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iLEAD pioneer: Pradip Chopra

EducationWorld March 2024 | EducationWorld People
-Baishali Mukherjee (Kolkata)
iLEAD pioneer: Pradip Chopra

Chopra (centre): new-age study programmes

Co-founder of the Kolkata-based PS Group of Companies with interests in real estate, Pradip Chopra is also chairman of the Institute of Leadership Entrepreneurship & Development (iLEAD, estb.2010) — a CSR initiative of the PS Group — established with a capital outlay of Rs.50 crore and built over a 175,000 sq ft campus.

iLEAD has an aggregate enrolment of 2,029 students and 64 faculty, and offers 23 affordable new age undergrad and three postgrad study programmes in business management, science and humanities (annual tuition fee: Rs.100,000).

Newspeg. With the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 strongly advocating experiential learning, Chopra was inspired to build futuristic youth hostels to enable students to learn through affordable domestic tourism.

“Youth hostels built by the Central and state governments are neither well-designed nor well-maintained. Looking at this demand-supply gap, we have decided to invest Rs.12 crore to construct youth hostels of high quality. Two such hostels, one at Murshidabad, once the capital of Bengal during Mughal rule, and the second one in the Sundarbans — the world’s largest mangrove forest — are under construction and will be completed in 2025,” says Chopra.

History. A chemistry graduate of St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata, Chopra began his career assembling television sets and manufacturing plastic goods. In the millennium year, he was awarded the prestigious Plasticon 2000 award of Plast Indian Foundation for developing Eco-wud, an eco-friendly wood substitute manufactured from solid waste. Moreover, iLEAD was recognised as the second most eco-friendly building in the country by the Housing and Urban Development Corporation Limited (HUDCO).

In 2010, the PS Group promoted iLEAD to provide world-class business management and science education at affordable cost. “Our objective was to build an affordable B-school in Kolkata as a model education institution,” says Chopra.

Direct talk. “The job market is improving in West Bengal, especially in advanced industries. But there is a dearth of professionals in these sectors of the economy. Our students have an edge in these sectors because of their robust and holistic training provided by iLEAD,” says Chopra.

This assertion is supported by the institute’s placements record. Every year 75 percent of graduates are successfully recruited by blue-chip corporations such as PwC, TCS, Airtel, Eskay Movies, Adani, Reliance, Stanford Seed, ITC, Zolo Stays, British Telecom and Everest Industries.

Future plans. In January, iLEAD introduced The Stanford Seed Transformation Program (SSTP) to strengthen its business model, and has set its sights on transforming into a fully-fledged university with an aggregate enrolment of 5,000 students by 2026. “Under SSTP, we will introduce business transformation workshops and modules for top management to mid-level executives working in HR, accounts and other departments of iLEAD to prepare them for the transformation. This state has hitherto been a laggard in industry development. We intend to play a major role in Bengal’s restoration to its former glory of the 18th and 19th centuries,” says Chopra.

God speed!

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