Masai Press Conference Ft. Mithali Raj and Bhaichung Bhutia

It was an iconic day and a day on which Masai invigorated its mission and vision of promoting outcome-oriented education, building the country’s largest employable tech workforce, and helping thousands of households eliminate the poverty barrier.

Masai Press Conference event recap thumbnail

Relive the iconic Masai Press Conference featuring Indian sports legends Mithali Raj and Bhaichung Bhutia. Follow the journey of students who received scholarships and the impact of this transformative day.

On a bright sunny day in Bengaluru (which is an exception in itself at times), Masai hosted a grand event: actually a cluster of events at the Taj Hotels, MG Road. Since early morning, you could see our team members hustling, bustling, and running across different corners of the hotel in preparation for the event and you knew something big was about to happen.

Yes, Masai had a few major announcements to make on the day that included its successful series B funding of $10 million, the onboarding of two Indian sports stalwarts- Mithali Raj and Bhaichung Bhutia as our brand ambassadors, the launch of two new scholarships for Masai students, and the launch of new courses in a press release.

We’ll give you a full run-down of this iconic day in Masai’s history. So, stay tuned.

The Beginning

As the clock struck 10 AM and people from the media gathered in the banquet hall, there was a sense of excitement you could feel.  Our students from both the full-time and part-time batches in web development and data analytics had also traveled from far-off places for receiving the scholarships.

The air was filled with an infectious energy that was difficult to ignore due to the pupils' electrifying eagerness. They had assembled enthusiastically far in advance of the planned hour, faces alive with expectation and ear-to-ear smiles. Their eyes twinkled with a mixture of appreciation and pride as they realized that their perseverance and commitment to learning web programming and data analytics had paid off and brought them to this point.

The kids' conversations were lively as they shared journey memories, expressed common goals, and spoke about how this scholarship would affect their futures. Some even openly flaunted their Masai School membership by sporting stickers and insignia on their laptops.

Breakfast was up for grabs, while the media folks from CNBC, PTI, Inc42, and Times of India, among others, set up their tools and equipment for the press conference.

A little while later, Prateek Shukla (Co-Founder & CEO, Masai) entered the room for a brief press interaction with CNBC along with the two chief guests for the day.

While it went on in the left corner of the hall, there was pin-drop silence on the other side, defied only occasionally by faint murmurs.

12:45 PM - The attention shifted to the stage as Ankur Kayesth(SVP Marketing, Masai) announced the start of the conference, accompanied by the inspiring tale of Ashish Raj, an alumnus of Masai who went from driving cabs to working as a software engineer with the FSWD course at Masai.

The media personnel and other attendees keenly watched the story on the projector screen and duly applauded the transformation. Transformation in career- that’s what Masai stands for after all.

The applauders couldn’t get a break as Prateek entered the hall again with the ambassadors at the same exact time.

After a warm welcome, Ankur gave a brief introduction to Masai’s mission, shedding light on the concept of outcome-based education.

The goal of Masai School is to provide kids with an education that is outcome-based, ensuring that they not only acquire skills but also master them. Masai emphasises real-world applicability via intensive, hands-on instruction in disciplines like web programming and data analytics. Students leave school equipped to succeed in the IT sector and job-ready. Through the alignment of learning objectives with observable, career-defining outcomes, this method closes the gap between education and work. Masai's dedication to outcome-based education gives students the tools they need to succeed in a fast-changing, cutthroat employment world.

He then welcomed Nrupul Dev (Co-Founder & CTO, Masai) and Yogesh Bhat (Co-Founder & SVP- Holistic Development) on the stage.

Over to Prateek-

Sharing stories about Masai’s origin and emphasizing the need for an outcome-driven education in the country, Prateek said-

Students learn in a StudyNow, Pay After Placement model, where they pay a fee for their Education at Masai only when they get placed with a job of INR 3.5 Lakhs Per Annum or more. Masai envisions, creating a world where every young Indian realizes their true potential and contributes to the workforce by skilling Bharat with high-quality disciplined education.

Masai has placed more than 2000+ students across 25 batches that have graduated, with a placement rate of over 94% and an average CTC of INR 7.2 lakhs per annum. The company has enabled student placements with more than 4000 of its hiring partners, including companies such as Ola, Swiggy, Meesho, Capgemini, Paytm, Dream11, GlobalLogic, and ShareChat. Masai currently has 7000 students enrolled.”

Then was the time for the big announcement- Prateek announced that Masai has successfully raised a Series B funding round worth $10 million (Rs. 81 crores) which was led by Omidyar Network India along with existing investors, including India Quotient and Unitus Ventures, and Alteria Capital.

Masai, India's top Pay-After-Placement institute, will be able to introduce two new course categories, as well as expand their core "zero-to-one" skilling course in Software Development and Data Analytics, thanks to the fresh funding infusion.

Right after the applause settled, the two sports icons unveiled the Mithali Raj Scholarship for Women in Technology and the Bhaichung Scholarship for Extracurricular Excellence respectively, which will provide INR 1.5 crores in financial aid to Masai students each year.

It was received by a huge roar of enthusiasm from the audience.

Speaking on the alliance with Masai, Mithali said-

“Masai focuses on gender equity. That was the first and foremost reason for this association. When women get the opportunity to develop their skills and be successful, it hugely influences the women around them. It is our(refers to Bhaichung) skills and performance that have gotten us to where we are today, and Masai gives those skills to all youngsters without any gender bias. This scholarship will give women the chance to thrive in the tech industry, which is still a male-dominated one, and we’re sure many of you will change the landscape.”

Bhaichung- “I like the concept they(Masai) operate on. Identifying the talent, training them, and ensuring they get placed in the IT industry. A lot of students can’t afford to get the high-end courses and colleges and their future goes into a downward spiral. With pay-after-placement, their future can be entirely different. It reminds me of European football clubs; they identify and groom talent in a similar fashion. I wish Masai and all the students who are getting the scholarship, and who will get the scholarship, the best of luck”

1: 15 PM - Amidst flashing lights and the sound of camera shutters, both Mithali and Bhaichung signed the Scholarship Memorandum of Understanding(MOU). A truly iconic moment for Masai, an institute that has been on its toes since its inception, on the mission to provide career opportunities to the untapped potential of the country.

After a series of questions from the reporters, it was time for lunch.

-Followed discussions among the students over tech careers, the scope of growth in the industry, Bhaichung’s best goals, and Mithali’s best innings, over some finely cooked dal makhani, murgh lababdars, and delicious desserts.

Most students had traveled to Bengaluru for the first time, some of them with their parents, and soon they were going to be the first recipients of the said scholarships. What a bright day!

2:00 PM - It was time for the most important segment of the day- scholarship distribution. All the female students stood in line as they were called one by one to be awarded the scholarship for academic excellence(demonstrated during the respective Masai courses) by Mithali Raj. Who better to award for excellence than the lady who laid the foundation for women's cricket in India, you’d agree.

After that, it was the boys' chance to take the stage and accept their scholarships in recognition of exhibiting remarkable talent in extracurricular activities. These prizes were awarded by Bhaichung Bhutia, a great figure in football who has also dabbled in business and politics. The young athletes felt his presence strongly and looked up to him as a source of inspiration.

The kids' tangible enthusiasm filled the entire hall. Their joy was contagious, as seen by their wide smiles, robust laughter, and flurry of selfies with their well-earned awards. As they clutched their accomplishments in their hands as a tribute to their commitment and diligence, the air was infused with a sense of success.

It was clear that the ceremony was more than simply a formality; it was a memorable moment that would live on in their minds. It was obvious that social media platforms would soon be humming with their success tales and expressions of thanks as they took photographs and shared their victories. Beyond the boundaries of the banquet hall, the impact of this day would reverberate, motivating people to follow their interests and strive for perfection.

Masai Scholarship distribution by Mithali

It was then the boys’ turn to receive their scholarships for demonstrating Extra-curricular Excellence, from Bhaichung Bhutia, the man who dedicated 30 years of his life to football and is not shy of venturing into other areas such as business and politics in current times.

Masai Scholarship distribution

The students’ enthusiasm was sky-high and was evident by their smiles, laughter, and hundreds of selfies being clicked with certificates in their hands across all corners of the hall. You knew that soon enough social media was going to be abuzz with posts.

And why not? These students received a 50% waiver off their payments for the course, the payment they’d make after getting placed for a minimum of INR 5 LPA.

They also didn’t miss the chance to get clicked with their favorite instructors and people from Masai- Nrupul, Yogesh, and Aman Vats(Director, Curriculum), faces that they only get to see on Zoom sessions as the courses are conducted online.

3 PM - The day was not done yet. Live@Masai, our fortnightly feature where we invite established subject matter experts over a talk with the Masai community, was taking place in the same banquet hall.

And guests for the day were, no surprises, Prateek, Mithali, and Bhaichung. Ankur started with a question to Prateek-

Ankur -We’ve been cashflow positive over the past 3 years at Masai. Why do we need to raise capital?

Prateek- That’s because we’ve launched our flagship courses for college students, named ‘Scholar Program’ to supplement their college education with industry-necessary skills. We’re also launching our first up-skilling course ‘Masai X’  with the goal of expediting growth for software developers in India in order to satisfy the need for tech experts in Global Capability Centres and Senior Software Developer roles. So, we’ll be directing the funds there.

Ankur- Why did we need to have Mithali and Bhaichung with us?

Prateek- It’s important to connect with people who believe in and also represent our mission and vision. Mithali and Bhaichung have excelled in their fields despite having no formal education. Bhaichung, who is not even a school graduate, has not only been an asset to the Indian football team but also runs an academy for training aspiring football players.

Mithali has been an embodiment of talent, as evidenced by the fact that she was one of the youngest players to represent India before becoming the captain and leading the team globally.

Both of them have overcome numerous challenges throughout their journey without the necessary support from others, yet they have persevered and made incredible progress in their respective fields. We believe in the power of their journey and they believe in us. It’s a perfect match.

And truly so! Both the stalwarts have been the epitome of so many qualities that today’s aspiring youngsters should incorporate into their lives.

Live@Masai went on for a while and came to a close with words from Mithali and Bhaichung:

“We still live in a country where boys are given better food to eat and better clothes to wear, better resources, education, investment, and everything better than girls, and with a structure like that, what better than an outcome-based education system that not only allows a woman to take up a career of her choice but to also excel in the field of technology? Without having to pay anything upfront, she is able to win battles without having to fight many. So many women who had to fight with their families to get a better education no longer have to.” Mithali said.

“The state of mainstream higher education is such that even though you have a degree, you lack the skills to demonstrate on the job, and clearly people pay 10 to 20 lakhs for that kind of education. It is ironic that we do not have more outcome-based institutions in a country where we are still struggling for basic needs and education loans are one of the most common types of loans taken out. As I understood Masai's proposition, it was almost a no-brainer for me to invest and form a partnership”, added Bhaichung.

As the event drew to a close, the Masai community expressed heartfelt gratitude to the esteemed guests for making the day truly unforgettable. LinkedIn and Instagram feeds overflowed with joyous posts from elated students, documenting the enriching experience they had. This iconic day revitalized Masai's mission of outcome-driven education, reaffirming its commitment to crafting India's largest employable tech workforce. In doing so, they aim to uplift thousands of households, eradicating the barriers of poverty and propelling a new wave of opportunity and prosperity across the nation.