An inspiring Success Story SBA - Open Minds, a Birla School, Patna

When Alok is not busy with his work, you can find him reading or updating his blog. The walls of his office and home boast eloquently of some of his finest paintings. Aman on the other hand is active in sports and loves football and gymnastics.

Besides, both brothers love to travel together to Leh and Himachal for vacations and dream of travelling to Siberia and climbing Mt Everest someday! Truly amazing how this brother duo double up as hard core entrepreneurs beyond their leisure hours. Alok Kumar Sinha, Chairman, and Aman Kumar Sinha, Director, SBA - Open Minds, A Birla School, have moved forward due to just two basic ingredients, a great vision and tons of drive. Hailing from a business family, Alok and Aman grew up with the dream of making it big in the business world. Their schooling in Nainital has made them what they are as individuals and that phase contributed most to their personalities.

quot;We are thankful to our parents because if they hadn’t made this kind of education available to us, we would have still been living a life bereft of big dreams or plans,quot; says elder brother Alok. It was indeed a very emotional and golden moment when they met the industrialist Yash Birla himself. quot;That moment actually was very emotional and still remains our life’s best experience. My mother will one day see all her hard work and sacrifices transforming our dreams into reality. If we are worth a few pages here, it’s only because of her. The kind words of Yash Birla touched me, as he said we are getting this project because he found us to be honest, transparent and outspoken,quot; says Alok in his emotional confession.

" ‘Our finances are in good shape and for the first session we are expecting around 200 admissions.’ "

Aman, the younger of the two has been instrumental in converting the ambitious project into reality. quot;He is down-to-earth, soft spoken and his qualities of leadership impress me,quot; says Alok. Aman says quot;My brother is a great planner, analyzer and forecaster and that helps me greatly to execute all plans successfully.quot; In their operation, Aman handles the construction and finances and supervises the day-to-day affairs of the school, while Alok looks after the growth and promotion of the brand.

Together they form a winning combination that works. They plan to make Patna Birla school world class in every aspect and already feel the huge responsibility and challenge. quot;We have Birlas as our partner, what more can one ask for? We desperately wait for Yash Birla himself to come to Patna for the inauguration of the campus when it is completed,quot; says Aman wistfully.

quot;Most people are surprised to see us have our own school and doubly so when they get to know about us young people being behind this project. I personally believe if you have quality, you will shine and people will see you. Where you reach in life and how you make an impact is what matters,quot; says Alok. quot;We are mistaken for twins by many and we look into the mirror to see if we really look identical,quot; laughs Alok. They think on the same lines and react in similar ways, giving the same expressions and mouthing the same words a synchrony that strengthens their personal and professional bond. quot;Aman respects me like a father and for me he is my son,quot; shares Alok fondly.

" ‘I personally believe if you have quality, you will shine and people will see you.’ "

It’s Alok who is closer to their mother Smt. Malti Sinha. The brothers got married two years back. Their ancestral house in Danapur is a place they cherish the most and the entire family gathers there often to spend quality time together.

Alok draws inspiration from his great grandfather Late Sipahi Bhagat, after whom they have named the project. A part of his life is part of a research work, ‘The North Indian Peasant Goes to Market,’ written by Leon Swartzberg Jr. of Columbia University, USA, in 1960. He has made a deep impact on Danapur with his charity work spreading as far as Patna and beyond. Starting his business with Rs 50 borrowed from his mother, within a short span of time turned it into a thriving one named Sipahi Bhagat Dairy. Also a school for charity runs under the name of Sipahi Bhagat Middle School. quot;We later plan to do some serious social work too,quot; shares a proud Alok. quot;The days spent in New Delhi for higher education, helped further in our grooming and we enjoyed that phase a lot.

Since we have lived a hard life with struggle at each step, we decided to change things back home and return to our roots,quot; confides Alok. quot;I was touring Shimla when Aman called me to say Birla Edutech Group wanted to meet us. It was heavy rains in Mumbai and not knowing the city, I somehow changed at the Iskcon temple and took an auto to reach the venue. After multiple rounds of meetings with Birla Edutech representatives I was alone and completely stressed out. It was a tough task convincing them but Aman had placed immense faith in me and I did not want to disappoint him. It’s almost like everything was at stake. Finally on the last day the meeting was successful and we entered into partnership with the Yash Birla Groupquot;.

" ‘Since we have lived a hard life with struggle at each step, we decided to return to our roots.’ "

They attribute their success to their father Arjun Kumar Sinha. quot;I remember those days when we travelled and lived with lots of difficulties. It is in the last few years that I have realized the importance of lessons learnt the hard way. Today, we respect money and good times and till today my dad uses his Fiat and scooter of 80’s and mother hires rickshaw, though we have a Safari and Benz. Their simplicity impresses and keeps us grounded with our values and we are still the same as we were earlier,quot; says Alok.

" ‘There is nothing as great as to follow your own dreams.’ "

His eyes are clear and steady as he confesses, quot;Our finances are in good shape and for the first session we are expecting around 200 admissions. We have also planned to open Birla Play Schools in Patna, and most probably the group will want us to handle it as well.quot; When asked what message he would like to give to people his age, he says, quot;There is nothing as great as to follow your own dreams. You have to discover your talent and find the right career. Never forget your roots and traditional values and most importantly never lose heart. There were many instances where we felt that we could lose this project but I never backed out, not for even once,quot; signs off a confident Alok.