Upgrad, the online learning platform focusing on short/medium term higher education courses, has appointed Arjun Mohan, former Chief Business Officer at BYJU’S, as the CEO of its India operations. The appointment is particularly a big one given Arjun’s decade-old expertise in the edtech sector and crucial hands-on, ground work in unicorn edtech upstart BYJU’s.

Mohan was one of the longest-serving employees at BYJU’S, starting his career as a teacher. He slowly moved up the ranks and occupied a number of managerial positions, including Head for Sales and Marketing, spearheading the International Business, Vice President- Marketing, and most recently, Chief Business Officer.

Before joining BYJU’S, Mohan had brief stints with Tata Motors, Tata Realty And Infrastructure Ltd. (TRIL) and Sir Dorabji Tata and Allied Trusts. He started his career as a Tata Administrative Services Manager after graduating from IIM Kozhikode, also heading Sales and Operations at Titan Industries.

Mayank Kumar, co-founder and managing director at upGrad, expressed his optimism with the appointment given Arjun’s vast know-how of the online educations sector. “Arjun brings with him a rich understanding of the online education space, the evolving consumer landscape, and keen business acumen. I’m glad to have him on board as upGrad establishes a leadership position in the 50M+ working professional ecosystem in India,” he said in a statement.

“We have only scratched the surface of this large addressable market and with Arjun coming on board, I am certain that we will push towards further cementing our leadership position in the online higher education market.”

In a press statement, Mohan said, “From where I see, there is a huge potential in the online higher education space, and upGrad with its unique proposition is set to win the market. Being part of the core team that drove exponential business growth in my previous organization, I am confident of leveraging my experience to further accelerate upGrad’s growth journey.”

The appointment comes at a strategic time, given the current situation. Students and working professionals alike, all are turning to online learning as COVID-19 has severely disrupted activities throughout the globe. As anticipated, online learning and upskilling platforms have seen massive surge in usage. And Upgrad’s numbers speak for that fact. The company has reported a 50% surge of in user activity. Market-wise, the platform competes with Edureka, Coursera, Unacademy, and Simplilearn, in the estimated $247 Million online higher education market in India. This number is estimated to rise eight-fold to $1.96 Billion by 2021. Given the congested market, what makes upGrad stand out is the unique hand-holding it provides to the learners on the platform.

“We even hear it from our students as well till today, that there is no other brand that has been able to provide this level of direction, guidance, motivation and support the way we do. The moment a learner is assigned a batch to begin the program, a student mentor gets in touch with them. From day one onwards, the learner/mentee and student mentor start communicating regarding program-specific topics. From then on the learner’s experiences, life’s problems and joys become an unforgettable part of the student, mentor’s life too. Such is the bond that we build with the learner. And when that learner receives his certification/ diploma at the end of the program, nothing makes our student mentor happier than to see his mentee succeed”, Mayank says.