Ankit Aggarwal grew up in Vasant Kunj, a suburb of Delhi, when it resembled a ghost town. After completing his schooling at DAV Public School, Vasant Kunj, he graduated from Jaypee University, Himachal Pradesh, with a BTech in Information Technology, and worked as an associate at Sapient for two years, before joining IMT-Ghaziabad for MBA. It was in his first year at IMT that he began to take part in competitions at other B-schools. “I wanted to participate in competitions to give a practical angle to my knowledge, win prizes and gain pre-placement interviews (PPIs),” he reminiscences. He realised that there was no platform that provide real time information on competitions organised in India or abroad. Whatever information was available was still hard to find. That was when he decided to opt out of the summer placement and incorporate Dare2Compete.com to solve this problem.
To fund his enterprise, Ankit took up a campus job at Deloitte Consulting for a year before getting fully involved in the business. He had a few student loans, but did not think of them as too much of a burden, as he believes that over-thinking an idea will discourage one from taking action. “I actually wanted to do something different since my engineering days, but could not get the ball rolling. I finally mustered the courage while doing my MBA, with the support of my family. I just wanted to challenge and fend for myself. To be frank, I did not even have a business plan,” explains Aggarwal.
Coming from a family of bankers, Aggarwal had an active childhood, and used to play a lot of badminton and cricket. He says, “I do not see kids playing physical games these days. They are mostly on Facebook and their Playstation.” He had a really tough time convincing executives about how competitions can help their companies in branding, recruitment and idea generation. He recounts one of the very first calls to a potential client, where he was told, “You have exactly 30 seconds to pitch me the offering, after which I will drop this call.” He was trying to develop a market that people did not understand and that did not really exist at the time .
Dare2Compete conceptualises, organises and markets competitions, quizzes and simulation games that allow employer branding in campuses, competition-led recruitment, and employee engagement programmes. Clients include Deutsche Bank, MINT newspaper, and the Aditya Birla Group. “Our service is for those who have the spirit to compete, a never-ending thirst for knowledge, and an incessant desire to succeed,” says Ankit about his target audience. Ankit is an inquisitive person and is known to be a good listener with a consultant’s approach to problem solving. He loves sports and catches up on Sportscenter as often as he can.
— The writer is an entrepreneur in the e-learning domain