emeritus harvard business school: Edtech unicorn Emeritus story now a Harvard Business School case study

The story of edtech unicorn Emeritus, a leading player in online executive education, is now a case study at the Harvard Business School (HBS), the company said on Tuesday.

‘Emeritus: Achieving impact, providing access’ traces the first phase of the company’s founding journey by co-founders Ashwin Damera and Chaitanya Kalipatnapu, showcasing its innovative approach to education, which has expanded opportunities to learners globally, and previews the road that lies ahead.

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“Chaitanya and I embarked on this journey to break down barriers to high-quality education,” said Ashwin Damera, co-founder and CEO, Emeritus. “It is humbling to see our endeavour recognised as a case study by Harvard. We hope that our approach to building Emeritus can offer some learnings to other entrepreneurs building mission-driven teams.”

The case study, which will be used in courses offered by Harvard, tracks the journey of Damera, an HBS alumnus, and Kalipatnapu, an alumnus of INSEAD, who shared a dream of making societal impact by bringing access to high-quality education. Authored by HBS senior lecturer Ashish Nanda and research associate Zack Kurtovich, it chronicles the origins of Emeritus’s journey from idea to achieving global scale.

In the online executive education segment, Emeritus led the way by offering small private online courses (SPOCs), cohort-based programmes with a mix of synchronous and asynchronous elements, high-touch student support and live faculty interactions, opening it up to individuals from emerging markets, who would otherwise have to travel to the university campuses or pay huge amounts.

Amid recent upheaval in the edtech sector, the case study notes that the success metrics for the Emeritus co-founders are not valuations or financial returns, but the impact on individuals, companies and society.

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The case study also dives into the future plans of the company to continue to expand and revolutionise the executive education and upskilling segment. Emeritus is gearing up to navigate new markets, expand its product offerings and forge newer strategic partnerships.