We Plan To Grow At Least 2X In Revenues And 3X In Student Numbers Every Year Until 2025: Rajesh Panda, Founder & CEO, Corporate Gurukul

We intend to expand our footprint in the United States by the end of this year, Canada by 2023, and the United Kingdom/Europe by 2024.

Please give us a brief overview of the Gurukul system. What is the thought behind it and how does it work?

Gurukul system was a residential schooling system that originated in the Indian subcontinent around 5000 BC. It was more common during the Vedic period when students were taught a variety of subjects as well as how to live a cultured and disciplined lifestyle. The focus was on self-management and excellence as well as organisational teamwork and leadership. Gurukul was the teacher's or Acharya's home, as well as a learning centre where students stayed until their education was completed. At the Gurukul, everyone was treated equally, and both the guru (teacher) and the shishya (student) lived in the same house or in close proximity to one another.

What is the importance of the Gurukul system and why does Indian education need it? Why do we need it?

While current education prepares you for jobs, the gurukul system prepares you for life! The current Indian educational system does not consider students' overall development. The system has so far relied on a traditional approach, in which students are given concepts and subjects and expected to learn them theoretically (or maximum experiment it in labs). This is solely for the purpose of promoting bookish knowledge. The gurukul system, on the other hand, goes beyond mere conceptual understanding. It promotes the real-world application of learning and moulds students holistically to prepare them for the future and make them ready for life and work! As a result, Indian education must prepare students for life, not just for job security. Individuals with the ability to manage their lives will have a bright future in terms of work/career.

How is the Gurukul system helping students? What additional aid do you provide?

Gurukul system is helping students by giving them the exact kind of knowledge and skills they require for the practical world. We analyze and scrutinize even the minute details of the progress, the students make and then guide them on their respective points. Seeking perfection is what we desire, and we motivate them to do the same.We provide real-world tools/ aids like AI and Design Thinking through our internships and research interventions which are on the Gurukul pedagogy.

These enable students to apply their knowledge faster to solve real-world problems.

Tell us about experiential programmes for students that help them grow better.

Experiential learning refers to learning through activities such as experiencing, discovering, creating, exploring, and interacting with others.

Analysis and synthesis are both at play here.

Experiential learning is never structured, has no rules or time limits, and only requires a small amount of adult supervision. This type of learning allows children to learn at their own pace and on their own terms. Experiential learning can take many forms, including outdoor play, imaginative play, creative play, music and dance, art, and exploring nature and the environment. This includes getting hands-on with the materials they're studying at home or school by conducting experiments on their own time, in addition to memorising facts and figures. Experiences can be as simple as going to friends' houses every Wednesday after school. It's critical to give children hands-on experience because it demonstrates to them that learning isn't always about reading or listening. Having the opportunity for real-world interaction can help them gain a better understanding of concepts learned in the classroom.

It helps students understand and apply their knowledge to the real world. The application also helps them better understand concepts. This helps them grow holistically to be better individuals and global citizens with a deep appreciation of cultures and diversity.

How can the Gurukul system, in addition to regular education, help students become industry ready?

Regular education helps students to prepare themselves for careers and jobs while the gurukul system prepares them for life.

Further, the gurukul system creates both functional experts as well as holistic professionals and leaders.

How does NEP spur new opportunities for Ed-Tech platforms?

The National Education Policy (NEP), which aims to improve India's educational system through an innovative, inclusive, and ICT-integrated approach, will play a significant role in establishing a high-level learning platform for students. NEP has stressed on making the education system multidisciplinary with equal weightage on extra-curricular and curricular activities. This will inspire Ed-tech start-ups to innovate multidisciplinary products and services.

Ed-Tech companies are also working on innovative AI and Machine Learning applications that will help in offering personalized and customized attention to the students based on their learning goals and agility, something that was majorly amiss in one to many physical learning provided by the educational institutions.

The new policy, which focuses on a knowledge-driven economy with an emphasis on learning and delivery, new assessment models, technology, and opening up to eminent international institutions, is a welcome and long-overdue step.

How many universities or institutions are currently affiliated with Corporate Gurukul?

We currently partner with some of the top universities in Asia; National University of Singapore (NUS) #1 in Asia and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) - #2 in Asia (QS World University Rankings 2022)

We have a very strong presence and customer base in India, South-Asia, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.We work with over 150+ schools and 120+ universities across 21 countries in Asia.

What strategies are you using to attract students to the Gurukul system?

The Gurukul system is about holistic education and the world’s top universities and corporations need young leaders who have a holistic approach to problem-solving. So it is not very difficult for us to attract students to the gurukul system.

Our clear strategy is to identify the best and make them better. We work with students from most of the top schools and universities across 20+ countries in Asia. We focus on building skills and profile for the world's top universities and corporations. Most of our alumni are today with the world’s top universities or Fortune 500 companies.

How much growth have you accumulated since your inception? What are your targets for the future?

Over the last 5 years, we have witnessed a CAGR of 150%, and the expected GTV for the financial year 2021 is 3 Million SGD (Singapore Dollars). We are going to work on the following future targets.

Targets for the future:

1. Expanding partner university base:

The first aspect of our growth would be creating new partnerships with top universities across the globe. Looking forward, we hope to partner with top universities in other regions, such as the USA, the UK, as well as Canada. Extending and strengthening our presence in regions like Africa, South America, and the United States.

1. Expanding our product line:

a. We will be working on New Programmes for schools on two main bases, the first being Entrepreneurship and the second being Business and Economics.

b. New Customised electives for Business School students in Marketing, Finance and Logistics & Operations.

1. Expanding segments: Add programmes for working professionals as a new vertical.

What are your funding and expansion plans?

Corporate Gurukul is currently self-funded. We expect over $5 million in revenues by FY22, doubling in a year helped by expansion in newer markets and increasing digitisation.

How are you looking at 2022? What does 2022 have in store for Corporate Gurukul?

In FY 2022, Corporate Gurukul aims to achieve $5 million in revenues. In addition, we intend to expand our footprint in the United States by the end of this year, Canada by 2023, and the United Kingdom/Europe by 2024. Starting in 2021, we have been expanding into the African market and will continue to do so in 2022. We plan to grow at least 2x in revenues and 3x in student numbers every year until 2025.

What is the fee structure for an average course?

The average course for our online internship and research interventions is around US$ 1000 while for on-campus the fee is around $2700.

The fee structure varies based on the duration of the programme which can be anywhere between an intensive 1-month to self-paced 6-month learning intervention.

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