Indian-origin Investor Kunal Chowdhry Helps Give the Modest ‘Indian Thela’ an Avant-garde Makeover


With COVID-19 having disrupted traditional high street cafes and coffee shops, a whole new space for mobile F&B outlets – very similar to the ubiquitous Indian ‘thelas’ or mini-businesses on-the-go is emerging. Apollo Singapore Investments, helmed by global investor Kunal Chowdhry, has brought to the fore, the practicality, ingenuity and business profitability of these thriving thelas, especially in a post-pandemic world by co-investing in the Costa family’s coffee brand ( more famously known by the Costa Coffee chain) Torelli.TorelliTorelli retails coffee, gelato and light snacks in airstreams or caravans across London. If the avant-garde make-over concept proves successful in Europe, Apollo Singapore Investments will help bring airstreams or sleek aluminium caravans – to India, placing the Torelli airstreams in free areas inside malls.”The concept of mobile F&B outlets is very reminiscent of the success our Indian thelas – often taken for granted, have replicated over the years. As investors, we are constantly on the look-out for new and innovative ideas that meet a current requirement. Post-COVID there is no appetite for close quarter, indoor seating and the flexible Torelli airstreams address that shift in consumer preferences. They are modern and sleek, need no fixed location and can easily move out of unprofitable locations at short notice. We’ve seen that through the pandemic, businesses set up at fixed locations with fixed costs that cannot be met without a minimum customer turnaround and footfall, have suffered. Mobile F&B caravans like Torelli, on the other hand, have done really well. We are very happy to be a part of something that will set market trends in the near future and look forward to bringing the concept to India,” said Kunal Chowdhry.The current business model of paying fixed rents, business rates and overheads will see a shift in the coming decade as businesses turn to COVID-ready models for ensuing profitability. Torelli aims to launch 10 units across the United Kingdom by the end of 2022. Currently, London has four Torelli airstreams – two in Paddington and two more in the process of being deployed.

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Does MBA really help in getting a better job offer ?

Does MBA really help in getting a better job offer ?

Most students pursuing an MBA come with the sole objective of having a decent job offer or a promotion in the existing job soon after completion of the MBA. And most of them take loans to pursue this career dream. According to a recent survey by education portal  74% MBA 2022-24 aspirants said they would opt for education loans.

There are exceptional cases like those seeking master’s degree or may have a family business to take care of or an entrepreneurial venture in mind. But the exception cases are barely 1%. For the rest 99%, a management degree is a ticket to a dream job through campus placements or leap towards career enhancements. Stakes are high as many of them quit their jobs which essentially means loss of 2 years of income, apprehension and uncertainty of the job market. On top of that, the pressure to pay back the education loans. Hence the returns have to be high. There is more than just the management degree. Colleges need to ensure that they offer quality management education which enables them to be prepared for not just the demands of recruiters and for a decent job but also to sustain and achieve, all along their career path.

  • So, what exactly are the B Schools doing to prepare their students for the job market and make them industry ready ?
  •  Are B schools ready to deliver and prepare the future business leaders to cope up with the disrupted market ?  

These are the two key questions every MBA aspirant needs to ask, check and validate before filling the MBA application forms of management institutes. And worth mentioning that these application forms do not come cheap. An MBA aspirant who may have shortlisted 5 B Schools to apply for, may end up spending Rs 10,000.00 to Rs 15,000.00 just buying MBA / PGDM application forms.

While internship and placements data of some management institutes clearly indicates that recruiters today have specific demands. The skill sets looked for are job centric and industry oriented. MBA schools which have adopted new models of delivery and technology, redesigned their courses, built an effective evaluation process and prepared the students to cope with the dynamic business scenario, have done great with campus placements despite the economic slow down.

However, the skill set being looked for by a consulting company like Deloitte or KPMG may be quite different from FMCG or a manufacturing sector. Institutes need to acknowledge this fact and act accordingly.

  • Management institutes should ensure that students are intellectually engaged, self motivated and adapt to changes fast. In one word ‘VUCA ready’.
  • B Schools should encourage students to participate in national and international competitive events, simulations of business scenarios.
  • Institutes should have the right mix of faculty members with industry exposure and pure academics.

The placement records of 2021 across top management institutes indicated the fact that recruitment is happening, skilled talent is in demand and certain management institutions continued to attract recruiters even in the middle of an ongoing crisis.

It is time, all management institutes rise to the occasion, understand market realities and identify areas of improvement at both ends – students and faculty.

After all, the stakes are high at both ends. B Schools taking corrective measures will stay while those which are lagging will end up shutting down.

Author Name : Nirmalya Pal