This is the last of the third-part series written by Co-Founder and CEO, UpGrad, Mayank Kumar
Some early signs we have observed in the online education market have reinforced faith in the online education space in India. More specifically:
a) Our Entrepreneurship Program tangibly impacting the entrepreneurial journeys of our program participants;
b) Our Data Analytics course totally surprised us with the response that it got from the market and;
c) Some personal stories on how UpGrad’s program has changed the way our students look at education.
I talked about the first point regarding the impact of our entrepreneurship program, in my previous post. In this third post of the series, I will touch upon the b) and c) aspects.
Data went big…
Image source: TechandMate
Let’s begin with our experience with the Data Analytics program in collaboration with IIIT Bangalore.
We launched this program in May 2016. Priced at INR two lacs, this was one of the most expensive programs in our portfolio. We were expecting 100-150 odd students as the price point was high, the program duration was nine months and it was conducted completely online. To our surprise, we found the program was being oversubscribed to! 300 students enrolled for the program and paid INR two lacs upfront.
The overall value of online education – where you can gain new skills/qualification while continuing to work – excited a lot of working professionals and we saw participation from people across experience levels.
It is again a strong validation of our hypothesis that online programs offer a viable option to many working professionals who may not have time to leave their job to learn a new skill.
Also, to our surprise, we found many folks with 10+ years of work experience taking up the program. This again illuminates one of our hypotheses, that many want to learn and stay relevant, but lack access to quality and credible options. At UpGrad, our goal is to empower these individuals to help them meet their full professional potential, and this experiment helped us get just a little bit closer.
Lastly, I would like to share a story of one of our students in data analytics. We understand that the education sector has massive opportunity to build a scalable business. What is equally important, however, is to appreciate and understand the long-term impact that education can have on an individual’s life.
One of our students, Thulasiram, has been in the naval forces since a very young age – he joined almost immediately after school, right after graduating from the 10th standard. He dropped out of formal education at a young age and never had the flexibility or option to go back to an offline campus. He completed his entire higher education through the distance education mode and then went on to become an instructor at a naval college.
Thulasiram joined UpGrad’s program to learn about data analytics, and gain a new qualification. Personally, it gave me extreme satisfaction when one day he mentioned that across all his higher education programs and degrees, he never had to study for more than a day to get the degree. And it is the first time at UpGrad that he is receiving “real education” and feeling the presence of a real challenge.
“I am getting real education from here. Want to learn – that’s all”,
Very few things can bring the kind of joy that positively impacting someone’s life in this way, can. This, to me, is the real power of education (online or offline). If UpGrad can deliver real quality education – that makes people learn new concepts, question the answer, debate, be creative and push their limits – we will remain on our path to achieving our purpose, and in that process, build a satisfying business venture at scale.