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MBA alumna on a mission to create accessible education opportunities

Cambridge Judge Business School alumna Priyanka Agarwal (MBA 2014), recently won the Women of the Future (WoF) “MBA Star” award. Priyanka shares her insights about the award and the startup she’s working on.

Priyanka Agarwal recieving her award

Priyanka Agarwal, centre, with her award

Vritti Learning and Research (Vritti means a new wave of mental thought in Sanskrit) is a technology driven education company that offers equal opportunities to individuals to explore, identify and achieve their life journeys. The venture is currently based between the UK and India and the team is working on its first two products.

How did you come up with the idea? Why education?

I was fortunate to study in great universities in the US and the UK and wanted to find a way to pack the experiences into a box to make these learning opportunities accessible to everyone. I always knew I was going to devote my life to help people achieve their passions and education seemed the most natural way to do it. Vritti evolved as a support system to the higher education system and was still bricks and mortar when I decided to go to market. Here, I realised that there were many gatekeepers preventing the services from being easily accessible to individuals and that is when we decided to fully embrace technology as a solution.

What are the main challenges?

During my studies at Cambridge Judge, I undertook the Cambridge MBA’s Global Consulting Project in the US. I was able to first hand see the impact of technology and my mind-set began to change. I asked one of my classmates to critique my business plan at this point, and he challenged me to ensure that the venture would be relevant for the next tech-driven generation too. I then went back to the drawing board to redesign the vision in a format that was driven by technology and would have a global appeal. I don’t have a tech background and that has been a challenge so far, but the venture is all about self-development and pushing your boundaries so I am happy to have the opportunity to do it myself too! We are still in the development stage so the biggest challenges and successes are still to come.

Women of the Future Awards – how important is this to your career?

The Awards have been a great source of motivation and inspiration to me and it was an honor to receive the award from HRH Princess Zahra Aga Khan. Additionally, the support of the successful and experienced women on the judging panel gave me validation. But more than anything, it opens up access to a network of women who are genuinely vested in each other’s growth. The ethos of Vritti is an embodiment of my own values to help people pursue their passions and I know I am part of a minority of women who had the opportunity to pursue a world class education and I hope that I am able to add value to the women who are part of the network and help create equal opportunities. I have got this far with the collaboration and kindness of my MBA colleagues, my friends and family. The Women of the Future network will be another invaluable support.

How do you think the Cambridge MBA helped you with your career and venture?

The Cambridge MBA has been so vital to where I am today: Exposing me to the importance of thinking in terms of technology, emphasising and re-emphasising the importance of collaboration, bringing together classmates from different walks of life to truly understand how to create something that connects the human nerve beyond divides of geography, sectors and demographics. It was amazing to just be surrounded by the plethora of knowledge and be able to learn about subjects that are beyond the scope of a traditional MBA through interaction with students and professors across other disciplines.

What are your plans for the future?

The plan for the future is to take the vision of Vritti forward at full steam and launch the first products soon that hopefully will dramatically alter the world of education.