Having completed his BSc in Accounting from University of Maryland (USA), Kunal Jain had the impending decision at the back of his mind to choose a Master’s program that would consolidate his learning further. With a family business in real estate and automobile parts, he was sure not to join the business and wished to venture out into new waters. Therefore, after graduating, he joined KPMG in in New York to pursue a corporate career path. It was later, after completing three years at the firm, when he joined the Global MBA (Finance) program in 2009 to increase his knowledge base with the higher nuances of global business management.
The reason he chose SP Jain as opposed to Maryland and Hult was due to its twin city model (at that time) gave him the exposure to two of the fastest growing economies in the world (The GMBA program is now a tri-city model, spread across Dubai, Singapore and Sydney). A second consideration that pushed his decision was the duration of the program, which was for 12 months only. He knew that this would decrease his opportunity costs and assist him in getting back to the corporate sector as soon as possible. He stresses that he was very excited about the networking opportunities that such a unique program would include in its scope. However, he does feel that more diversity in the cohort composition would have helped in building stronger global perspectives.
On completing the GMBA program, Kunal joined Deloitte in Dubai and later moved to KPMG in Singapore. When asked about his current endeavours, Kunal says that he is now charting a new career path for himself through his start-up ventures – Your Local Cousin and recently launched – To Travel With where Kunal will be personally customising and leading guided trips to various parts of the country, mostly the off-the-beaten path locations that often are unexplored by many visitors to India. Each trip will be unique to his client’s requirements and will focus on history, landscapes, wildlife and nature.
Through his new initiatives, he aspires to change the way people travel and to make travel planning a seamless and faster process. Nobody should end up having a meal at McDonald’s or Burger King when they are on vacation. Getting information from a local would truly help a traveller see the place like a local does. Lastly, he aspires that through his start-up, it would bring attention to the smaller scale and local enterprises which are often overlooked and ignored because travellers do not know any better and by default are attracted to the more commercialised places.
In the past two years, Your Local Cousin has over 1500 locals from 110 countries and thousands of cities. Your Local Cousin has also launched a marketplace for tours and activities, while recruiting professional guides and tour operators from 16 major places around the world including Delhi, New York, Bangkok, Barcelona, and Paris to name a few. They are now reaching out and partnering with boutique hotels in the 16 cities so that these hotels can offer customised tours and activities to their guests and enhance customer experience and loyalty.
When asked about his plans, Kunal says “Unfortunately I don’t plan for the long term. My plans are very dynamic. In 2 years, I would like to see my start-up be known as well as Airbnb is today. SP Jain Global has given me access to the Dubai and Singapore market which hold great potential for my business. Both these destinations are major tourist destinations for both for inbound and outbound travel. My training at SP Jain Global through immersion activities in global intelligence and real-world skills have made me realise that people from different places think and act differently.”
We, at SP Jain, wish Kunal every success in his new venture!