Chegg, an educational technology company, intends to prioritise students by assisting them in reaching their maximum academic and personal potential. ET Insights caught up with Vijay TS, Managing Director of Chegg India, to discuss the company’s mission, expansion plans, AI technology, impact of Covid-19 and much more
Excerpts from the interview
1. How has the journey been since the inception for Chegg?
Chegg had India operations for over ten years. India is a hub of both engineering and educational excellence, so it is natural for Chegg to have a presence here. We have two offices in Vishakhapatnam and Delhi and we continue growing our teams here. When I joined the company, we were primarily running content from India. We had around 300 employees then. Today, we have two offices in Vizag and Delhi, which have been rapidly growing and have more than 800 employees which include subject matter experts, high-end engineering skills be it at front end, or backend, content experts, data science specialists, data analytics, marketing, etc.
In addition, we have tens of thousands of experts who help us create world class content for the ever-growing needs of our students.
2. What are the expansion plans of the company for the next five years?
Our CEO Dan Rosensweig has laid out a clear vision of how more and more people need to learn more things on-demand, online, and at affordable prices. We always look to support student needs by providing personalized content through study help, math, AI-powered grammar support and more. We’ve realized the importance of wholistically supporting the student as well, stretching our services beyond just academics, supporting their mental health and financial needs, and providing skills for in-demand jobs. We now even provide language learning with our recent acquisition of Busuu. We are building an always available, on-demand platform to support the lifelong learner. We are also working towards leveraging technology to make the Chegg experience better for all our experts within the next few months.
3. How have students adapted to tech-based learning programs?
This generation is used to an on-demand lifestyle when it comes to the products, they engage in. So, students have adapted very well to the 24/7 support of online educational tools which provide help at the time they need it. Many really own their own learning journey, and can and will use resources from many places; they are astute at finding trusted, high-quality support and content that helps them master their class subjects.
4. What is the importance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) at Chegg?
We recently announced Learn with Chegg, our intuitive approach to the importance of personalized learning to individual learners. With Learn with Chegg, our enhanced platform can adapt to a student’s preferred study method, providing the kind of learning material they find most suits their learning style. This further solidifies our belief that learning is not a one-off process, with our platform reinforcing learning by testing students’ knowledge over time through both voluntary and prompted assessments.
5. Why is India one of the most prominent business markets for the company?
India is a huge market for any company, but we value India for its talent- not simply its market size. As a country, India has some of the highest quality of colleges and universities, consistently producing a large pool of highly educated workers who are eager to join the workforce. So, it made sense 10 years ago for us to be in India and even more so today. India is also a leader in reskilling and online certification courses which currently account for a significant part of the online education market in the country. Coupled with our continued growth in the skills space, we’re proud to have these offices along with our exceptionally talented experts.
6. How do you build a healthy work culture in your organisation?
As an organization, we believe that employees become more loyal, productive, and creative because of good organizational culture. We are a value-oriented company and make sure that our employees always stay connected to our mission of putting ‘Learners First’. We also ensure that we stay connected to each of our employees by various means including surveys to understand the changing needs of our business and people, and tweak our benefits, policies, and work styles to continue creating a high performance and engaged work culture across the country.
Chegg India has been featured on Ambition Box’s ‘Best Places to Work in India’ 2022 List. This comes on the heels of Chegg being certified as a Great Place to Work for the 4th year in a row this year.
This continued recognition is a testament to the incredible work our team does each day and demonstrates the incredible employee experience and the culture we have created.
7. How has subscription-based learning gained an edge over other education formats?
Over the last decade, online learning has grown exponentially as the internet and education have blended to focus on providing individuals with the opportunity to learn and grow. We live in such a fast-changing world whereby skills that were valued only three or four years ago are no longer important. People are perplexed and unsure of what they should be studying. At the present time, digital training has become a huge catalyst for individuals and businesses to help them embrace the world’s rapid change.
8. How has the pandemic impacted the growth of the company?
The COVID-19 had caused school closures all over the world. As a result, education has changed significantly, with the notable rise of e-learning, in which teaching is done remotely and on digital platforms. These educational system changes demonstrated that the promising future of learning, as well as the rapid changes in modes of delivering quality education, cannot be separated from the imperative of leaving no one behind. While the COVID-19 crisis seems to have abated, the unprecedented educational disruption is far from over. These disruptions will have enormous social and economic ramifications and long-term consequences for educators, children and youth, their parents – particularly women – and, indeed, societies.