It's out! | (Pic: Edexlive)
It's out! | (Pic: Edexlive)

Upgrade with upGrad! Their latest scholarship programme will give your skills a new edge 

Aimed at providing quality education, along with a 70% scholarship, the programme caters toward making degrees from foreign universities an affordable possibility for the Indian professional

With a campaign titled ‘Learn Like You’re Here’, EdTech major upGrad has tried to make studying in the US a reality for working Indian professionals. The initiative is a product of collaboration between the EdTech major and Golden Gate University (GGU) in San Francisco, California. Aimed at providing quality education, along with a 70% scholarship, the programmes under this campaign cater toward making degrees from foreign universities an affordable possibility for the Indian professional. The campaign even has a video documentary attached to it which will be launched on the upGrad YouTube channel today, on May 25. In a conversation with EdexLive, Phalgun Kompalli, Co-Founder of upGrad, discusses the scope of this innovative campaign and more.

“The ‘Learn Like You’re Here' campaign are programmes that we are launching with Golden Gate University. It is a 120-year-old university and its entire legacy has been to help working adults upscale and pursue more exciting careers. They have been at the forefront of using technology to deliver working professional-friendly education. According to the Washington Monthly rankings, it has stood as the No. 1 college for working adults for the last four years,” says Phalgun.

“So, we have positioned this campaign in this way so that the professionals can go to San Francisco if they want to study, but they can also study online from wherever they are and get the same experience, in terms of the faculty, peer groups and interactions with industry experts. So we have named it ‘Learn Like You’re Here’ to convey the message that one need not go to San Francisco, spend one thousand dollars and two years in order to get this kind of experience. It can be experienced online, alongside working a job,” Phalgun explains further.

Under this campaign, scholarships covering 70% of the course fee will be offered to 5,000 shortlisted students. Phalgun informs that upGrad has always given people scholarships since they have understood the need for it and this is not the first time that scholarships are being offered. But this campaign is significantly larger, in terms of the amount and scale of the scholarship. “We are giving out USD 100 million in scholarships in collaboration with GGU,” he says and adds, “We have not done anything like this before, so we are really excited and happy to be able to bring this to our learners in India."

Talking a bit more about the campaign, Phalgun says, “Right now, it’s only with GGU. A university also has to come in with the same perspectives to make education affordable. And GGU is on the same page as us and they are very happy to hand out these scholarships in collaboration with us. So, currently, this scholarship campaign is only for GGU programmes, though we will try and expand it in the future”.

Five online Master’s programmes are being offered, as of now, according to a press release by upGrad, in the areas of Management, Analytics and Law. They are Master of Business Administration (MBA), Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), Master of Science in Project Management, Master of Law - International Business and Finance Law and Master of Science - Business Analytics. “These are the programmes we started up with GGU for this campaign. We also want to cover programmes in Data, Policy and multiple areas will open up in the future,” states the co-founder.

He also adds that there will be no difference in the certificates for the students who opt for the online programme and those who opt for it physically. There will also be no difference in terms of the faculty or experience. “It will be exactly the same. Students will also have the option to complete half of the programme online and then move to California to complete the other half there. They can earn 15 credits online and the other 15 in the university, to make up the total requirement of 30 credits,” Phalgun informs. “Currently, we have planned to take the first 5,000 applicants who qualify under this campaign,” he says. Both upGrad and GGU have a committee each for the selection process.

Commenting on the selection process, he says, “The application process is rigorous and students have to submit their education and work backgrounds, and provide the details of any standardised tests they have appeared for. They have also got to write an SOP (Statement of Purpose) on why they want to pursue their careers at Golden Gate University, how this helps their career and how the scholarship will help them. Based on these details, we shortlist the candidates. The data is sent to the admission committee and they finalise the students. Once they qualify, the students receive a minimum of 70% scholarship, which covers the entire duration of the course, but the amount may even go on to cover 80-85% of the fee for some courses.".

How else does upGrad help applicants? “At upGrad, we provide a set of very robust counselling services for students," says Phalgun, and adds, "We also provide various kinds of mentorship to students, starting with simple skills like writing a CV, preparing for job interviews and interacting with industry experts. We have a career portal too where we list a lot of these jobs that we source from corporates that our students can apply to, apart from applying on portals like LinkedIn, Indeed etc. So, all of this should lead to students being academy prepared, but also having all the right frameworks and background to make sure that they can crack these opportunities successfully.”

A digital campaign in the form of a documentary is also going to be released. Phalgun says, “The documentary is going to talk about the legacy of Golden Gate University, as well as how we are working with the faculty and the ecosystem there to bring that experience to learners globally. It will be aimed at inspiring the working professionals here but also to communicate how we have structured this experience with our legacy and a strong institution like GGU, and bring it to them in a way that feels like they're not going to miss much by studying online.”

“We're really happy and proud about working with an institute like GGU and bringing the cost down to less than $10,000 for our learners internationally. I think that's a massive opportunity for learners,” he adds. He also says that the application process for this scholarship campaign has already started and more than a hundred students have already been enrolled. “The first batch is going to start on July 17, so by the end of June, we will be closing admissions for that particular batch of students and we expect to enroll about 500 for the first batch,” he concludes.

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