Interviewed By: Sandeep Kshatriya, Facilitator, The CEO Insights
The CEO Insights: What has been your experience as an entrepreneur like? What triggered your move to become an entrepreneur and join Metropolis?
Ameera Shah: Initially, the pathology laboratory was only managed by my father Dr. Sushil Shah as a sole proprietorship and was not run as a business. I did my Business Management degree in finance at University of texas at Austin and always wanted to come back to India and contribute to my country. I debated working with larger companies like Goldman Sachs and a few start up companies, but felt an entrepreneurial drive and decided to enter the pathology Laboratory industry in India. The last 10 years has been a joyride, an experience I wouldn’t replace with anything else.
The CEO Insights: How did your education at University of Texas and your current Owner-President Program at Harvard University helping you in the business?
Ameera Shah:As my degree is in Finance from one of the best B school in America, it helped me to set up the foundation and roots of transforming the sole proprietorship pathology Lab into a company structure. The Owner president program at Harvard university(A refresher course that brings together successful entrepreneurs from across the world), provides an opportunity to learn from success stories of other entrepreneurs.
The CEO Insights: Your experiences with Metropolis and how you got to where you are today?
Ameera Shah: In 2001, we decided to convert Metropolis from being a one lab sole proprietorship to a leading chain of labs across India. Initially, I had to set up basic departments like IT, HR, Purchase, Marketing and sales which did not exist, and slowly we started creating a chain across the country.
Currently it has grown to a fully integrated multinational chain of 65 diagnostic centers with 550 collection centers across south Asia, Middle East and Africa. Metropolis has become a well respected healthcare brand, catering to more than 10,000 small labs, nursing homes and hospitals, over 20,000 consultants and processing 12 million test annually.
The CEO Insights:What are the key challenges for setting up a Diagnostic Laboratory?
Ameera Shah: Setting up a global standard laboratory requires capital, expertise and the right team. The bulk of the work starts after setting up the facility, as maintaining quality and high levels of accuracy for every patient report requires stringent processes. Moreover monitoring and fulfilling the changing needs and expectations of every customer is paramount.
The CEO Insights: What is the biggest challenge of Metropolis today, and what are you doing to address it?
Ameera Shah: Talent is becoming quite difficult to hire and retain in the industry. Besides ensuring our people policies are fair, we have tried to create an environment of fast career growth, nurturing and mentoring and a feeling of ownership for our teams.
The CEO Insights: What kind of domain expertise and skill set you look for in your employees?
Ameera Shah: We look for a good combination of technical skills with management mindset for our technical leaders and industry experience for our sales and marketing managers.
The CEO Insights: What are the ways you promote your business?
Ameera Shah: We promote our services to doctors, hospitals, labs and patients directly. All stakeholders of the medical fraternity are our clients and we focus on ensuring we provide good level of quality and service and a wide range of test menu.
The CEO Insights: Your views on successful expansion of Metropolis in South Asia, Middle East and Africa?
Ameera Shah: The markets in Africa, Srilanka and UAE are very different compared to India, and in trying to be successful in new markets, it’s very important to customize your strategy for the local market. Additionally, combining a local team with one or two key members who know the industry from India also helps in driving the company in the right direction.
The CEO Insights: What are your future plans? How do you see your company evolving in the next five years?
Ameera Shah: Metropolis is already the leader in the emerging markets we are present in, and intend to continue consolidating our presence in these markets.
In India, we plan on growing through an organic and inorganic model. We are eyeing 4-5 acquisitions to enter cities where we are not present today. We plan to expand Pan India i.e. South & West India with 15 green field labs.
The CEO Insights: Who are Metropolis competitors and what has their strategy been in India?
Ameera Shah: Religare labs and Dr Lals labs are our major competitors.
The CEO Insights: How do you feel being voted by Modern Medicare as The Young entrepreneur of the Year in India?
Ameera Shah: It is an honor to be given this award. As the youngest leader in the healthcare industry today, I feel a responsibility to be knowledgeable enough to interact with my older and more experienced colleagues. This award is a recognition of my 10 years in the industry.
The CEO Insights: Your first encounter with major challenge at Metropolis and how did you overcome this challenge?
Ameera Shah: My age, gender and finance background have been my biggest challenges and continue to be. Hard work, sincerity, an ability to learn and apply are ways to overcome these challenges.
The CEO Insights: What is your Favorite Book?
Ameera Shah: Atlas shrugged by Ayn Rand.
The CEO Insights: What are your hobbies?
Ameera Shah: I like the outdoors so I enjoy sports and trekking.
The CEO Insights: Who is your role model?
Ameera Shah: I admire different characteristics In different leaders. I admire Mahatma Gandhi for his principles and dedication, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates for their actions to give back to society, my mother and father for being professionally successful and wonderful parents and all sports achievers for their determination and passion.
The CEO Insights: Any Message for us?
Ameera Shah: Don’t try and make too many changes at the initial stage, understand things before trying to change them. Show high level of commitment and have long term objectives, else people may not take you seriously.
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