Monica Malhotra Kandhari is managing director of the Delhi-based education conglomerate, MBD Group (MBDG, estb.1956), arguably the largest publishing house in India with a print run of 5 million books per day — mainly education textbooks for schools in most state languages. A graduate of Delhi’s Jesus & Mary College, Kandhari is the elder daughter of the late Ashok Kumar Malhotra, founder of MBDG who began working for the group soon after graduation and was appointed CEO after her father’s demise in 2009, and managing director in 2016. Together with her sister Sonica, joint managing director, Kandhari manages several businesses of the MBD Group which include ICT infrastructure, hospitality, real estate, malls development and management.
Newspeg. Last September, the Federation of Indian Publishers conferred four awards for Excellence in Book Production 2016 upon the MBD Group. More recently, an MBDG press release announced that the conglomerate has invested Rs.50 crore for producing AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) learning programmes for K-12 schools across the country.
MBD Group. Undoubtedly, under the leadership of the late Ashok Kumar Malhotra, who began his career as owner of a small book shop in Jalandhar (Punjab) 60 years ago, and his daughters, MBDG has flowered into a major publisher of school texts and guide books. The company which claims there’s an “MBD product for every literate person”, is fully integrated backwards (paper manufacturing, printing) and forward (distribution and retail) and has established a presence in three continents, 30 countries and 5,000 cities publishing 50 million texts and exam prep books in nine printing presses across India. Moreover, under the leadership of the two sisters MBDG has ventured into digital education products and services, education apps development, digital learning, teacher training, English language labs and skills development.
Direct talk. “My father’s dream was to develop MBDG into an end-to-end education publishing group of companies. During his lifetime, he engineered several backward and forward integration initiatives into paper manufacturing, printing and distribution. After his passing, my sister and I have ventured into new digital technologies such as e-learning, m-learning, 3-D, skills development and teacher training,” says Kandhari.
Future plans. To meld with prime minister Narendra Modi’s skills development and Make in India programmes, the group launched its MBD skills programme to bridge the demand-supply gap of skilled manpower in education, hospitality and entrepreneurship. “Our target is to provide skills training to 1 million people by 2022. But our heart is in education and we want to produce affordable books and learning services in more languages to schools affiliated with all 34 examination boards countrywide,” says Kandhari.
Power to the sisterhood!
Autar Nehru (Delhi)