Discover Studying Abroad

Learn On, Dude: with Skillhippo's Raghuveer Malik

There are those who think life is just academics, and there are those who think life is just about having fun. Ever thought about blending the two for the perfect life balance?
BY Braingain Staff Writer |   16-07-2013

There are those who think life is just academics, and there are those who think life is just about having fun. Ever thought about blending the two for the perfect life balance? Well in Delhi, Mumbai, and Surat, now you can – through the offerings of Skillhippo, a company that dabbles in the art of providing, in their words, ‘skill-seekers with skill-masters’. Here you can learn anything from how to gain admissions to a top MBA program, be a premier athlete, to how to shuffle a pack of cards perfectly. 
Braingainmag caught up with a man who is already well versed in the art of life-long skills learning, Raghuveer Malik, CEO and one of the co-founders of Skillhippo. Malik has himself studied at St. Stephens College Delhi, the London School of Economics and Warwick University in the U.K., and has worked in corporate banking, picking up a host of useful talents along the way.
So on to that skill-seeker pairing with skill-master analogy we are reminded of the Karate Kid. If we were to quote Mahatma Gandhi before jumping, perhaps slightly fearfully, into an extreme martial arts session, we’d be uttering his words, Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. What better reminder could that be for getting on with the life-long learning thing?

Here's what Malik had to tell us about learning on.

1.   What is the purpose of Skillhippo - what kind of education are you are offering?

We observed people around us failing to take that one small step, that one important investment that would make the difference between enriching their lives with usable and exciting new skills, and instead sitting in front of the TV with a packet of chips…again!

Every individual is a skill seeker in some way, and we figured it was just the lack of information, transparency and simplicity of searching for a passion they didn’t know they had or an opportunity to take a class they didn’t know was offered nearby. So was developed to allow skill masters to create classes easily, providing all the relevant information, and the socially integrated platform allows skill seekers to connect through using simple search filters.

2.   What prompted you to be a part of the founding team for this venture?

Having always been passionate about learning; be it mathematics, economics, poker, the saxophone, business, finance or even a beginners cooking class from my mother, I realized that there is a lot to learn outside the space of the traditional classroom.

More importantly, ‘we’, the founders at all came together at the same time – Akshay Verma, Sambuddha Bhattacharya and myself – who all met at St. Stephens. We all had broadly the same realization that amongst our circles, everyone is either a skill seeker or a skill master or both. And more often than not, that passion is not being fulfilled or the talent remains dormant.

It takes a well-rounded and broad based team with the right intentions and tremendous discipline to convert an idea into a vision and subsequently into a fully functional and scalable business. That is what I believe we struck and I haven’t looked back since.

3.   What’s your own background, pre-Skillhippo?

I completed my undergraduate degree in Mathematics from St. Stephens College in 2007 and along the way also became an executive council member of the dramatics society (Shakespeare Society), completed internships with the Centre for Science and Environment, Hindustan Times, Outlook Money, NDTV & FCB Ulka. I followed this up with a diploma in Economics from LSE & Masters in Finance & Economics from Warwick Business School whilst working part time in the field of venture philanthropy and online gaming and also picking up skills such as cooking for survival and poker for leisure!

I also worked as a trainee with the Planning Commission of India for four months, gaining an insight into policy and politics. And then spent three years in Corporate Banking at Yes Bank, and for the last twelve months it’s been!

4.   Did studying abroad offer you something extra you couldn't have gained in India?

The exposure of sitting in a classroom with fifteen plus nationalities and living with people whose customs you don’t understand, but over time adjust to, is fantastic and something I’ll treasure forever. The scope to learn about different people, their habits, their likes and dislikes while simultaneously discovering networks I never thought existed was definitely worth it.

More importantly though; I think I developed a better understanding of the global perspectives on diversities and differences in opinions and mannerisms. This drove home the larger point, that in spite of these characteristic and oft exaggerated diversities the interconnected, tech savvy and somewhat privileged era we live in (largely when viewed in comparison to preceding ones) is an enabler for deeper thought and greater learning. And yes, the classroom education was useful too!

5.   What are your favourite offerings on skillhippo right now?

Capoeira 101 (a Brazilian art form which mixes dance and martial arts), Scuba Diving and the Delhi Food Walk. I know that the Intro to Flair Bartending is co-founder Akshay’s favourite course (he completed a mixology course at Columbia University, so this adds to his social repertoire!) and our third co-founder, Sambuddha, actually teaches one of the best Excel courses I’ve sat in on and has attended (and loved) a Bhangra Cardio workout class! has something for everyone.

6.   If you were 16 again, what do you think you would have taken time to learn beyond the classroom?

Skillhippo MBA Admissions Class in Mumbai

I would definitely invest my time in some strength and endurance building classes (Crossfit Training, Capoiera, Boxing, Kickboxing, etc.), and maybe some dance lessons (Salsa and Tango). I believe that investing in anything of value adds to our mind and body and can take us a long way, especially as the craziness of life begins to overtake.

7.   Expansion plans?

We are already in 3 cities (Delhi, Mumbai and Surat) with a strong pipeline for growth in these cities and 5 more.

Of course, we're gearing up to take our services to new cities within and outside India – initial discussions are underway but we're taking it cautiously - one thing at a time!


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