Well everything about Meena that we can't normally read about and learn because there's so much written about you as well. Well, I grew up I think across the country. My father was in the railways and we moved across multiple locations from this fifth grade to about tenth grade and studied in the Kendriya Vidyalaya Kolkata. And I think studying in Kendriya Vidyalaya really makes you very egalitarian you'd learn how to respect people from every background because there's no differentiation. You have the child of a general and the child of sepoy all sitting in the same class being treated the same way. So that is a very good indoctrination in my life. and now when I go back and reflect, I think it has shaped how I treat people so these are government schools for people who don't know Kendriya Vidyalaya where people from all kinds of backgrounds. That's correct. Yeah, and for the most part it has a lot of people from the armed forces and the one that I studied was inside army cantonment fort william, and we had mostly people from armed forces.Got it. So your family is originally from where, which part Tamil Nadu my parents are from no longer than they were from Thanjavur district and you lived all over and then KVs and from 6th onwards. You say I have friends all over the country as well. Yeah. fifth to tenth KV. Okay, and then after we moved to Chennai did my schooling and my undergrad engineering and then I joined IIM Calcutta and did my masters.That's great CSK or RCB. I don't want to put you in a spot. I don't worry about.That's great and then you went undergrad and then yeah then after I did my undergrad in BSc in physics with the very strong intention of becoming a physicist. I thought I would be a nuclear physicist, but I did very well in my schooling. So I thought man and said but he realized much later that it's one thing to do well in school and perhaps to recently in college, but you need to have a different mentality to be in research and to really go after a subject and go deep into that and I realize I'm more of a generalist and it was for teachers that I did get into an admission in all the three. IIMs and I chose IIM Calcutta, there also is another interesting story reason why I joined IIM Calcutta, not Ahmedabad and not Bangalore in all the three IIMs because my brother had studied there. Okay, so he said, oh no, you can't go down the but it's further away. It's more difficult and I have kept mosquito net for you in the bucket for you so you can see with the mosquito net.So i ended up IIM Calcutta. I am very proud alumnus of IIM Calcutta, i am sure Calcutta's proud to have you as an alumna as yeah, I'm also on the Board of Governors. of IIM Calcutta wonderful chance to get back to alumnus.That's great. We've had other IIM Calcutta. Shriya Sharma jet evening for examples on the podcast earlier. Yeah, and I'm sure there are more amazing. That's great. Yeah. So awesome and then post IIM. Yeah little bit of my personal background I think is important because I grew up in an environment that women really didn't have careers. My mother was a housewife. Wife and she did a fantastic job of raising us but there was no question of women having careers on my father's side. My mother's side. I look far and wide there was nobody else who had a career. So it was not something that was expected. Of course they have bright. So they've I was expected to study well to have a good education but career was not something which was planned for and not expected. I think in a way it was probably a good thing because it gave me so much of freedom to do exactly. What I wanted because there were no expectations. Nobody expected me to do well and ruin my career be ambitious go after this that or the other I just did whatever came naturally team in what I enjoyed. So there's a degree of likeness when there's no expectation. Of course, there are other kinds of issues when the family, you know, they returned on say hey, but now that you have kids are you sure those kind of questions start to come up and but I was lucky that I was able to get people around to my point of view that I did want to continue my career in spite of the fact. I was married and had children child number one and then later child number two at every stage. There was always this little bit of question that were there in people's minds but not much in my mind. I think and that helped so maybe I want to go a little bit deeper post. IIM when did you get married and like this walk us through those initially because the reason I ask is most people I feel follow the system at that time. Yeah, right correct me if I'm wrong, but just want to understand that a little Yes. Yes. I got married immediately after I completed my management to classmate and but my than Ganesh was your classmate. Okay? Okay good. We need a podcast on that sufficient with Ganesha and first five years. I joined NIIT from campus and I was there for the first seven years of my career my first kid was born five year. After I started to work in 1990 and there was no question in my mind of continuing my career or not after having the first kid, so we had to work around and see how support would be made available etc. What I think also helped is the fact that the time in Ganesh decided to start his first company and we had not a single being in the bank. So there was no choice I had to work. So sometimes situations are such that make sure That you don't drop off but you are in Bangalore and Delhi.Delhi. You had a support ecosystem. My mother-in-law has always been with us, but she was employed in she was a government servant so he had a little bit of negotiation and she decided that she would take a slightly early retirement and be at home while we also provide other needs and all of that but having a family around always has been an enormous support. My mother also has always come in and You know if whatever the need is she was always there to come and spend months together with us to help bring up the children from Chennai to Delhi. Okay. So Ganesha started the company and you went back to NIIT. How longer after.after three months. Yeah, and then then you got a little rhythm of get got back into the same role everything because it was a very short break and I think it within two months. I was back doing some work or the other. the company because I just couldn't stay quiet. So that connection with my company with the role remain at that's something which I believe is very important. One of the reasons why a lot of women find it difficult to come back. Is that a. That gap is too long and b. During that gap you have no connection either to your field or company or the role that you're performing and you feel really alienated when you come back you feel that everything is moved on everybody has moved on and you were stuck where you are so some of those things it just I mean it's not something that the company actively did or I planned in such in a very aggressive manner. It just happened that because I was so keen to come back and after a couple of months. I was just right back in and starting to get involved in things ease my return into the company. What role would I was a management consultant it consultant at that time called and another beautiful thing in NIIT was it was a start-up so they didn't care what your capabilities were and what you were you thrown in the deep end all the time and you have to learn a lot of things. So my first five years of the carrier shape to be an entrepreneur for life, I believe because the company was small they needed us to do whatever it took to build that business and I learned a lot on being a startup right.Got it Correct. That's awesome. So we had NIIT first kid and then what was the next move after that? Yeah. So after seven years in NIIT in 1992-1993, I moved to price waterhouse. as a management consultant, I worked on business re-engineering influential re-engineering project. So it was an interesting move from a very startup environment of NIIT where we're learning a lot of things. Of course in NIIT. I was a consultant then I was also in the in the education part of their business. So I used my last job was as a regional head for all the North Region centers where the classes were held from there. So it was highly operational intensive work and then I move to pricewater house, I became an individual contributor again being a management consultant and it really brought in. I think a lot more of skills on analysis and research and reflection some of those skills. I think I gained being the price waterhouse and of course, so those are much more traditional setup. So learning how to deal with people from a completely different environment was also something I learned. Got it and and how long were you there? About two and a half three years. I don't remember the exact timing. But in that order after that I joined in 1995, I joined Microsoft and to set up a new business unit for them in the area of management consulting. They called it Microsoft consulting services and I had joined them to set that up and I was with Microsoft for five years 95. I'm sorry. Yeah, 1995-2000. Mm and I did multiple roles in that company. All of which were setting up of new business units for them. So I said if MCA is and I set up there are software developer unit and then their internet business unit. So they were three big roles second role brought me to Bangalore And so in 1996, I moved to Bangalore early 97. I think that's why they moved to Bangalore and continued with Microsoft in 1999. My son was born younger one. And again, I was back at the literally the day I delivered I was working till the evening of 5:30 and I went directly to deliver. So I was right that last moment came back within three months. I was back at work and by then whose technology had moved in so we had email. So I usually within 10 days. I was an email in working getting back in touch with the people in there's no pressure. It is just that for me. It wasn't that part of my life was equally important. And as my family was staying in touch was very important. And again that ease my return 1999 is also towards the end of the year is when I started to look at starting up something and it 2007 March is when he started customer asset. So there was a small baby six eight month old startup baby and we had a full-time job with Microsoft.Night we used to make business plans weekend we used to do this that. You started with Ganesh, right? So yeah, so what happened was that I think February of that year is when we had sort of finalized there were two-three others all of us got together and every weekend used to meet think about what exactly you're going to do put the plans together and all that and Ganesh used to come and help us think it through you still with British Telecom at that time. He had exited his first startup of 1918. He taken up the role of a CEO of British Telecom in Bangalore. And so he used to come and work alongside. The three of us who are others three other Founders were looking at this space and we had to go and pitch to a VC and as you're going to the VC to pitch we said but who could be position as a CEO we looked around and said Ganesh. He was not even part of the force of a suddenly. But he knew the story everything a brainstorm with you.That's how we recruited him and he became the 4th founder rest is history. We went and raised money. The idea was to build a company.When we started the idea was going to support internet startups. That we would sit here in India and deliver that support for them. And then we started to pitch and go to the US to pitch various companies. But that was also the time when we had the first internet bust. So by the time we used to go for the second pitch companies would no longer be there. So literally companies which are ready to give us business. just shut down and it was quite a traumatic experience for us. We had zero business the world theses was gone. So we had to go back to the drawing board and determine what they would be. And that's how we set up the BPO company because that's that was a direction that some of the other startups are moving. So we decided that we would set up a call center very difficult at that time because the Indian infrastructure was very rudimentary at that time. So it was challenging. But anyway, we set it up but what was also important to note that what he raised for was for an internet start-up that we needed money for was call center services, which was a very much more capital intensive. So there was a mismatch in that but anyway did a decent job we built the business and we also had September 11 hit us really hard and we were just about to close around when September 11th happened. So we were literally out of money, but we weathered that everybody stuck with us and we built a business and then sold it to ICICI two years later and After exiting that I went back to a corporate role with Tesco and set up this Hindustan service center in India as founding CEO and all their outsourced offshore technology and business processes were set up over here the very interesting five years very different kind of company had done no outsourcing whatsoever. Everything was done in the house in London and new London so from that for that company to take some really core and we decided this. not to go for the low hanging call center and basic data processing. None of that is it will take things which matter and only those we will bring otherwise all this effort is not worth it. So we brought in very complicated technology pieces which were the heart and soul of the company including things like supply chain management, etc for a retail company. That's really the heart building designing stores determining how to lay out various stores. Where should store be set how should they be designed that those kind of things a lot of financial processes. Those are the things that we brought into India and set up this way to see in Bangalore spend five years and then got back into being a star in the startup space again with Tutorvista Ganesh had already started to TutorVista at that time and it was about a year and half down the road that they were and I joined them as a co-founder to look at the India aspect of Tutorvista. So Tutorvista was doing at that time was predominantly US and the UK facing company providing online tutoring services using Indian teachers or the students in that space whilst was going very well, but we said what should be the India model and we realize that the same model in India was not going to work because it is this and this was 2008. Yeah, 2008 internet penetration is still quite poor and not enough. To do sustainable business, which was completely, you know internet or mobile penetration had also not taken of the way it is today. So we decided not to go down with the online tutoring route in India. But what we did was to see where is the money being spent in the education sector so looked at a completely different route for India said Okay first, let's look at schools. What does schools need? How do we improve the quality of education in schools? Using technology. So that was the primary focus that we started with. So towards that end. He acquired a small company called Edurite which had a lot of digital content and you know, Srikanth Iyer of course, he came on board along with that and so together we then built that out and at peak we had before we sold the company. I don't think about 4,000 odd schools across the country were using our platform, which is a combination of content and technology,infrastructure, so that was a that was one piece. Then we looked at outside of school tutoring and said looked at what kind of spaces that and is there a technology play there and set up for tutoring centers will detoriate tutorials. Then as you are doing this you said, you know, but we've learned a lot around this how about that? We look at the schools as a whole and that's when the setting up of schools came up and we created a school management capability and offering. So that there was the entire educational aspect of it. How should the curriculum redesign? How should the teaching be done? How do teachers be train? How do teachers be managed? Then? Of course, running this school structure and admin part of it and the financial part put all these three capabilities together and started to run schools. So we did not invest in the physical infrastructure of the school. So we would partner with people who had either existing schools and they wanted to They improve the quality of the school drastically and he would come in and do the school management for them. Just like you know, what are all the hotel management business work like that? You know you married comes in puts its entire management on somebody else's infrastructure. So school building would be somebody's and we ran the school for this. Yeah, the entire people to encourage everything including the education marketing admin. The whole works is ours. Yeah, so we had about 35 schools and with over 35,000 students across all these schools was the size of what we were doing and then 2011 be sold the company to Pearson and we continue to work and for two more years until 2013. We had a lock-in and we worked through the transition and handed over the business to Pearson completely in 2013 and exited.Got it.Wah.