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Women’s Day Special: Interview of Dr Neha Berlia in Open Magazine




I studied in Apeejay School, Panchsheel Park. In addition to academics, it was during my years at Apeejay that my lifelong passions of studying, playing the sarod and competing in horse-riding were nurtured. Further education – BA economics Stanford 2008, PHD Finance University of St. Gallen, Switzerland.


For me, bringing change to such a trusted institution like ours is about executing entrepreneurial innovation at scale in a methodical manner. This has been foremost on my mind since I committed myself to this journey.

Not only do we aim to push the frontier of new ideas, but we also invest in the training of our personnel so that all our stakeholders needs are consistently met. In the last several years, innovation and institutional synergy has been crucial across all our work but especially Apeejay Education which is forever closest to my heart.

With that, Apeejay Education’s curriculum, in sync with the National Education Policy 2020, has further evolved and has been widely positively highlighted globally as an institution, which strives to work towards innovative pedagogies and instructional practices. Further, this core curriculum revolves around the moral and nation building values that all Apeejay educational institutions pride themselves on instilling.


As I said before, at Apeejay, education is never “work” as it is forever a passion and a mission. My grandfather Dr. Stya Paul served our nation’s independence struggle proudly and when he started our schools, one thing was foremost on his mind – his deep love of our country and her youth. Whenever, I look at our logo of a falcon ever flying higher, I think of him watching over not just my brothers and myself but all the youth he wanted to see soar. I am profoundly inspired by his vision and I carry this legacy, as I know my mother and the rest of our family does, with a deep sense of personal commitment.

It is not only about academics but also moral values encompassing honesty, compassion, empathy, fair play, courtesy, courage, loyalty and integrity. The focus is to find and unleash the unique potential of a child for his/her own betterment and that of our society and nation.

To that end, we partner with several social initiatives to offer Apeejay students and our community stakeholders the opportunity to put their learned ideals to practice.


Our biggest strength lies in our values as institutionalized by my grandfather and as continued by my mother. Nothing matters more and nothing ever will matter more to me.

How do we achieve this? It starts with our amazing and experienced team comprising thousands of dedicated stakeholders. Many of them view Apeejay as I have always viewed it – a legacy based on shared core values.

That being said, we do not rest on our past achievements and maintaining excellence is one of my top priorities. Hence, I encourage my team to always set the bar higher and never cease communicating and innovating.

Moreover, success and strength go hand-in-hand with our supporters. They are the pillars of our institutions as Apeejay has 40,000+ students and 65,000+ alumni.


Change needs to be a constant and constructive at every level. Good ideas are a worthy beginning but without much value without hard work, much planning and detailed execution.

We have worked with all parties diligently to create a strong pipeline of innovations that we all as a team look forward to sharing in the coming months and years. Whether it is adopting next-generation technology platforms in our operations or in making sure the latest learning tools are made available to the team, we cover it all. I am constantly on the look out to upskill, innovate, create and train our employees to improve quality and efficiency of the team.


Apeejay is the physical embodiment of a dream by a national freedom fighter who struggled and succeeded in no small part due to the power of his own education.

My mother has taught me to always focus on the positive potential in every soul and help unleash it. I always tell our team as I tell myself – we must be grateful and proud of the past but we must even more so build today what we will be proud of in the future!


One of my favourite sayings is: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” This is ever-green advice for today’s youth as they must focus on creating positive change in our society on an individual and collective level to honour the legacy of our forefathers.

How does one achieve this? By working hard. By working intelligently. And most importantly by being positive about yourself and your ability to impact the world you are trying to change.

Often I find the greatest hurdle to youth in today’s society is fear of failing. One of the best women athletes in the world, tennis superstar Martina Navratilova once said “Losing is not my enemy, fear of losing is my enemy.” She won 59 major world titles because she overcame her fear and replaced it with positive energy.

My approach in my own life is the same as the advice I give – dream big, act without fear and live to build something worthy of the highest moral standard.


Anyone who knows me knows that I love sports of all kinds. I strongly believe that a fit body and a fit mind are essential. So be it tennis, running, weight lifting or horse-riding, I love challenging myself and encourage all to do so!


My fitness mantra is also my life mantra: Find a way to love what you do and “work,” be it in the gym or the office.

This will eventually become something you will look forward to with joy and passion. Fitness gives me focus and helps me stay active through the day.


The combination of disciplined consistency of execution and good ideas drives success. Moreover, the only thing certain about is life that it is ever-changing so one must always be mentally flexible and adopt a practical problem solving attitude to challenges.


Running, tennis, playing classical music (sarod and piano), taking care of my horses and dogs and most importantly spending time with my family are my favorite pastimes.


I am inspired by my mother and my late grand father.

My grandfather said, “It is not a disgrace if dreams are unfulfilled, but it is a disgrace if we have no dreams to dream!” He was the living embodiment of that falcon soaring ever-higher in the skies. His dreams were the sky and his faith in himself and the better world he was building the wings with which he flew. He is the soul behind every journey I undertake as a business leader, an educator and a human being.

If my grandfather is the soul behind my journeys, then surely my mother is the North Star which has forever guided me. Her strength, vision and the care with which she treats everyone around her sets the standard I aspire to.

I am privileged to have such inspirations and aim to work hard to put their teachings and example to worthy achievements.


“Build the world you dream of”

(A marketing initiative by Open Avenues)