SP Jain School of Global Management hosted a guest session by Zia Shiekh, the CEO of Svenska Hotels, for the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Mumbai cohort on November 6, 2020. The session was facilitated by Professor Shrinivas Shikaripurkar (Adjunct Faculty, SP Jain) as part of the ‘Principles of Management’ subject.
Mr Shiekh, who leads a USD 100 million multi-national business, engaged with students virtually and shared insights on the journey of building a business from scratch through his personal experiences.
He started the interactive session by asking students what it means to be an entrepreneur and they shared their thoughts which showcased diverse perspectives.
Traditional Business vs Entrepreneurial Business
Mr Shiekh explained what a traditional business entails, which is making everything work efficiently by maximising revenues and profits, whereas an entrepreneurial business signifies its emergence from the scratch, where a fundamental aspect of the business (like market, product or service) is missing, and you build it up or make an existing business better through innovation.
An entrepreneurial business is all about risks, and the faith of investors, banks and customers are integral for growth. They discussed whether an entrepreneurial business could transition to a traditional one. He also shared stories of several entrepreneurial businesses and entrepreneurs, which helped students gain an innovation-oriented outlook.
The Entrepreneurial Journey
Mr Shiekh spoke about his milestones that led him to where he is today. He was born in Sweden, moved to India when he was young, studied at London Business School and was a successful banker at Morgan Stanley when he decided to quit the job. He, along with his brother, then built an outsourcing company that provided remote services. The company was bought and later handed over to the investors because Mr Shiekh and his brother wanted to build something that gave them more opportunities to reinvent and work like entrepreneurs. This approach brought Svenska Hotels to life – smaller hotels but with more focused and personalised services.
The Path to Success
He believes one needs a combination of guts, luck and hard work to become successful. He highlighted the importance of taking risks and working on your dream to see it become a reality.
The session ended with a Q&A where Mr Shiekh answered the questions with immense ease and enthusiasm and helped enhance students’ knowledge. They learnt what it means to be an entrepreneur – the struggles, risks, thought process and, most importantly, the effort you need to invest in building an empire.
This article is written by our BBA student Megan Pawar.