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Thu, April 25, 2024

'Leadership is not just about shouting orders, but more about helping and serving the team'

Preeti Pantha
Preeti Pantha January 24, 2024, 11:44 am
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Karan Vaidya
Vice President, Vaidya Group

Karan Vaidya is the Vice President of Vaidya Group which is involved in several sectors including real estate, construction, pharmaceuticals, education, trading, automobiles and hospitality in the country. Having completed his undergraduate in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University, he went on to complete a dual International MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States and Tsinghua University in China.

While in London Business School for an entrepreneurship and finance exchange programme as part of the MBA degree, he and his classmate conceptualised a strategy paper for a competition, organised by a Canadian telecommunication startup company named Know Roaming. Having won the strategy competition, he was flown to Toronto to conceptualise and execute the strategy, but as fate would have it Nepal faced a catastrophic earthquake in 2015. It was then he thought the country needed him more and left his position as the Vice President of Business Development – Asia,  of the Canadian company and joined as Vice President in Vaidya Group. Vaidya is also the Honorary Consul for the Republic of Latvia in Nepal. The silver lining of his return was that he tapped the opportunity and got appointed at the age of 25, he is the youngest appointed Honorary Consul in the world to date. In his role as Honorary Consul, he focuses on developing economic, scientific and cultural relations between Nepal and Latvia.

I am an avid reader of Simon Sinek’s works. He talks about two important things in terms of leadership: Why all companies should lead with their purpose first and why leaders should eat last. That has to do a lot with servant leadership where leadership is not just about shouting orders, but more about helping and serving the team. So that’s a shift in leadership that Nepal needs. And that’s the kind of leader I would define as a good leader”

With an aim to empower the youth of Nepal, Vaidya also gives motivational speeches on lifestyle, digital detox, personality and entrepreneurial development. He is also an Executive Board Member of the European Economic Chamber Nepal, and SOS Children’s Villages Nepal, and plays an active part at Nepalese Young Entrepreneurs’ Forum.

In this edition of Business 360, Vaidya talks about his brand preferences and views on leadership and business.

Top 3 apps you use

Instagram: I love creating content. I am more right-brained than left, and it’s my creative outlet. My motto is to create not consume, because if you are creating, then you are using social media, but if you are just consuming, then the social media is using you.

Hevy: This is like my workout app. I am a huge fitness enthusiast and this app helps me track all my workouts daily.

Feedly: It is a news aggregator. There is so much news nowadays from so many platforms so this app makes it easier to funnel down the news from all over the world to a personalised page according to your preferences.

Favourite clothing brand

I am very much into suits, especially tailored suits. And like I said, I am a little creative, so I love designing my own suits.

Vehicle that you currently own

I am driving the Ford Endeavor. As I have so many project sites, where Nepal’s roads are not in the right condition, it’s a guarantee I get to those places without a problem. That’s my daily beast right now.

Top 3 startups in Nepal that have the potential to grow big

Khalti: It has already grown big so I believe that it will only grow bigger. Their growth strategies are smart and impressive.

Kayo: Kayo is not your typical tech or finance startup. They are a startup that beautifully create things out of metal. Started by two very hardworking individuals - Prasanna Shakya and Sajan  Joshi, they have grown a lot and I believe that they will only grow bigger further on.

SastoDeal: This is a growing local e-commerce business that has the potential to shake the e-commerce industry. Daraz is dominant in the Nepali market but it is still an international company. Hence, I want to see local e-commerce flourish in our market.

3 places in Nepal that are on your bucket list

Unfortunately, I was not in Nepal during my childhood and even after returning, I didn’t have the time to explore well. But if I had the time, I want to go to Rara, the plains in Sudurpashchim, and Everest Base Camp.

Favourite startup globally and in Nepal

Viz.AI: I like startups that are doing something for society. I do read about a lot of tech startups globally and one interesting startup that I found was Viz.AI. We know that heart strokes are one of the biggest killers and it comes like an earthquake, without any call. But what they do is, they use artificial intelligence to accurately and precisely detect who is at risk.  I believe this can be a game-changer.

Kayo: In Nepal, I think it’s Kayo. They are keeping traditional workmanship alive, through a novel platform. It is a new way of keeping our age-old craftmanship alive.

A perfume you use

My signature scent is Tom Ford Ombre Leather. My mom gifted it to me after my graduation and ever since, I have been using it.

Shopping destination

I am not an avid shopper but if you take me to a bookstore or a library, I get lost. If I had the time I can get lost in a bookstore and spend hours there.

Go-to eating spot

I am a complete Nepali at heart. I am usually very strict about my diet but once in a while, I like to indulge in Thakali food. And my go-to place is Tukche Thakali Kitchen. The food there is authentic and just sublime.

Most used electronic gadget

(Takes out his flip phone). This is probably the most used gadget I have. You might be surprised that I still use a flip phone. So, what I do is something called a digital detox. I talk about this in my speeches in schools and colleges as well. I use my flip phone for corporate work and even for setting my alarms. This way, I avoid taking my smartphone to my bed (which I think is the biggest time waster in today’s age). It’s a way to avoid distractions and fight against the urge to check Instagram, emails or any other social media. This is a habit that I learned from a book called the ‘Habit Loop’.

An entrepreneur that you look up to and why

Without a doubt, my father is the entrepreneur I look up to. Although he came from a big business family, he was not supported by his father, so he had to be raised by his single mother. His father didn’t even support him for his education, so, he had to work since the age of 13 to make ends meet. Slowly, he began doing small businesses with whatever he had. Wherever he identified an opportunity or problem, he worked hard to provide a solution for it. For me, that is the very definition of an entrepreneur. He is my role model and the biggest lesson he has taught me is diligence. He is the hardest working human being I have seen in the world and a person I will always look up to.

Best work advice you received

I would say, in the long run, hard work always beats talent. We need to understand that all of us, every individual, all are trying to reach a certain goal whether it is a monetary goal or a spiritual goal, and have different forms of talents. However, one thing we can all use to differentiate ourselves, is through our diligence. So, you have to be the hardest working person in a room. Although some of us are fortunate for having received this platform, things won’t be handed to us all the time. The only way to assure success is diligence. I would say just try to be the hardest worker wherever you are, whether it is the gym or the office, give it your 100%.

How do you define a good leader?

A good leader needs to be someone who understands their team. They need to analyse each teammate’s weaknesses and strengths and understand how to link the team together so that the strengths are highlighted and weaknesses are diminished.

I am an avid reader of Simon Sinek’s works. He talks about two important things in terms of leadership: Why all companies should lead with their purpose first and why leaders should eat last. That has to do a lot with servant leadership where leadership is not just about shouting orders, but more about helping and serving the team. So that’s a shift in leadership that Nepal needs. And that’s the kind of leader I would define as a good leader.

What does teamwork mean to you?

You can’t ask someone to do things that they are not good at. In today’s world, you need to understand a person’s strengths and weaknesses. Some might be good at marketing while others, at accounting. If you understand this as a team then you can make the team greater than the sum of it’s individual parts.

Future plans

We have slowly started pivoting the traditional trading and construction platform into real estate and hospitality. My grandfather, Vishnu Shrestha, created the first resort of Nepal - Dhulikhel Mountain Resort. He was also an entrepreneur who dared to bring a new form of hospitality business in a place that was arid and had no water. He brought water from almost five kilometres away for the resort and the nearby villages and brought the whole community together by giving them employment. Today, Dhulikhel is the Dhulikhel as we know it, because one person dared to follow through with his dream. I am very much inspired with him for my pursuits into the hospitality and service secotrs.

Also, I am very into technology and thereby machine learning and artificial intelligence. I will soon find a way to get into this sector as well

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MARCH 2024

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