Teaching the taught, GlobalGyan makes graduates relevant for companies

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The huge number of graduates in India would make for a rich resource base, but Linkedin research shows over 80 percent of engineering graduates are not only unemployed but unemployable as they lack the right skillsets.

The real challenge, thus, is to make graduates employable.

As Chief Strategy Officer at Tata Communications, Srinivas Addepalli realised that the management education market was lacking when it came to meeting corporate requirements.

The beginnings

Srinivas set up the GlobalGyan Academy of Management Education (GlobalGyan, or GAME), a management capabilities enhancement firm, to help companies bridge their managerial talent gaps.

Working on a B2B model, GlobalGyan partners with companies in various sectors, be it IT, or telecom, and builds tailor-made courses for freshers to help them gain the required managerial skills. The team claims their clients include a few Tata group companies, Godrej and Bajaj Finance.

Resigning from the Tata group, Srinivas explored opportunities in the management education space. He started with a freelance consulting model, designing and delivering workshops on strategy, finance and business communication.

“Soon, I realised that it would be more valuable to clients if we blended other areas of expertise, so I partnered with others like me to offer more complex programmes. I built up a good client base, primarily through word of mouth and repeat business was high.”

However, Srinivas saw it was difficult to scale a high-touch profitable consulting services model.

The seed of the company

GlobalGyan was incorporated in November 2015. With a concept in mind, Srinivas reached out to Sameer Kanse, his colleague in the Tata group for 10 years. Sameer, who as then pursuing an executive MBA at MIT, saw first-hand the issues in the education market that needed to be addressed.

However, the defining moment came in September 2015 as Srinivas attended a Master Teacher Programme at ISB, Hyderabad. During one of the exercises, he came up with the idea of building managerial assessments as a MMORG (Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game).

“Excited, I sent a message to Sameer (who would later join as my co-founder), who cautioned me that while it is definitely an idea worth pursuing, we need to get our base business built out first. And that is how it was. About a year later, we started building the assessment app,” says Srinivas.

“Our team, which includes a product manager, technology lead and other content designers and developers, is now eight, and will soon grow to 10,” explains Srinivas.

The team focussed on building a network of experts to provide services under GlobalGyan, and on creation of scale through digital delivery.

How it works

The team uses gaming as a tool for testing. Participants play a series of ‘games’, for a few minutes every day, to test what, and how well, they have learnt. By tracking a manager’s scores at the beginning and end of the learning period, the company provides an objective measure of the learning effectiveness.

GlobalGyan is conceptualised the VALYOU platform and was initially meant to be limited to measuring functional expertise or cognitive skills. However, with the development of the app and the content, the team realised it could also be used to identify behavioural competencies and even personality traits.

With that in mind, the team set about designing games and simulations that capture real behaviour rather than a manager’s assertion of a candidate’s behaviour.

“Now that we have the assessment platform in place, we have found various other use-cases, as a selection tool for recruitment and promotions, and as a validation / benchmarking tool for performance management,” explains Srinivas.

The GlobalGyan team works with over a dozen partners, depending on the client and programme requirements, says Srinivas.

“FY17 was our first full year as a company, and we worked with 300 managers from ten major corporates during the year. More importantly, 12 percent of our revenues came from digital. This year, we are on track to double our revenues, and increase the share of digital delivery to 20-25 percent. “

The team charges customers per programme or per participant, depending on the nature of the assignment.

The market and future

With skill development a buzzword, there are several startups in the space, such as Simplilearn, UpGrad and bootstrapped Great Learning, to name a few. Also, with the talk of AI requiring re-skilling, there is a stronger push to newer learning.

“Nevertheless, the market for continuing management education is huge and is highly fragmented. Therefore, our focus is to provide a great product and value to our customers, and not worry too much about competition,” says Srinivas.