Empowering Students Through Interdisciplinary Learning

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Ritesh Hada, Founding President of Karnavati University and The Managing Trustee of Karnavati Medical & Educational Trust

Mr. Ritesh Hada, Promoter & Managing Director of United Group, currently operates in the
division of Education, FMCG, Hospitality, and Textiles. He is the president of Karnavati University, a reputable private university located in Gujarat with 8 prestigious institutes and over 8500 students on campus.
Over the last 20 years, on the quest to achieving sustained growth, Mr. Hada established and
directed various corporate operations including, finance, business process optimization, innovation, investor relations and more.

Under his directive guidance, Karnavati University has enhanced education standards through research-driven coursework and technological advancements in the classroom.

Additionally, Mr. Hada oversees the task of corporatizing United Group by initiating procedures as well as selecting qualified individuals for the management team.

A number of students in various professional education streams flock to United Group and Karnavati University because of their unparalleled growth model and competitive edge. United Group offers immense value for all of its stakeholders by upholding the highest standards of corporate governance and business ethics.

The education industry recognizes Mr. Hada as a thinking leader who has been crucial in transforming the country’s design education landscape from a government-dominated sector to one that is led by professional institutes.

Mr. Hada is a true advocate of startup culture in India. He established the first-ever defense
incubation system at Karnavati University, also known as the Defense Design and Technology
incubator of India. Moreover, he heads the Karnavati Innovation Incubation Foundation, a
parallel ecosystem at Karnavati University.

In more recent times, Karnavati University has launched a string of national events such
as Ahmedabad Design Week and the Youth Parliament of India, in which students from across
the country have participated. Additionally, Mr. Hada is actively involved in SIS Prep, Edumystic
Global (the United Group’s international education arm), and the board of United PolyFab Gujarat
Ltd, a fabric manufacturing company.

Tell us about your journey (personal & professional), when you started your journey in this education industry and what is the future plan.

Back in my early twenties, I had a vision of creating an institution which would have a strong
contribution to the world in various aspects. With that in mind, I tried out various avenues which
took me a few steps towards the path of achieving it. Despite, facing challenges as an inexperienced candidate in the corporate world, it was a risk worth taking.

After having rolled down a handful of enterprising ventures by the age of twenty-two, I realized that the education sector was the best fit and suited my temperament and personality.

After that epiphany, there was no looking back, and it has been an exciting and treasured journey so far. The first milestone in my journey was the Karnavati School of Dentistry, which brought my vision to life as it offered the right opportunity. Looking back, it feels as like it was just yesterday that I was shuttling places to give KSD the life that I had envisioned. Over the last 15 odd years, five more institutions converging various other disciplines such as Business, Law, Design, Liberal Arts and Mass Communication and Computational Intelligence have followed suit under the vibrant and all-encompassing umbrella of Karnavati University. I am elated at the way things have turned out and how it continues to enable thousands of young Indian students to explore, discover and pursue their career dreams.

Apart from this core effort, I have been blessed to draw a fair bit of success in the hospitality,
textile and FMCG sectors over the last decade. I hope to contribute much more to the economy and the society in the coming years.

As far as the future is concerned, I wish to create more opportunities, particularly in the area of academia across more disciplines around the globe, Canada and London being two main geographies which have been under serious consideration for my expansion plans.

Share an insight, if you have faced any challenges while running your organization. What inspired you to get into this industry?

I believe that challenges decide the mettle of a person and the quality of an institution. Karnavati University is one of the fastest growing private Universities of India, and maintaining the momentum to keep pace with the changing world of academics is a perennial challenge.

However, instead of considering it as a challenge, I have built this habit of treating it as congenial ally, one that will keep me on my toes and inspire relentlessly to keep moving forward despite all odds. Whether it is the students, the faculty or the parents’ community, a wholesome effort to secure and nurture the personal intellectual and emotional health and balance of all stakeholders have always been at the forefront of my goals. On similar lines, any change in the external environment always demands a significant restructuring or realigning of the internal atmosphere. Right from adjustments in curriculum to enhancement of infrastructure, the pedagogy and technology, Karnavati University has always strived to stay handsomely ahead of
its challenges.

As I had mentioned earlier, my vision to chart out a meaningful and productive roadmap whereby all stakeholders, especially the brilliant and creative young minds of India are able to generate a significant and effective impact on the society and the economy is what has driven me in the world of education

Being an educational leader, what message would you like to give? Your motivational mantra?

Think, plan, act, deliver: These four words have been the magical combination which has worked wonders for me. Furthermore, I believe this is applicable universally for all who really want to make their dreams come true.

During the Pandemic, every industry had challenges. What challenges you faced and how you overcome them?

The pandemic brought in a real testing phase for us all, irrespective of the industry or demography. I was no exception, either. If I talk about the University alone, it was a huge task for us. Firstly, to come to terms that an unprecedented event of that magnitude was happening around us. It was an unpleasant new experience for everyone, especially when education was in focus. The classrooms, laboratories, campus and the grounds, all that used to be bustling with the positive energy of students, suddenly wore a deserted and demented look. Then came the whole new regime of working out a new structure of online classes, followed by exams. Whether the world was ready or not, the challenge was one that had to be overcome with everyone’s efforts. Fortunately enough, the students’ fraternity, mentors and faculty coped exceptionally well with the new norms.

Interestingly, we did have some positive takeaways from the Covid pandemic phase. While the campus was under complete lockdown, just as all other academic institutions worldwide, we converted a significant portion of Karnavati University’s premises into a makeshift emergency Covid treatment facility with over a hundred beds. The on-campus staff also made arrangements for huge amounts of packed meals to be distributed among the needy across the city of Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. These were a few ways of how we, as a family, tried to maintain a positive attitude and spread hope and help to everyone around us.

What, according to you, is the advancement in this industry in terms of technology? Do you think adopting such advanced technologies has brought you to this position?

The world is moving ahead at an unprecedented pace. I believe that the best way to stay relevant
is by being intellectually proactive. Today, technology undisputedly leads the way in which
the methodologies of imparting knowledge are judged, by both the people and the industry. Whether it is Hi-tech laboratory infrastructure or machine learning modules, if quality knowledge-sharing is the objective, these elements simply cannot be compromised. At Karnavati
University, I have a sense of accomplishment when I see all the young students learning in the best technologically equipped environment.

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