Hoya Highlight: Gaurav Malik (MBA'12)

Gaurav Malik

Co-Founder & CEO, nClass

Describe your company, nClass, and the problem it’s trying to solve in classrooms around the world:

In classrooms around the world, students come to learn and instructors work hard to enable this learning. Our goal is to enrich the classroom experience for both students and instructors: turn the learners from passive listeners to active participants, increase engagement and, in the process, enhance learning. The lecture as we have known it for several decades is undergoing change. For learning to be effective, we need a more interactive learning experience. We provide various mechanisms to do this via nClass.

What inspired you to leave the corporate world and become an entrepreneur?

I have always had an entrepreneurial bent, but I might have been too risk-averse. After working in the tech industry for many years, I decided to get an MBA. While in business school, as I built new skills and was exposed to diverse faculty, classmates and inspiring guest speakers, I realized I wanted to take the entrepreneurship route rather than looking for a move up the corporate ladder.

What has been the most challenging aspect of your career and how did you overcome it? (Or what are you doing to try and overcome it?)

I enjoy multi-tasking so I do not mind wearing multiple hats and have several things going on in parallel. Time management is a big challenge right now, and I am always looking for improvements in this area.

Whom do you consider to be your influencers?

Several, but a few that I regularly follow and would highlight are Mark Cuban, Reid Hoffman, Richard Branson and Tim Brown.

What was the most useful piece of career advice you ever received?

You can be a good manager, but it takes lot more courage, beliefs and values to become a good leader. Another one which is especially important for younger people is that money is not everything.

What professional organizations or associations support you in your professional development?

During my engineering and computer science education and early career, the organizations were IEEE and ACM. For project management and Agile Scrum, I am part of PMI and Scrum Alliance. There have been several professional organizations around entrepreneurship and networking that have been helpful as well. I am a knowledge seeker, and Georgetown Alumni Career Services has been an excellent source of knowledge (e.g. webinars) and networking opportunities.

What characteristics or skills do you feel are necessary for one to possess to excel in your industry?

In entrepreneurship, especially in education, one must be very patient as it takes time to establish yourself and things move slowly. I also believe that when you actively listen to your customers then everything else starts to fall into place.

How do you think your time at Georgetown affected your professional decisions?

The values of Georgetown about “educating the whole person” are very true in every classroom here. In addition, the entrepreneurship program is one of the best - ranging from advisors, competitions and inspiring speakers, so having this exposure at the business school has been very valuable. Frankly, my time at Georgetown encouraged me and gave me the confidence to start my own venture. The support system is incredible here.

What’s a phrase, motto or quote that you find yourself saying to yourself or your team constantly to keep momentum going?

Always deliver more than expected, and do not be scared to experiment. Fail quickly and learn from it.

What’s next for nClass?

We have been in use in various classrooms spread across four continents, so we plan to continue building out the product. It is about the journey—and the destination will show up eventually.