With an aim to build India’s first business school focused on creating startup leaders, Mesa School of Business has raised INR 34 crores from Elevation Capital and notable angel investors such as Kunal Shah (Cred), Vidit Aatrey (Meesho), Abhiraj Bahl, and others.
With the fresh funds, Mesa School of Business aims to build a cutting-edge, hands-on, and application-based curriculum, designed and delivered in partnership with startup leaders and potential future employers for a founding cohort of just 60 hand-picked students.
This comes in contrast to traditional MBAs that focus on teaching theoretical topics and focus on equipping their students for careers in consulting and other similar traditional roles and industries.
The company said the founding cohort will be a 12-month, full-time PG program in Startup Leadership, based out of Bangalore. The program is aimed at transforming young professionals by preparing them for the challenges of leadership roles in Indian startups. With access to founders and seasoned startup practitioners as mentors, students will get the opportunity to learn about running and scaling startups by building their own startup businesses as part of the coursework.
At the end of the program, students will get access to opportunities for leadership roles at top startups and technology companies in the country, the company said.
Explaining the program, the founding team of Mesa School of Business said in a joint statement,
We believe startups will be responsible for creating the bulk of the new aspirational jobs in India, and yet there isn’t a b-school focused on preparing candidates to be successful in these leadership roles. This gap inspired us to start Mesa School. We have kept ‘learning by doing’ as the core principle of the program where every candidate will get to learn business directly from startup CXOs and practitioners, build startup businesses from scratch as part of coursework and deeply immerse themselves into Bangalore’s startup ecosystem. We have kept our inaugural cohort small at only 60 exceptional students to keep the experience personal, deliver an unparalleled learning experience and ensure strong outcomes for our students.
The program will also focus on individual leadership growth for students with 200+ hours of leadership workshops with army veterans, communication & stage presence hackathons with coaches & theatre artists, and 1:1 industry mentorship.
The campus is strategically located in Bangalore with 500+ startup offices within a 5 km radius, providing unprecedented access for students to the startup ecosystem and its prominent leaders. Additionally, the campus will offer a state-of-the-art, immersive learning, and living space for students to build lifelong peer and industry connections through 20+ boot camps & hackathons to learn, get feedback from, and network with top startup CEOs in new-age industries and skill areas like EV, B2B SAAS, Open-AI applications, Design Thinking & UI/UX for leaders, Product & Growth Hacking, Agritech, Building for Bharat, etc.
Commenting on the investment, Mukul Arora, Managing Partner, Elevation Capital, said,
We believe there is a clear opportunity to build new age, outcome-focused higher-ed institutes in India. Therefore we could immediately relate to Ankit and Varun’s vision of building a business school of the future, focussed on entrepreneurship and the start-up ecosystem. Their long-term orientation and their focus on creating a very high-quality experience and outcome for students really stood out for us. We are thrilled to partner with them on this journey to create an iconic Indian higher-ed institution.
Mesa School’s curriculum and program have been designed in collaboration with seasoned startup founders, practitioners, and senior leaders. Many have agreed to come onboard as faculty and mentors. Some key names include Aditya Shrivastava (SVP, Urban Company – “Operating at scale in India”), Himesh Joshi (Founder – Ayu Health, GoZefo, “Build for Healthcare in Middle India”), Mukul Arora (Managing Partner, Elevation Capital – “How to evaluate startup opportunities”), Saurabh Jain (Founder StableMoney, ex-Navi – “Build Fintech business in India”), Suhail Vadgaokar (Head of People, Deserve – “How to build culture & teams in a high growth startup”), Madhura Kale (Principal Product Manager – Amazon – “Product Management in Big Tech”), Rahool Gadkari (Co-Founder – Neufin, Kellogg – “Business of Climate Tech in India”), and Neha Bareja (Brand Meesho, “New age marketing for Indian consumers”), among many others.
The Mesa School of Business program promises to give a better return on investment (ROI) for working professionals over traditional 2-year MBAs. The founding cohort for the one-year PG program in Startup Leadership is set to commence in September this year. The course fee for the program is INR 14.95 lac for a full year. The company said significant scholarship support will also be offered to the founding cohort to remove all financial hindrances and build a truly diverse group of exceptional student peers, like women leaders, entrepreneurs and ex-armed forces/athletes/creative artists, and more.
To ensure that the student peer group is of exceptional quality, the founding cohort is being kept very exclusive and limited to only 60 students. The first application deadline is on 28 May 2023. The company said more than 300+ applications have already been submitted and it expects the final numbers to be more than 1000.