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From upskilling to lifelong learning: How Jaro Education is transforming careers

Mumbai-based higher education company Jaro Education has tied up with Indian and foreign universities to offer online courses and help upskill working professionals.

From upskilling to lifelong learning: How Jaro Education is transforming careers

Friday February 16, 2024 , 8 min Read

Dr Sanjay Salunkhe, a first-generation entrepreneur from Maharashtra, bootstrapped higher Edtech upskilling firm Jaro Education in 2009, at a time when online learning wasn’t as widespread as it is today. But, amid existing employment challenges, Salunkhe decided to focus on upskilling working professionals in India in collaboration with a leading B-school.

The upskilling firm went on to revolutionise the yet-unknown field of online education in India, registering phenomenal growth. Jaro Education, now worth over Rs 2,000 crore, remains bootstrapped and profitable, and is scaling rapidly and delivering measurable value and positive impact.

A bridge between industry and academia

Jaro Education provides more than 150+ management, technology, and techno-functional programmes in collaboration with reputed institutes across the globe. With its strong domain expertise and insight into executive education, it claims to have transformed the careers of over three lakh professionals in the last 14+ years and has expanded across 23+ offices across India.

The company is nurturing entrepreneurs and working professionals from entry-level to C-suite level in every field and industry, by offering executive education programmes that cater to their requirements.

Mumbai-based Jaro Education actively supports universities in launching programmes by carrying out market research, conceptualising industry-relevant content, providing technical support and online infrastructure for a seamless learning experience, and orienting the faculty. It also facilitates the development of leadership and technology-based online programmes for many leading Indian and global institutes.

“Our goal has been to serve as a pivotal bridge looking at the unprecedented need, harmonising the realms of iIndustry and academia. Over the past 14+ years, we've provided 150+ management, technology, and techno-functional programs in collaboration with esteemed global institutes, positively impacting the careers of over three lakh professionals,” Salunkhe says.

The upskilling company has long-term relationships and sustained partnerships with numerous top institutes, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (MIT IDSS), The Wharton Interactive (an initiative of The Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania), Rotman School of Management (University of Toronto), IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Kozhikode, IIM Indore, IIM Mumbai, IIM Tiruchirappalli, IIT Madras Pravartak, CEP - IIT Delhi, E&ICT - IIT Guwahati, Symbiosis International University (SSODL), and others.

Catalyst for growth

Given the continually changing corporate environment, the necessity for continuous upskilling and reskilling will remain a focal point, with Jaro Education serving as a catalyst for consistent growth.

According to a recent McKinsey report, large employers now consider employee upskilling and reskilling a necessity to bridge talent gaps without overspending on new hires, thereby driving the professional growth of their workforce and effectively reducing churn.

Multiple factors have played a significant role in the growth and success of Jaro Education. Expanding to multiple cities to reach a wider market and create value in terms of quality and accessible education has been a key factor. Additionally, associating with the right institutes and launching programmes that ensure learners' outcomes are met has been a focus in delivering quality education.

The organisation has not been constrained to one method of learning, which allowed it to evolve according to changing market needs. This adaptability is evident in innovations in proposed programmes, changes in the curriculum pattern, exploration of different learning modes, and the inclusion of advanced learning tools.

"We prioritise creating value over high valuations. Our focus is on counselling rather than just making sales, emphasising relationships built on trust and genuine value,” says Salunkhe, Chairman and Managing Director.

In a fast-paced world where technology is revolutionising processes, staying relevant has become a major challenge for individuals and organizations alike. By upskilling, companies can provide employees with opportunities to gain knowledge, new tools, and the ability to advance themselves in the workplace and their daily lives.

Apart from the efforts of the leadership group, Salunkhe believes that the company’s employees have made a substantial contribution. ESOPs are also given to employees and faculty members.

Empowering with lifelong learning

Jaro Education addresses the need for "lifelong learning" with its networking platform, Jaro Connect. The community-building platform for networking and information exchange, between current learners and alumni, creates an ecosystem for learning enthusiasts and professionals.

The initiative aims to go beyond traditional education and career assistance. It focuses on continuous learning, holistic growth, and the evolution of new-age roles. The platform operates as a 24X7 gateway to a diverse range of quality boot camps, webinars, masterclasses, and training programmes. It offers skills while raising awareness about current market needs.

This platform offers a blend of valuable career guidance and seamless access to a wealth of knowledge. It goes beyond mere job placement, showcasing the power of ongoing education. Jaro Connect provides free job application services, with placement and career assistance, including instant resume and LinkedIn enhancement. Paired with tailored job recommendations, this allows candidates to apply for multiple jobs and secure positions in desired roles at over 500 companies on-boarded on the platform.

Growing Jaro Education

The failure of many edtech companies can be attributed to a lack of strategic focus. From prioritising only valuation over EBITA to heavily relying on investor funds during funding winters and venturing into new startups without adequate industry experience, these missteps reflect a broader issue in the industry. Fast, indiscriminate acquisitions, unreasonable marketing spending, and a lack of rigorous cost-benefit analysis have become a risky proposition.

“Success isn't just about where you start; it's about the choices you make along the way. As pioneers and the first movers, we established an experienced and sustainable business model, laying a strong foundation. The decision to remain self-funded proved invaluable, providing a profound understanding of the value for money and fostering organic growth that strengthened our roots. Our EBITA-focused approach played a pivotal role in ensuring structured and robust growth, setting us apart in the competitive landscape,” says Ranjita Raman, CEO of Jaro Education.

She adds that the company’s “focus on productivity, with confidence bolstered by consistent year-over-year growth, and the strategic progress made in forming premium partnerships and delivering quality offerings, further solidified our standing in the market”.

Jaro Education has come a long way, transforming the careers of many and making significant strides on its path. The company, which began by focusing on upskilling working professionals, now offers programmes ranging from online bachelor's to master's degrees and doctorates, along with long-duration and short-duration certifications in diverse domains from the globe's finest universities. Courses are available in management, technology, strategy, data science, business analytics, product and marketing, human resources, operation, supply chain, fintech, EV and more.

Salunkhe believes a steady and sustainable approach is a wise strategy to foster a company’s growth. Jaro Education expects its revenue to grow over 70% to Rs 200 crore this fiscal year, driven by an increase in partnerships with Tier I institutions, in India and overseas, as well as geographic expansion.

"We have been profitable since the first year. Jaro closed FY23 with an operating net revenue of Rs 122.15 crore and is poised to surpass the Rs 200-crore mark in FY24, with an expected EBITA of Rs 60 crore," the founder says.

Raman adds that Jaro Education is growing sustainably because it is conservative when choosing partnerships and programmes. “Despite global uncertainties and funding challenges in edtech, we maintained a sharp focus on having a positive EBITDA,” she says.

The company expects business to grow 50-55% over a period of three years, starting from FY25.

An eye on the future

Across India, a gap exists between industry expectations and course curricula. Jaro Education is working to establish robust infrastructure and facilities and offer students valuable hands-on experience. This combination of theoretical knowledge and practical expertise will better prepare students to navigate and contribute effectively to their respective industries, broadening employment prospects in a rapidly evolving job market.

The future appears dynamic due to disruptive technology and the "Learn, Unlearn, and Relearn" phenomenon and Jaro knows that incorporating the right technological tools is necessary to make learning more immersive and flexible. The inclusion of Generative AI, AR, and VR-based will help provide a smooth and exciting learning experience.

The company, which has a presence in six Tier II cities, plans to start operations in another 10-12 cities in a year. It also aims to partner with more overseas institutes. "We have also started our global expansion and have collaborated with some top institutes, including MIT IDSS, Wharton Interactive, etc.,” Raman says.

On his vision for the future, Salunkhe says getting equity capital is not difficult as a lot of investors are eager to fund and invest in good companies. “However, no one can give good human capital, which is why nurturing good talent and building a core leadership group is key to growing at a rapid pace.”