Cover Story

AFTER BUSINESS HOURS WITH THE BLAZING YOUNG GUNS

5

As I awaited the arrival of Ashish, Namgyal, Dikesh and Karan at the Irish Pub, I went over the conversations I’d planned out in my head. I’d talk to Namgyal about how the tourists were pouring into the country, chat about the Delhi Auto Expo with Karan, lightheartedly taunt Dikesh with my iphone and complain about the lack of concern for hygiene in restaurants with Ashish.

None of that happened. We talked about Mapases, women and why we can’t seem to find Guinness lager anywhere in the market anymore. I guess even the biggest names in the Nepalese business world need some time to unwind and relax. With their hands full in their respective sectors of food, travel tourism, electronics and technology and auto industry, these guys are the faces that need to be recognized by the Nepalese people today.

Here’s why.

1

Ashish Rajbhandari

Building on something from the ground up is a commitment and there are a lot of things that come along with it, not all of which might be as according to plan. But there is rarely any other feeling that compares to the elation of watching a seed you plant grow.

Ashish Rajbhandari, alongside his younger brother Ayush, began a venture of slightly unorthodox proportions. With goals of providing slaughtering services, meat packaging and producing several types of food products based on meat and cereals, Urban Food Industries is making its way up the ladder of success.

CURRENTLY THE CO-CHAIRMAN of Urban Food Meat Products & Fast Food, Ashish Rajbhandari completed his MBA at Webster University Thailand. But his involvement into business began early in his life when he got into the family business of importing mentored by his father.

Simple and subtle, Ashish Rajbhandari is a fun bloke to be around. But there is a more competitive and serious man under the calm façade he sports. “Competition gives “character” to a business. It adds drama, action and entertainment to life. Urban Food is my movie; it is my child!”

An avid lover of football and even more passionate about dogs, Ashish Rajbhandari has his hands full with his startup. Even as a kid, business came as second nature to him, thanks to his family who were well into the business sector. Passionate about his work, Ashish has the innate street smarts you’d expect in a business man.

TNM: What are the businesses that you are involved in and what is your role and responsibilities?

AR: I and my brother Ayush are Chairmen of Urban Food Meat Products & Fast Food. And since this is a start-up, we have the majority of the responsibility.

TNM: You made your first business transaction while others at your age were flicking boogers and watching cartoons. Tell us about it.

AR: I was in kindergarten and I sold chewing gum to one of my friends, for a profit. I think I sold a 5 rupees pack for Rs. 10. Later that day, I went back to my dad and told him I had learned what business is: buy at a lower rate and sell it at a profit. I ended up being scolded, of course, but I bet he was proud of me inside.

TNM: In your company, what changes do you think are necessary? Are you doing anything in particular to bring the change?

AR: Running a new company is like speculative gambling. Every day is a new challenge, where the word “solution” plays the main role. In my business, educating employees regarding health and hygiene and meat falls on our top priority list; because that is what we promise to our customers. Whenever possible, we send them for seminars and other different courses on this subject. We also employ a food technician who helps us to keep us on track.

TNM: What are the major challenges of executing your visions that you face practically?

AR: There are many factors that come into play. Firstly there is the work culture and work ethics, which can act as an obstacle when you are trying to achieve a vision. Then there’s the consumer’s preference and current food trends in the market.

TNM: What are the pros and cons of being brought up in a family dedicated to business?

AR: It is a blessing in disguise, but it has both the good side and the bad.

TNM: Was it always your goal to inherit the family business, or was it an implication due to your family traditions?

AR: I’m sure my family traditions had a lot to do with it.

TNM: Have you ever felt that you were molded to become a businessman but would have fared better in a different occupation/profession?

AR: I believe I was born to think and live Business. The so called “other occupation” never made it into my dictionary.

TNM: What is the one lesson you learned from your father.

AR: To always finish what you start.

TNM: What is your opinion on the youth of Nepal?

AR: The youth are the backbone and the future of any country. The Nepalese youth have a lot of potential but much of it is being utilized abroad. Yes, it is the duty of the Nepalese people and the government to create an environment where people will want to stay in Nepal to earn a living. But the youth of Nepal are the only ones who can make that happen, because they are the people and they are the government. Somebody has to make the sacrifice of bearing the current situations for the sake of the future and I do see young people returning and working in Nepal.

TNM: “By hook or by crook”. How far does this apply in terms of business in Nepal?

AR: It applies in every aspect of the phrase. When in Nepal, do as the Nepalese.

TNM: Rank in order of importance for a business: hard work, vision, strategy, intuition and luck.

AR: Vision, Strategy, Intuition, Hard work, luck.

TNM: Is there any existing business that you think you should have done/ come up with yourself?

AR: Oh! Ostrich farming is definitely one of them. And there are a few other agricultural businesses and animal farming that I would have loved to have done.

TNM: Where and how do you find inspiration?

AR: When I’m sitting on the toilet. It’s funny, but I do get a lot of time to think alone. Haha

TNM: Who is your role model?

AR: My Father, Nishan Rajbhandari.

TNM: What is the importance of balancing work and play? Why is it important?

AR: Well, if you are in the initial phases of whatever you’re doing, you have to devote a lot of hard work and dedication. So, you have to give it a 100%. But, once your business is established you can maybe slack off and have a little fun.

TNM: How good are you in balancing your work and personal life?

AR: Not very good.

TNM: On a scale of 1 to 10 how hardworking would you rate yourself as?

AR: 1+10= 11

TNM: What would you say was your crowning achievement?

AR: When I overheard someone talking about Urban Foods.

TNM: What is the best way to deal with failure and regrets?

AR: Never give up. Keep trying.

TNM: What would you splurge on?

AR: Dogs for sure

TNM: Have you found your significant other?

AR: Yes

TNM: How important of a role does grooming and etiquette play in your life, in both professional and personal aspects?

AR: Grooming goes beyond wearing good clothes and proper etiquette goes beyond being polite. People should not judge you by what you wear and how you speak.

TNM: What would we find in your wardrobe?

AR: Things that you wish you had in your own wardrobe.

2

Dikesh  Malhotra

PRESIDENT OF INTERNATIONAL MARKETING SERVICES PVT. LTD.

Focused and determined to live up to the standards set by his father, Deepak Malhotra, Dikesh was quick off the mark to get things started. After working for a brief period at Samsung Mobiles post his graduation from George Mason University, USA he went to the UK to complete his MBA from the University of East Anglia. Today, he is heading IMS, the National Distributors of Samsung mobile phones as the President of the company. Considering that every other person in the country is holding a Samsung phone, he must definitely be doing something right.

EVEN BEFORE DIKESH entered the company, Samsung had an inherent brand value in Nepal. But it was nowhere near its potential and there were a lots of flaws and gaps in various aspects like time and resource management. Taking matters into his own hands, Dikesh initiated an overhaul that led to a turbulent six months for the company. There were a few employee turnovers, while some felt it was a beginning of a brighter future. By the looks of things, the changes made a positive impact on the company’s image as the brand is stronger than ever before.

Firm and professional, Dikesh still believes that a little discipline goes a long way in business, and he embellishes his beliefs onto his employees. And he leads by example. At the same time, he makes an effort to support the individual growth of every person involved. Step by step, the team at IMS is growing and shaping their efforts to conform to the vision Dikesh has for the company.

Mr. Deepak Malhotra, one of the biggest names in Nepalese Business, has set a high benchmark; nobody knows this better than his son Dikesh. The Malhotra Empire expands to sectors like distribution, hospitals, jewellery, real estate, hydro power, retail, banking etc. Idealising his father, Dikesh has always looked up to him for advice and knowledge from his years of experience and expertise in the Nepalese market. “The reason he has been so successful is because of his open mindedness and knack for doing the right things at the right times and I will not lose out on it just because I want to do things on my own. He is my biggest asset I will always value his advice, especially on major decisions. He’s going to have a busy retirement!”

Dikesh appears to have a vision for IMS which he intends to achieve with the unified efforts of the entire team. Young and resolute, he takes his work seriously, which is apparent when you get to know him. His father’s influence on him is also very clear and he takes immense pride in his lineage. This has imbedded a sense of responsibility in him to carry on the name through him.

TNM: Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?

DM: in Nepal.

TNM: And your business?

DM: Extending overseas

TNM: You are a visionary and you have one set for your company. What are the major challenges of executing your visions that you face practically?

DM: Getting other people to connect to the vision is difficult. People find it difficult to break out of their comfort zones and refrain from doing something different, even if it may seem beneficial in the long run. We are so consumed with the status quo that we lose sight of what we are capable of achieving if we try a little harder. People here under estimate their potential and always find solace in, “Nepal ma kaa esto huncha?”or “bhaihalcha ni”. We will never be able to achieve big goals if we constraint ourselves with our own mentality.

TNM: Was it always your goal to inherit the family business, or was it an implication due to your family traditions? Did you ever feel like you would have fared better at something else?

DM: You can call it my goal, my dream, my responsibility or my fortunate destiny. Whatever it is, I am not one to shy away from what is given to me! I will strive to become the best at whatever I do, which is why I don’t even think about what else I could be good at.

TNM: In your opinion, what is holding Nepal back?

DM: To put it bluntly, I think the government is to blame. There are so many barriers in whatever anyone does in the country, yet there are businesses striving and people doing well. We are all Super- Humans I tell you.

TNM: “By hook or by crook”. How far does this apply in terms of business in Nepal?

DM: Sadly it does to quite an extent as there is corruption everywhere. This is something I hope would change soon.

TNM: What are the most important aspects to keeping up with changing scenarios?

DM: Technology is the driving force behind all successful businesses but true change is rooted in the mindset of the people; but it is ever so dynamic. The human mind is our biggest strength and as long as we are using it to improve ourselves we will continue to survive in these changing scenarios, if not we will be left far behind within a blink of an eye.

TNM: Rank in order of importance for a business: hard work, vision, strategy, intuition and luck.

DM: Vision, Strategy, Hard work, Intuition, Luck

TNM: What is the importance of balancing work and play? Why is it important?

DM: In an ideal world, it would always be perfectly balanced but in reality one outweighs the other most times, either work or play and in my case, maybe work! That does not mean I don’t have fun. I just give more importance to work.

TNM: What is the best way to deal with failure and regrets?

DM: Smile and move on

TNM: Is there a certain philosophy you abide by?

DM: Honesty is the best policy. I never lie and I don’t like being lied to.

TNM: What would you splurge on?

DM: Gadgets! And, maybe an expensive car someday.

TNM: Have you found your significant other?

DM: That’s no secret.

TNM: Which is the most expensive thing you own?

DM: My Car

TNM: What are your typical days off like? What is your idea of a typical weekend?

DM: Fridays I go out with my friends or family. On Saturdays, I check all my emails, play Futsal in the mornings and then rest unless I have an event to get to. I watch a movie with my family, usually the last show, have dinner and go home and play my x-box till late before I sleep

TNM: How important of a role does grooming and etiquette play in your life, in both professional and personal aspects?

DM: It is absolutely important. I always suit up for work. It is my way of showing my work is important to me. My office space deserves respect so I will make an effort to look presentable at work. Also, I have to get to events and meet people unexpectedly, so I don’t like looking shabby.

TNM: What is your take on fashion/style?

DM: It is important to look and feel clean. To be respectful of the people you meet or events you go to. Other than that, I am not big on fashion. My style is descent, sharp formals! Also, if I like a certain brand, I stick with it. I’ve been a CK loyalist for many years.

TNM: What would we find in your wardrobe?

DM: Lots of shirts, formal pants and suits!

3

Karan Chaudhary

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,

CHAUDHARY TOWERS | CHAUDHARY GROUP

Hard work pays off, and in most cases, that is something that one learns from experience. It is a rare occurrence for such morals to materialize in someone who is as young as Karan Chaudhary. When you’re young and trying to make a name for yourself, you have to put in a little extra elbow grease to make things happen. Karan has never shied away from giving it all his effort, and he enjoys the fact that he can do it every day.

Because of his young age, Karan Chaudhary has his work cut out for him. But that does not seem to have fazed his will and confidence in any way. On the contrary, it might just be what is spurring him on to work. Coming to work at 9 and usually there till the wee hours of the night, some would consider Karan a workaholic. And he will have a tough time making a case against these accusations.

BEING PART OF PROBABLY the biggest business family in the country, however, might actually justify his drudgery at the office. The elder son of Arun Chaudhary, Karan has been looking over the family business. With an empire of such massive proportions under the Chaudhary brand, people will be prompt at vouching for the fact that everything was handed to Karan in a silver platter… nay a golden one! This might be entirely true. However, his attitude towards work will provide him with some saving grace. You’ll hardly ever find him wearing anything but his suits or his horse riding apparel. Yes, he is an avid horse rider and found his passion for it 19 years ago. And you thought he was a dull fellow didn’t you?

TNM: What are the pros and cons of being a young gun in the business market of Nepal?

KC: There are a lot of pats on the back and at the same time there are a few downsides. I take pride in the accomplishments that I have made at my age. But people have a tendency to judge you on the basis of your age rather than what you can deliver.

TNM: Is there a certain event or time when you felt you were finally being taken more seriously?

KC: I started proving my worth when I was looking after the accessories market in 2008. Taking the monthly sales turnover of 20,000 to almost 6-8 lakhs per month was a great achievement for me. That is probably when people started taking me as a serious worker. In terms of accessories sale through Maruti, we are the number one in South Asia. Being such a small country, that is really something that makes me proud.

TNM: How would you describe your relation with your employees?

KC: You would have to ask them for that. First off, I don’t consider them as my employees they are my colleagues, because I myself am an employee. I do get my salary, I have to submit my travel claims, I do have my barriers. It’s not any different. However, I do consider myself as a leader because I try to lead everyone to achieve the vision that I have.

TNM: Where do you see yourself and the business in the next 10 years?

KC: I see myself right here in the company because I have no intention of going anywhere else. And the company, I want to see it growing exponentially.

TNM: What is your opinion on change?

KC: Changes are inevitable and it can actually work to your advantage. But, you need to tactically use these changes. Introducing too much of a change can lead to drastic repercussions in a business. Not everyone will have the same opinion as you and you have to reach a general consensus before implementing any changes. I would say that getting everyone on board regarding any change is a better option than spearheading to a decision that you make on your own.

TNM: What is the best thing that is happening in your business right now?

KC: The growth that we have done this year in terms of business is great. Gaining 6% market share in a year in the auto industry is a big deal. Usually a gain of 2-3% would be considered as a very good achievement.

TNM: Being born into a business family, did you ever feel like you were obligated to get into business?

KC: I was never forced into business, for which I’m really grateful to my father. If I might have been forced into it, I might not be doing it after a certain time. But since I found a passion for it by myself, I can’t see myself doing anything but this. It’s not what a typical business family does. I think it was work itself that pulled me into it.

TNM: In most cases, the father has a hold on the business aspect of things and making changes to the business is difficult. To what extent does this imply to you?

KC: At work, I wouldn’t consider him my father because professionally he’s my managing director. My boss. And he sees me twice a month officially, so that is the hold I have in the business. Which is a lot.

TNM: One lesson you learned from your father.

KC: Never be over confident. If you’re over confident, you tend to slip up.

TNM: What is the best way to deal with failures and regrets?

KC: “Never regret, if it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.”- Victoria Holt.

TNM: “By hook or by crook”. How far does this apply in terms of business in Nepal?

KC: A great deal because being from a sales background, achieving targets means everything. When any target is to be achieved, it has to be done in any way possible

TNM: Apart from work, what is your passion in life?

KC: My horses. I have a stable at Sunakothi and I run to them any chance I get. In fact I was there today morning at 6.

TNM: Rank in order of importance for a business: hard work, vision, strategy, intuition and luck.

KC: Vision, hard work, strategy, intuition, luck.

TNM: If you were made finance minister, what would be your course action?

KC: I believe in the saying that every penny saved is a penny earned. The finance head would be someone who is always careful about unnecessary spending, so I would be focusing on saving the money of the country. So I would focus on the needs instead of the wants. And that is how I operate this company.

TNM: What is your say on balancing work and play?

KC: I’ve never gotten around the entire concept of balancing work and play. For me, it has been all work work and work. I’m not a social butterfly. I’d rather sleep a little more and wake up earlier. This might be one of my worst traits. But I believe that is what one should be doing at my age.

TNM: What would you splurge on?

KC: My horse. God knows I have already spent a lot on them.

TNM: How important of a role does grooming and etiquette play in your life, in both professional and personal aspects?

KC: It is definitely important. I’ve never been scruffy; I’ve never had long hair in my life. I’m practically always in a suit. So, yes, it is very important. I get my hair cut very frequently and my barber is a very happy man.

4

Namgyal Sherpa

TOURISM ENTREPRENEUR

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and Namgyal has taken this to heart. An entrepreneur yearning to make a name for himself, Namgyal has a lively personality that resonates with the people he meets. As a major player in the travel tours and hospitality sector, you’d have to assume that his enigma helps a lot in his profession. Having completed his schooling at St. Paul’s School in Darjeeling he went off to the USA to continue his bachelor’s in Business Administration. Saying his family businesses are a success would be an understatement. Established 25 years ago, Thamserku is one of the biggest names in the travel and tour business and has five different brands working under it in different markets, including Yeti Airlines and Yeti Mountain Home. Further extending into the hospitality sector, Namgyal’s reach further broadens out with newer ventures like the Kasara Resort along with the more established Gokarna Resort. As a personal endeavor, he has opened one of the most posh eateries at Lazimpat: Le Sherpa.

Life is an adventure for Namgyal and he was born into the right business. Although the business realm of his family is already a globally recognized establishment which has raised the bar for the hospitality sector in Nepal, getting to the top is only part of what you have to do to stay on top.

Namgyal is an integral part in the transitioning of the 25 year old empire from more traditional to more unorthodox ways of operation. Delving in the highly competitive travel and tourism of Nepal, it is important to stay ahead of the game and evolve past obstacles rather than adapting to them. However, modernizing the rooted methods cannot be solitarily achieved without maintaining company values and retaining the expertise of the loyal staff.

With so many things on his plate, you’d be surprised at the energy that Namgyal exudes. He gets the party going. The pressures of work often strain the common man and life turns into a brutal work cycle. Surprisingly, Namgyal has been able to escape from the vicious cycle and has found a way of optimally balancing work and play.

TNM: What is your role as a leader in your company?

NS: I aim to set the vision and goals and make sure its communicated and transmitted well to the team. In order to do that you have to recruit and develop the right people and later develop processes and strategies for execution by setting the milestones. Then there is the ever important part of building international partnerships and strategic alliances.

TNM: Where do you see yourself and your business 10 years from now?

NS: As an individual, I want to gain more awareness and a better understanding of the world and people around me. If everything falls into place, the businesses should have expanded substantially; leading in terms of quality and customer experience to become truly world class.

TNM: What has been the most exciting development in your professional sector in recent years?

NS: It’s an ongoing process, but if I had to choose one now, for me, it would be Kasara Resort.

TNM: We understand there is a more adventurous side to your business. Tell us a little about it.

NS: Yes. My company is involved in organizing the world’s highest and most daring expedition to 8000m peaks in Nepal & Tibet. We have worked with filming groups in Tibet. Also, I have even been diving with a Spanish Film crew in Tilicho Lake, which was pretty adventurous. Then there is “Everest for Breakfast”, where we have taken 150 entrepreneurs from around the world in helicopters to Kongde to experience a champagne breakfast at the top of the world.

TNM: Have you ever felt that you were molded to become a business man but would have fared better in a different occupation/profession?

NS: I was raised like any other kid on the block, so there was no special training or anything like that. I never had any occupation/profession in mind prior to joining my family business. It is only when I started working that I found my passion.

TNM: What is the best lesson you learned from your father.

NS: He taught me the importance of hard work and persistence and the value of time.

TNM: In most cases, the father has a hold on the business aspect of things and making changes to the business is difficult. To what extent does this imply to you?

NS: My father still holds the business together, no doubt about that, but fortunately he trusts me and is open to change. He has given me many opportunities to explore the world and supported me in my learning and development. So even though I am stubborn at times, I do have to come to an understanding and work around it.

TNM: What is your opinion on the youth of Nepal?

NS: The youth of Nepal are definitely faced with a lot of challenges, but they are hopeful which is positive. They are more aware and curious than ever before and also in tune with global changes and development. We must give them hope, opportunities and believe in them.

TNM: “By hook or by crook”. How far does this apply in terms of business in Nepal?

NS: Sadly, it is very evident in terms of business practices in Nepal. But things are changing gradually.

TNM: If you were made financial minister for a day, what changes would you bring into your sector?

NS: My focus would be on building proper infrastructure to support the tourism industry. I would allocate money in building world-class international & domestic airports and adding fleets to the national carrier. Also, I would make an effort to support the private sector to set up international airlines to bring in more tourists.

TNM: Rank in order of importance for a business: hard work, vision, strategy, intuition and luck.

NS: Vision, strategy, hard work, intuition and luck.

TNM: What would you say was your crowning achievement?

NS: Climbing Island peak 6246 M and opening my first restaurant, Le Sherpa. And also, setting up Kasara Resort.

TNM: What would you splurge on?

NS: Travel experiences, definitely.

TNM: Which is the most expensive thing you own?

NS: I don’t know about expensive, but the most valuable thing I possess would be the watch that my father gave. It’s a Presidential Rolex.

TNM: On a scale of 1 to 10 how hardworking would you rate yourself as?

NS: 7.5 because life is not all work :)

TNM: What characteristics do you look for in your partner?

NS: Someone independent, confident, funny, compassionate, smart and of course, we have to have good chemistry.

TNM: Have you found her yet?

NS: Yes!

TNM: Is there a philosophy that you believe in?

NS: My purpose in life is to be humble, selfless, altruistic and compassionate. I’m not there yet, but that is what I want to achieve.

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"The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team." TNM is a premiere men’s magazine providing complete coverage of inspirational stories, fashion and culture from across Nepal. With its unique and powerful design, work from the finest photographer, spectacular writers and a pro- active Marketing team TNM reaches thousands of leading men each month. We are team that believes in giving its readers a thought-provoking experience each and every month.