upGrad: Delivering Career Outcomes Online: Degree by Degree
In August 2021, the founders of upGrad, the latest unicorn in the Indian higher education online space, were deciding how to best use the funds to execute on their ambitious growth plans. Ronnie Screwvala, Mayank Kumar and Phalgun Kompalli had envisioned upGrad as an online education platform to enable working professionals to access university degrees from around the world. The pandemic induced lockdowns that confined millions to their homes due to COVID-19, supercharged the growth of upGrad, and indeed all online higher education providers, leading to both growth and competition. The founders of upGrad were keen to ensure they would continue to be a winner in the evolving sector - but which route should they prioritize? Should upGrad continue to focus on offering academic credentials through university partnerships to working professionals, or strengthen their position in the college learners (aged 18 to 23) segment by offering job-oriented test prep and bachelor's degrees?