Basesh Gala was working at Lehman Brothers when the financial crisis hit in 2008. With global markets thrown into turmoil, he sought his MBA at The Ohio State University Max M. Fisher College of Business to change his career track. After graduating, he moved back home to Mumbai, eager to explore the opportunities India had to offer.
He’s now established himself as an entrepreneur, founding his own consulting company, 39 Solutions, in 2014. Over the last three and a half years, the company has helped train thousands of startup entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurship is no easy path, and Basesh has worked hard and learned lessons from failed ventures to create a successful business. Above all, he values the knowledge and experience from his Fisher MBA. For Basesh, the holistic business knowledge provided by an MBA program is vital in the development of any new venture.
How did the idea for 39 Solutions come about?
Initially, after completing my MBA, I worked in the consulting realm on Wall Street. It only took a few months, however, to decide that India had many tactical growth opportunities. With this in mind, I chose to settle back in Mumbai.
At first I had three failed startups in education, waste management and real estate. After 12 months of struggle, however, I realized that there were many talented individuals in the consulting realm, but no organization in the strategy domain for small and medium business. Voila! 39 Solutions was born.
How has your MBA helped you progress as an entrepreneur?
My MBA experience ensured that I was competent in all areas of business management. I got sufficient knowledge and exposure to HR, marketing, sales, branding, finance, accounting, operations and data analytics. As an entrepreneur, in the early stages, you need to do anything and everything for survival.
I was a core member of Fisher Professional Services (FPS), a consulting group within Fisher. FPS presented me opportunities to pitch the business to clients, manage a team, make presentations to a client’s top management, and run FPS as a financially viable project. I would rate my involvement in FPS as the best training ground for my entrepreneurial ambitions.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at Fisher?
When the financial crisis hit in 2008, I was employed with Lehman Brothers and had a strong IT and financial risk background with some experience across the globe. At 24, I was relatively young, but believed I had strong technical skills and business understanding to move to higher management and leadership roles. The MBA seemed the best option for professional growth.
I wanted to gain expertise in strategy and risk management because, post-MBA, I wanted to dabble in business consulting. My research showed that Fisher has one of the best strategy and risk management programs across the globe. I spoke to many alumni, and all of them endorsed Fisher for its helping culture, caring attitude and a truly inclusive learning environment. For me personally, the culture and aura of an organization or institution is very important.
What else stands out about your MBA experience at Fisher?
The Fisher MBA gave me an opportunity to work with a global and diverse team. My classmates included a female American pilot who flew helicopters in Iraq, a German operational and Six Sigma expert, a Japanese Ninja-like fitness professional, and an American over age 45 working in senior management for a Fortune 1,000 organization!