Upgrad-ing To Next Level

Mayank Kumar, Co-founder and MD, upGrad, talks about their education philosophy, their offerings and future plans

What started in the year 2015 as an endeavour to help working professionals simultaneously upskill themselves while continuing to work, has now expanded to offer degree programmes and an array of courses in India and abroad. upGrad became a unicorn in 2021 with a valuation of $1.2 billion and has impacted more than 7 million users globally through its programmes.

For Mayank Kumar, the success of edtech lies in its foundation philosophy, which is to drive career outcomes. Building on this,upGrad has expanded its Life Long Learning suite and worldwide university network. “We create online courses in partnership with academicians and industry experts to foster outcome-oriented learning amongst our learners and drive tangible career ROI (return on investment) through job switches, salary hikes, promotions or confidence to empower them to perform better for maximum business outputs,” explains Kumar.

Growth story

In the last year alone more than 450 career transitions into the MBA domain for its learners happened in quarter one, with the highest cost to company hike of 328 per cent. It became the biggest batch to receive placements across more than 75 companies.

In order to build a successful organisation, Kumar states, “You need to stay truly committed to solving a problem and need to be persistent in your efforts.” There are highs and lows in every industry, perseverance is necessary. On the business end, Kumar advises that it is imperative for organisations to create a business model that is scalable, sustainable, and non-negotiable. And it should add value to its customers. Moreover, he states. “Instead of focussing on short-term valuations and growth, edtech companies should focus on products and strategies that are for the long run in the business ecosystem."

For this year, upGrad plans to focus on domestic expansion. While the focus is on building a strong online platform, learners are encouraged to meet the upGrad team at their centres in person while choosing the right programme for themselves. To ensure the company stays connected to its user base, upGrad will continue to build on its offline presence and form strategic partnerships with academics and industry.

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