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Professional Education Firm Imarticus Learning is Raising Series A Round of Funding

'Our plan is to concentrate on B2B and B2C markets globally and in India. We have already expanded our presence to Africa and plan to cover the bulk of South East Asia by the end of the year.'

Mumbai-based Imarticus Learning is India’s leading professional education firm that offers training in Financial Services and Analytics. It was started in 2012 by Nikhil Barshikar and Sonya Hooja, with an aim to becoming India’s leading professional education company by bridge the massive skillgap between Industry and Academia, brought on by the lack of relevant curriculum and understanding of roles. The firm as grown from one classroom center in Mumbai offering 1 certification course to 19 product offerings across 3 business lines including Certification, ProDegrees and Post Graduate programs, and in 7 centers across India with 150+ employees. 

Imarticus offers virtual training via a state-of-the-art technology platform, along with classroom training in 10+ cities, ensuring flexible learning methods as per the student’s learning preference. Imarticus Learning is considered to be India’s leading institution for professional skill development in the country.

It has educated 12,000+ individuals globally through its certification, pro-degree, and postgraduate programs offered in association with leading and renowned organizations in the financial services and analytics domain. Since its inception in 2012, Imarticus has emerged as the preferred sourcing, training, and skill development partner for over 120 firms, which include leading KPOs, global & domestic banks, consulting, technology & analytics firms. The company has established an ever-expanding corporate network comprising over 300 global and domestic companies such as HDFC Bank, BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Aditya Birla, KPMG and Accenture amongst many others.

Imarticus Learning is the only institute that incorporates a variety of delivery methodologies –online, classroom and blended – that are managed by a fully integrated state-of-the-art online learning management and governance system. The curriculum for each course is designed by industry experts to ensure relevance and industrial applicability, and to equip trainees with the pertinent skills that ensure employability upon completion. Imarticus offers Pro-degree programs in association with top Fortune 500 companies to fill the skill set gap of the individual.

In an interaction with BW Disrupt, Nikhil Barshikar,  Managing Director, Imarticus Learning, shared journey of his company from inception to till now. 

Excerpts :

How was it started?

It began when I was working at Lehman and then Nomura. I always noticed a massive issue with regard to hiring skilled manpower, no matter which location I was in. Majority of hires were untrained and had no idea about what Banking was, let alone the specialist skills Middle Office - Investment Banking roles required. The other issue was the lack of induction training across the firm. Companies did not have the resources to train their brand new employees, which meant countless, and valuable, man hours spent on on-the job training, and if there’s one thing we know in Financial Services, or anything else for that matter, is time is money. And this didn’t apply to just a few roles, it was across Financial Services. Majority of the Business Schools were just not teaching what was required by companies with massive gaps in curriculum due to the changing industry dynamics.  So after spending fifteen years of my career across a smorgasbord of roles within Investment Banking across India and the US, I realized it was time to begin something of my own and address the issue. I decided that I would begin a company that would fill the gap and provide industry endorsed professional education that would be relevant to employers. The gap was large enough to pose a massive opportunity and no one was catering to it.

So in 2012, I put together a fantastic team, and we set about creating courses and curriculum that would be endorsed not just by Industry, but by divisions in banks and would cater to specific roles within Banking. These would be taught by domain experts and our learning methodology would be anchored by experiential learning which meant an employee would add value from day one. Ofcourse since then, we have grown significantly and now offer a myriad of courses across Financial Services, Analytics and Business Analysis across both online and classroom delivery platoforms, and have both a B2B and B2C business but our mission remains the same. We are committed to ensuring our students acquire the necessary skills to cater to a dynamic industry whose roles are constantly changing, thereby creating a workforce that is ready to undertake the challenges of the future.

Unique key features & Differentiating factors 

Our first key differentiator is ofcourse our diversified portfolio. We are the only education company in the country to serve the entire lifecycle of a working career. Beginning with Certification courses (2-3 month career upgrade courses) and Sourcing to Placement Mandates with corporates which cater to freshers and those with 1-2 years of work experience. Our Prodegrees (4 month branded programs with industry leaders) and PG programs as well as corporate training mandates cater to aspirants with 1-5 years of work experience and our Corporate Training mandates as well as our Management Development programs cater to those with ten years plus experience. We also offer these programs across three platforms, Classroom, Online and Blended, a first in the industry.

Our second differentiator is our concept of mentorship where we ensure that our students, across retail and corporate, gain valuable and access to Industry leaders, through scheduled meetings.

Our leadership channels over 100 years of experience in tier one firms like Nomura, Accenture and HDFC bank and our advisory council includes senior industry professionals like Tashwinder Singh, the head of KKR, and Taranjit Jaswal, director of Barclays.

And finally we have created an ecosystem like no other that provides leadership and best practices using technology to empower our learning, ensuring comprehensive coverage by covering all student touch points, creating an industry knowledge database as well as platforms for industry connect and focusing on placements through our corporate network and internship programs.

Funding Status

Imarticus Learning is currently raising its Series A round and in talks with various investors.

Traction details &  future plans

Our plan is to concentrate on B2B and B2C markets globally and in India. We have already expanded our presence to Africa and plan to cover the bulk of South East Asia by the end of the year. We are branching out using a hub and spoke model and plan to offer 25 certification programs from the current 19 in the next two years along with 10 PG programs in conjunction with global universities. Our aim is to disrupt the MBA market, which is failing to meet Industry requirements with respect to curriculum and skill development.  

Market Size and Opportunity

There is of course a huge demand of training and upskilling. We estimate a total market size of Rs 74 billion for training across Finance and Analytics driven by e-learning and strong adoption by large companies .

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