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Capt. Muthu Krishnan Iyyappan: A Zenith of Excellence, Skill & Valour with Entrepreneurial DNA

Capt. Muthu Krishnan Iyyappan: A Zenith of Excellence, Skill & Valour with Entrepreneurial DNA

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Capt. Muthu Krishnan Iyyappan,Managing DirectorEach business mogul beholds in itself a distinct entrepreneurial DNA. While some trust their instincts and evolve as innovators, a few ones spin the wheel of awareness to succeed as active tycoons and others are the impulsive magnates who turn opportunities into business ventures. Well, only handful of mandarins exists who truly define diversification and emerge as the Jack-of-all-trades; just like Capt. Muthu Krishnan Iyyappan who raised Eka Academy against all odds and stabilized its roots in Budapest, making Eka the first Indian company in corporate training segment with operations in Europe. Not only did he rebuffed conventional norms circling business stabilization but also emerged as a strategic pioneer handling operations in six international destinations – Germany, Austria, Poland, Romania, Solvenia and Slovakia, successfully.

Riding against the current, the army officer-turned-entrepreneur sacrificed corporate comfort to serve as Territorial Army Officer back in 1999. Observing his veritable determination, the army seconded the brave soul to the regular army, enabling him to serve tenure at the world’s highest battalion ground, Siachen Glacier – a destination close to Capt. Muthu’s heart. Post his army accomplishments, Capt. Muthu perfected corporate skills while endeavouring with global companies in Singapore, US, China and others, before plunging into entrepreneurship with Eka. Also a travel holic, Capt. Muthu is one among few Indians to touchdown India’s four extreme points – Indira Point in south, Indira Col in north, Indira Bridge in Kibhitu in east and Sir Creek in the west.

Today,Capt.Muthu stands as an exemplar of perennial dedication, perseverance and never-say-die attitude, and is driving Eka' wheels towards success accelerated with global exposure and rich acumen. Reminiscing over his active journey, Capt. Muthu shares some prime experiences that harnessed him while surging from army realm to corporate world and finally
embarking upon his entrepreneurial genius, in an exclusive conversation with CEO Insights.

What inspired you to drive your entrepreneurial instincts? How did you survive the wave of competition in the initial stages?
The thought of leaving a legacy inspired me to take entrepreneurship. It all started during a conversation with my son when he asked – ‘Daddy, who is Tata?’ Within seconds, I informed him that Tata was great man who started the organization called Tata and that’s why we all remember him. Innocently, my son enquired if anyone would remember us at all, since we did not start an organization. The very moment kindled my entrepreneurial DNA and led to the inception of Eka.

"Capt. Muthu stands as an exemplar of perennial dedication, perseverance and never-say-die attitude, and is driving Eka' wheels towards success accelerated with global exposure and rich acumen"

However, the initial stage of establishing the company in a highly undifferentiated market was very challenging, as training is an industry with very low entry barriers. As the segment is one crowd pulling zone among unemployed / under employed audience seeking entry as trainer or consultant, differentiating Eka and our offerings was one Herculean task. That’s when my diverse industry exposure came to the rescue. Corporate business training demands clientele understanding and familiarity with their business goals. Owning to my experience across multiple industries including Pharma, FMCG, Government, Manufacturing, BPO and BFSI, helped me gain credibility with clients during initial discussions.

How do you channelize your professional stints with personal duties & strike the right chords of work-life balance?
As the Founder & CEO of Eka,I undertake the responsibility for strategic direction, growth and profitability of the organization. The vast experience in diverse fields has helped me not just to know how to lead an organization, but more importantly – how not to lead, eventually becoming a key for avoiding pitfalls. Today, the attrition rate of Ekaployees (Eka’s employees) is at rock-bottom while the longevity is at par, if compared to industry average; credits of which are certainly to be conferred to Eka’s innovative work culture. Additionally, chasing happiness over to business is the vital ingredient of our culture. When work becomes life, then work life balance automatically sets in. Eka’s innovative and inspiring work culture is the mantra that helps every Ekamployee to bring their
work-life at equilibrium. For me, personally, professionalism does the role that helps me in creating right balance between personal and professional life.

Family plays a pivotal role in an entrepreneur’s journey. How has been your family’s support throughout?
Diving down the unknown depths of entrepreneurship was indeed shocking to my family at first. But my wife, Suganya, quickly adapted to the change. From travelling in trains for vacations to dusting of my loyal motorcycle, the journey became zestful and dynamic. Being a frugal family meant that our expenses were minimal and savings were plenty, which enabled us to employ quality manpower and expand Eka’s services globally. However in 2017, Eka went through huge crisis and we had to mortgage our house to keep the business running, but my wife never gave up on me and acted as my backbone throughout with even giving her jewelry except Mangalsutra and one pair of earrings. That is how strong her support was.

How do you streamline your knowledge with latest trends? What activities do you indulge in for relieving stress and staying fresh?
Along with being a part of multiple mentoring programs such as CII and TiE, we have incepted an incubation center in Budapest and own tie-ups for nurturing budding entrepreneurs. Besides, I have been member of board of studies in SIES College and member of western zone committee in CII for defense, SME and entrepreneurship. To stay abreast with latest trends and technologies, I invest my time in reading books and keep a tap on various organizations’ push notifications. To keep my creative spirit alive, I indulge in carpentry sessions for creating household furniture. Creating a beautiful and useful piece of article from a few discarded wooden pieces gives a sense of huge fulfillment. As a pure south Indian vegetarian, I like curd rice the most and even have prepared it for my friends in China and Europe while working there.

Key Management:
Capt. Muthu Krishnan Iyyappan, Founder & CEO
Owning to his diverse industry experience, Capt. Muthu strategically directs Eka towards success and believes in chasing happiness to keep team spirit and enthusiasm intact.

Offices: Navi Mumbai (HQ), Bengaluru & Budapest

Offerings:Classroom Programs, Outbound Programs, e-Learning, Open House Programs, Industry-Led Training, Experiential Learning, OD Assessment & Training Consultancy Services