Profile : Dr. Samir N Karkhanis

Growth Hacking expert with two decades of experience across industries.  Dr Samir Karkhanis is the CEO of the Global Edu Tech company Yangpoo Executive Education, which represents leading Universities like Harvard Business School Online, IESE Business School, NMIMS University Global Access School for Continuing Education.

Yangpoo works with individual learners, corporate & Governments to help them identify their learning needs and provides them the right academic and non academic courses from leading universities and education providers in the online and classroom mode.

By qualification Dr Samir is a MBA & Phd in Marketing  and his expertise is in  enterprise sales, Growth hacking, digital transformation, strategic Alliances, design thinking & business development.

He has worked with leading organizations like ExxonMobil, Fosters, General Electrics & his last corporate job was Chief Marketing Officer of Welingkar Institute of Management.

Dr Samir is  a sought after  thought leader, speaker, resource  for CEOs of  companies   who need help to build  21st Century Skills &  strategies  to remain relevant in the ever changing world.

Dr Samir  is based in Mumbai with his family & believes that Risk is the only Security in Life.

While the covid-19 situation has put forward many challenges currently, it has also created great opportunities. So, we are putting together an industry story on ‘Opportunities & challenges for universities, institutes & colleges in a Covid-19 world’. 


  1. What have been your key challenges during the lockdown?
    First Challenge, the entire admissions cycle for the classroom based program is getting postponed. What is supposed to start in June and July will now start in September or December

    Second challenge is, when colleges will start, due to social distancing norms It is not known in what format they will start. Generally in a classroom there are 60 students, but now it may not be feasible to have so many students in the classroom. Colleges may have to run more lectures for the same class with low batch capacity.

    Parents will try to avoid sending students to undergrad colleges, Outside state students may not come to study in different states or cities especially in Mumbai. Getting students from outside Mumbai will be a big challenge as Mumbai has the highest number of Covid 19 Cases..  it will be challenging

    Third challenge is, Professors can’t teach online, Teaching on zoom and with PPTs is not the effective way to teach. Students are not interested. Entire content, teaching style, pedagogy needs to be changed.

    Video meetings should not be used for teaching but for the discussion, case studies, and student engagement. This is a big operational challenge too.

    The online education space market is growing very fast but its free content is being consumed and sales are not happening. Online distance learning programs are sold to those who do junior level of work in the salary range of Inr 20,000 to Inr 60,000. These candidates may not get jobs or even salaries. Therefore they might not opt for such a course.

    What about skill learning ? Do you think they will pick up ?

    Many working class people are taking these skill learning programs on different available platforms. These are free or at very low cost. They are taking these courses for acquiring knowledge but companies still have not approved that these courses are of any value. These are considered as Hobby courses. We have studied this phenomenon and this is what we have learned. Example is you may learn photography but that will not make you cinematographer.

    Online distance learning programs such as from NMIMS for one year with fees of approximately Inr 70,000 is a value that companies seek from employees but not a 30 Hour godaddy digital marketing program for 6,000. It will not get a job. If you get online certification from a Brand, Credible faculty and Certification from a reputed university then companies will be ready to hire.

    It is a free consumption online which is growing. People are doing a 10 hour free module with upgrad but when it asks for a credit card for payment, they are dropping out.

  2. How do you see digital technologies helping you overcome these challenges?
    They have to completely take college universities online. This is different from conducting zoom classes.Zoom is just the delivery broadcasting platform. Online learning is completely different. The pedagogy needs to be changed in the curriculum. Maybe it will reshape the entire model of current K+12, 12+3 for Graduation and then Graduation + 2 years of masters degree type of education. Companies may say they don’t want 12+3 degree students’ education sitting in the classroom. The college classes are only for a few hours in the morning so it is not actually a 3 year program. That model is going to be completely dissolved. You have to take a skilled based education program that will give you a job today. All education needs to be Industry aligned programs co-created with the industry.

    Content needs to be changed.  Pocket size learning, Case studies, Experiments is the new way of learning. It will be pocket size learning, not 2 to 3 hours lecture for young students.

  3. What changes in student behaviour do you foresee due to Covid-19 pandemic? Do you predict an increase in the number of students signing-up for online courses? How, in your opinion, can digital technologies help in overcoming the challenge thrown by this behavioural change? Do you see online classes / online teaching becoming the new normal from this point onwards?
    They are already on the  digital journey for many years, they will be more than happy. Those who use whatsapp understand digital. They consume online platforms such as Swiggy, Zomato, Amazon, Flipkart, Netflix, Bookmyshow and Oyo rooms. He is doing everything else in his life in digital other than education, now it will be online. Student behaviour is very adaptive provided the content and quality is as good as OTT platforms. Education should be of that level. They don’t want old classroom teachers teaching on Zoom and it should be relevant. They want to select their choice of course, choice of subject and learn. Do It Yourself (DIY), On Demand, On Time is the new  way they would like to consume the learning. The fees may come down as there are no additional costs for a classroom.

    Government is also  promoting it. Students can take dual degrees now, classroom and online.. This will happen very fast, time has come it is going to be the new normal.

  4. Thanks to the many learning apps, students entering college education are now habituated to learning through education videos. Are you also planning to create education videos, to improve the pedagogy at your university/ institute/ college?
    We are thinking to collaborate with the best of the best colleges and industries in India, prepare the syllabus and the content by hiring the best faculty. What else is required  ? Yangpoo will prepare this content very fast. Other colleges can not think so fast. Upgrad, Udemy like platforms are collaborating with high quality content developers therefore they can sell online and challenging age old reputed universities and colleges. They are selling 3 Lakh courses in 3 months whereas universities are selling 3 years courses at the same cost.  Edtech platforms are moving very very fast and challenging conventional educational techniques. Edtech Platforms are delivering  the new ways of teaching acceptable by students whereas all institutes and universities are still delivering with age-old methods. All colleges, universities, institutes have to change the pedagogy. Corona has taught you how to study, watch, order, learn, call online and also for those who were not doing it already. Everyone has understood what kind of education is possible online. Such a crisis may come again and to prepare for it online education is a must.
  5. Please share some of your insights & learnings from the lockdown.
    • Days of 12+3 graduation is coming to an end. People have realized that so much time is not required to get a degree by spending time in colleges and universities.
    • People will only need specific education to acquire specific skills which will help them to stay relevant for current and tomorrow’s job. Therefore it has to be pocket sized and on demand. Each individual may acquire multiple certificates not single stream studies. Example If I am a commerce graduate but I want to acquire para medical, I will do the necessary certification course. Such cross learning will grow.
    • For the post graduation age of people from 22 to 60, they will need to upskill themselves because they are trying to solve the problem of tomorrow with the education of yesterday. They have to perform today. Parents also have lost their jobs as they are not relevant.
    • There are not going to be permanent jobs very soon. Entire job market will be like freelancing, Companies will pay you only if you perform. Earlier 80% was fixed and 20% variable, now it will change to 20% fix and 80% variable.

This change will happen gradually and then suddenly within a few years. Take the example of Paytm, Swiggy, Zomato,Uber, Ola and many such apps which were not in India a few  years ago but are part of our daily life now.

Posted By: 

Chandan Bagwe

Chandan Bagwe, is the Founder and Managing Director of C Com Digital, founded the company two decades ago in 1998. This can be attributed to consistent and immaculate services in online development and marketing along with recruitment of an experienced and specialized team under his stewardship. Chandan has established the company as the leading techno digital marketing agency in India essentially focusing on the digital publicity of brands by integrating Content Curation & Creation, influencer marketing, digital public relations and distribution of varied content. The company has worked with leading brands such as  Times Now, Edelweiss, Tata Interactive Systems, Tata ClassEdge, Asian Heart Institute, Anunta Technology Management Services Pvt. Ltd, Blue Cross Laboratories Pvt. Ltd, We School, Outlook Publishing, Southern Health Foods Pvt. Ltd (Manna), Ram Ratna Group, and Globus to name a few.