Nikhil Garg, Consultant BCG and Co Founder, Wonder Learning
Nikhil Garg, Co-Founder of Wonder Learning and a consultant at BCG, has had more life experience than many people put together.
Nikhil Garg, Co-Founder of Wonder Learning and a consultant at BCG, has had more life experience than many people put together. From moving countries every 3 years as a kid, to living in a tiny Guatemalan house for over a month, he’s constantly on the move, literally and figuratively.
Wonder Learning is a simple idea brought into fruition by the dynamic Nikhil Garg and his co-founder. It aims to enable people to learn career digital and analytical tools from advanced students, thereby making it pocket-friendly. Wonder Learning also ensures that all classes are held live, to create ease of interaction and the possibility for queries.
We had a fascinating conversation with him about his adrenaline-filled life, his constant need to do something and Wonder Learning.
On why he chose consulting
“So like any typical millennial, I came out of undergraduate not knowing what I wanted to do. I had no knowledge of economics and finance. I tried an internship in consulting and I loved it. I thought it was a great way for me to get exposed to many different types of industries, many different types of clients and companies. And that’s the experience I got at BCG. And still I carry that experience. So in short, it allowed me to explore different industries, different types of companies. And it’s also made me realize that I really like consumer goods and retail.”
Nikhil went back to consulting at BCG even after having started Wonder Learning. Not only did he want to come back to South East Asia, he also felt like his consulting career wasn’t over. “I still want to experiment and try new things. And that’s why I wanted to go back. It’s really rebuilding that network that’s back there. It’s again, going back and really getting industry specific knowledge in terms of consumer goods and retail. I want to be consumer facing. And that’s why I think going back to BCG is something that I want to do right now.”
On how technology is changing industries and consulting
“Consulting companies are no longer just strategy based,” says Nikhil. Companies these days are going beyond consulting to become vertically integrated with businesses and offer them products and solutions such as marketing or IT. With the advent of technology, this is getting bigger and the scope of consulting firms is widening.
More industry-specific, say in FMCG, Nikhil sees a shift towards direct to consumer marketing. There is a whole online-offline setup that is fuelling customer loyalty and modifying behaviour. He stresses on the importance of creating an experience and connecting the two mediums.
“Everything is combining into one, where consumers are, sometimes they may browse and shop for the best price online, but they may go to the store to actually purchase. So how do you actually deliver that connected experience both online and offline? In a very seamless way that may be a store manager knows that, hey, you actually looked at this online. I know your profile. Maybe I can show you the products that matter to you. Because customers really want that connected, seamless experience that says, OK, this company knows everything about me and can offer me that tailored solution.”
He talks further about creating an experience out of every product type, to engage with customers and provide unparalleled convenience.
“For example, we have smart mirrors that are starting to come up in stores where you don’t have to go to a changing room. You can actually see right away in the mirror and flick through – ok this shirt looks good for me, this doesn’t. If you can then incorporate what’s in your wardrobe and start to recommend these are the sort of clothes that’ll work for you, you’re creating this new experience. And I like to think millennials are all about experiences these days rather than possessions.”
On Wonder Learning
Nikhil is quick to point out the acute lack of employable training in educational institutions. People need to be abreast with digital marketing, analytical tools et cetera. And the only channels providing these are some courses online which may not be suitable for people starting from scratch, or really expensive propositions. Wonder Learning aims to bridge that gap.
“So how do you really focus on that B2C market, make it affordable? And that’s what our problem statement is about. And the way we’re solving this is – you don’t need an expert in the industry who’s been teaching for 15, 20 years. You can actually take a Masters, PhD student or an early young working adult to teach you. As long as you provide them with the right content, It’s very interactive, very personalized. Keep the group sizes small and offer these classes either both in a live setting or in terms of an online live setting. But everything is live. That’s the key critical thing.”
Nikhil is also humble about Wonder Learning’s mistakes. He thinks that they spread the net too wide in the beginning. They were offering almost anything that could be learned and then realized that it was impossible to define their customers. This led to problems in marketing and they decided to narrow their focus to digital analytical tools.
He has also learnt the hard way that some things simply cannot be outsourced. He advises recognizing the core competencies and work areas of the business and then performing a trade-off analysis. Things that are absolutely critical to the functioning of the business must be kept in house.
On living outside his comfort zone
“I’m an adrenaline junkie, as you can tell, with me moving around every three years in different countries. I don’t like sitting still. I like being active and I get a huge kick out of it. I think a good example is scuba diving. Scuba diving is almost meditative in a sense, because you completely disconnect from the rest of the world. There’s no gadgets. There’s nothing, it’s just you, the water, you hear your breathing and it’s a whole new world out there. And that just keeps me going. I always think about even when I’m working, what’s my next holiday? What’s my next plan? Because I look forward to these trips. And if you feel like if you’re not looking forward to something, what’s driving you? What keeps you going? And that’s that’s a big driver for me.”
He has not only participated in adventure sports, but also backpacked solo across Central America. He classifies this as the most outrageous thing he has ever done.
“I was 21 at the time, just graduated from undergrad, and I’ve always had in the back of my mind that I want to experience what it’s like to just travel by yourself, expose yourself to a country where you don’t know the language. I knew very little Spanish, but I wanted to live in a house for one and a half months in a Guatemalan home and see what it’s like to just take yourself outside of your comfort zone. I’ve been very lucky and privileged to have had all the comforts. And I just want to know what that feels like to give me perspective. I mean, it truly was an eye opening experience for me. I think it taught me as well that it’s so easy to be happy. It’s easy to get caught up in all the big things around you. I was very scared, obviously, going there in terms of what am I doing, why am I doing this? But I look back and I always think about that specific moment and that just grounds me back to reality to say I appreciate what you have, appreciate what’s around you. And also just don’t forget that it’s also important to give back.”
- Consultant with BCG
- McGill, London Business School; Studied in Indonesia and Amsterdam,
- Founder of Wonder Learning