Advisor, Rwanda – India Entrepreneurship Development Centre, Kigali, Rwanda
Prof Piyush Kumar Sinha has over 40 years of academic and managerial experience in Retailing, Sales, Business Strategy and Service. He has extensive work in Research and Training, as well as Advisory in domains such as IT, Luxury and Lifestyle, Retailing and E-commerce, and Healthcare. As Director, CRI Advisory and Research, he is advising companies, especially SMEs to move to the next orbit. He has also served on boards of companies in the areas of energy, fintech, agritech, IT and BoP empowerment.
Born in Patna, he had an early education in Marhawra, Bihar, and holds a PhD in Marketing. Prof. Piyush joined XIMB in 1989 which become a top-notch school within two years. Wanting to share his knowledge and insight with others, he published a couple of articles and a book on Marketing that received a phenomenal response. He then worked as a professor in IIM Bangalore and offered courses of Services Marketing for MBA students; this was a new concept and was offered for the first time in India.
Prof. Piyush felt like he could do more and make a difference to many, so he moved to be the first full-time faculty with MICA, leading it to become a top-notch Business Communication School. It continues to maintain that position to date. Between 1995 and 1999, he served as a Marketing Head for Gujrat Gas and Rasna; during his tenure with them, he set new benchmarks in customer service. Prof Piyush decided to end his sabbatical and joined MICA as their Dean and began a new course on retail communication, yet another first in the country.
Moving to new horizons, Prof. Piyush joined IIMA as a professor of Marketing and taught at the institute. He offered a course to the MBA students on Retail Management, another first, published a book on Retailing, which is still one of the best-selling textbooks in the category. Prof. Piyush led and ran the Centre for Retailing as Chairperson for 17 years; it was a freshly conceptualised idea and the first of its kind in the country. During this time, he published pathbreaking papers and was well known for his research that hinted at how the Indian Retailing Industry would evolve.
Dedicating his life to working with new ventures or taking the existing companies to the next orbit, Prof Piyush began his association as the Chief Mentor with EDII in 2018 for one of the first and the most extensively distributed rural ecosystems project of GOI, a countrywide project on developing rural entrepreneurial ecosystem. At present, he is an advisor to Rwanda – India Entrepreneurship Development Centre at Kigali, Rwanda.
Prof. Piyush was happy being a professor, learning and winning in the corporate world, with over 100 training and advisory initiatives. But a new dimension in life opened when some of his students took to entrepreneurship in Bihar. Since 2006 he has mentored many start-ups, helped set up incubation centres, and created entrepreneurial ecosystems for the rural poor.
Prof. Piyush is entrepreneurial in all his assignments and practises entrepreneurship within the organisations he has served by creating resources, taking the uncharted path and being innovative. He always thought that he could do better and do more; hence he kept moving to higher grounds.
Prof. Piyush never found it challenging to maintain a Work-Life balance because of the rock-solid support from his wife and children. They stood by him emotionally and spiritually in every challenging initiative. Prof. Piyush was also blessed with team members that shared the same ethos. He is passionate about his work and gives his best, igniting the minds of those associated with creating value for their stakeholders. His openness to new ideas, inclusivity, trust in team members and excellence in multi-tasking is the secret to his success.
Like many of us, the pandemic did have an impact on Prof. Piyush, but it didn’t stop him from achieving what he set out to do. He asked companies to innovate, digitise, be value-driven than just price, and focus on the company’s whole value chain and its customers. Many of his students hold responsible positions worldwide, and several entrepreneurs that he has mentored are creating wealth and employment.
Prof. Piyush was felicitated for his contributions by the current Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, who was the Chief Minister of Gujarat back then. He believes his real Awards lie in his contribution to shaping minds, developing a thought process that will help them boost their self-confidence in the most uncertain situations. Prof. Piyush’ mantra in life is to enjoy the journey, keep setting milestones along the way, stay grounded and hold your head high.