
GetSetGrow Editorial Team