We are really excited about the students of our very first batch of StartUp with UpGrad graduating tomorrow, 5th of June. As we walk away from the experiences, teachings and moments which we’ve harnessed with the first batch of our entrepreneurship program, it truly feels like our entrepreneurial journey has begun. The journey has so far been infused with knowledge from various domains like marketing, finances, approaching investors, legal structures etc. On their graduation day, we asked a few of our students about their memories and experiences during and after the 4-month program.

What is the best part of the program for you?

When asked this question, the students had varied answers. “My favourite part of the program is case studies. It really clears your concepts and opens your mind.” said Tarun Mishra. There were some like Ruturaj Kohok, who was pleasantly taken aback by the fact that many entrepreneurs discussed their businesses so openly. For others, this served as an inspiration and filled them with positivity. Among the modules however, branding, marketing took the lead as favourites amongst the students.

“I think my favourite part has been the branding and marketing module. I really enjoyed listening to Mr. Siddharth Roy Kapur”  – Taher Patrawalla

What sacrifices did you make?

The old adage “the goal is worth the sacrifice” was taken up as a mantra by our soon-to-be entrepreneurs. Some adjusted their work schedule to fit around the StartUp with UpGrad program while some sacrificed time with their loved ones to watch their dreams preserve another day. Going to work early, multi-tasking, late nights, giving up their family time to chase down their goals, each one has a story unique to them.

“I have a 12-year-old daughter and have to spend time with her over weekends. Many a time, I have skipped a social event or my daughter’s chores to get through some case study.” – Sudhendra Seshachala

How did you manage time?

The key to getting the most out of the course has been sticking to a schedule and prioritizing. Dedicating 1-2 hours to UpGrad daily has helped the students to cope with the course workload.

“Every morning when I planned my daily schedule I planned 1 -2 hours for UpGrad on my list.” said Ruturaj Kohok

The priority list approach helped give time to the learning modules. A lot of the students diligently prioritised their professional and personal life to suite UpGrad’s schedule.

What did you learn?

All in all, many students have already started applying what they’ve learnt, to their ventures. Different concepts like choosing a target segment, value proposition, differentiation, creating entry barriers, researching, preparing a business plan, implementing design thinking etc. are being successfully applied by many of the students.

 “I have called my digital marketing team and taken them through my learning.” – Rahul Sirohia

Networking opportunities have been the cherry on the cake. With such a diverse talent pool the opportunity to network to find solutions to one another’s problems were enormous.

What needs to change?

The students also gave their valuable pointers to make the course more effective. Including more modules, covering diverse topics could help make the course more exhaustive. Some of the students also made a special request to include more case studies of successful startups, giving the course a more positive tinge.

“It would be helpful if we can have a session on managing finance and cash flow in a starting business.” – Taher Patrawalla

Overall, the entire journey has been a great exchange of ideas and mindsets, we learnt almost as much from our batch of 2015 as they’ve from us. Now it is up to them to apply the knowledge they’ve acquired in their own Startups and become role models for the future generations. To the Alumni of 2015 we say ‘live long and prosper’.