Vedica Scholars Programme For Women : India's First Management Program Designed For Women

 Anuradha Das Mathur,  Founder & Dean

Anuradha Das Mathur

Founder & Dean

India has surpassed China to become the most populous country globally, with one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. The number of women enrolling in higher education in India has increased over the years.

The Gross enrollment ratio for women in India doubled from 24.5 percent in FY 2004-05 to 58.2 percent in FY 2021-2022. Yet, the participation of women in the workforce is seeing a constant decline.

Without sustained careers, women miss out on the opportunity to achieve intellectual, emotional, and financial independence, ultimately for feiting their agency.

Vedica Foundation is a Delhi-based not-for-profit organization aimed at changing these statistics. Focused on financial independence, Vedica empowers women to live lives of distinction and dignity.

Vedica’s vision is to become the go-to institution for all matters related to ‘women and work’ and catalyze change to create a more equal social, economic, and political reality.

Over the past years, Vedica has successfully graduated around 600 scholars through its Vedica Scholars Programme for Women. The program ensures that every scholar secures suitable placement, maintaining a 100 percent placement record each year. Additionally, Vedica has consistently achieved an impressive 200 percent increase in students’ pre Vedica salary. Through its cutting-edge curriculum, focus on mentorship, experiential learning, and dedicated career support, the program has elevated the earning capacity of its graduates over the years. Notably, Vedica has prioritized accessibility, making this positive impact available to women from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. To facilitate this, the program has disbursed need-based financial assistance to of more than Rs.5 Crores to women from various parts of the country.

Vedica’s Holistic Approach to Education

Vedica pioneers a unique curriculum that addresses both management studies and the development of courage, confidence, and resilience for women in India’s workforce. The program has a distinctive admission philosophy of ‘potential over performance’. The admissions process aims to identify women with potential regardless of past academic performance or standardized test scores. Applications are evaluated through personal interviews conducted by the management, focusing on finding women with a drive to build a career and remain in the workforce.

The curriculum, devised by experts in business, leadership, and academia, undergoes rigorous evaluation on multiple fronts. Firstly, the quality of academic instruction is assessed through student feed back and teaching assistants’ observations. Courses or instructors falling below Vedica’s standards are replaced.

Secondly, the curriculum’s relevance is gauged by gathering feedback from recruiters and alumni periodically. This feedback helps in aligning the curriculum with industry requirements in the fast-changing business environment.

Thirdly, student performance is monitored through grades, benchmarking tests, and mentor feedback. This data aids in identifying students who require personalized support, which is a distinctive feature of Vedica’s approach. Through tutorials and one-on-one sessions with teaching assistants, students receive tailored attention to help them realize their potential.

Overall, Vedica’s commitment to refining its curriculum and providing personalized support ensures that women from diverse backgrounds have the opportunity to build successful, break free careers. Additionally,
with renowned faculty from institutions like Harvard and Oxford, Vedica offers world class education.

“When we started Vedica, it was really about finding a way for women to live a life of dignity. And when we contemplated dignity, then it felt like dignity and dependence don’t go hand in hand. Financial independence makes everything else a bit easier. The only way to make women financially independent was to get them ready to work and not quit”, shares Anuradha Das Mathur, Founder & Dean, Vedica.

Placement Opportunities

Vedica offers comprehensive placement support and guarantees an appro-priate placement to every scholar. With its promise to employers that every scholar will be the right blend of strong values, skills, and knowledge, Vedica has received strong interest and endorsement from recruiters and the industry, at large.

In a short period, the program and its students have earned the reputation of being high quality – in terms of competence, attitude, and work ethic. The program attracts recruiters like Nestle, KPMG, Deloitte, TATA Trust, and HCL among others.

Vedica’s commitment to refining its curriculum & providing personalized support ensures that women from diverse backgrounds have the opportunity to build successful, break free careers

Navigating New Horizons

The Vedica Scholars Programme for Women, operating as a self-funded institution, stands out as a proud exception. Despite facing the challenges of limited resources, Vedica has demonstrated remarkable growth while maintaining a commitment to high-quality education, distinguishing itself as a viable alternative to established institutions. Crucially, Vedica’s success extends beyond mere numerical growth. Despite operating with relatively fewer resources compared to government-funded institutions, Vedica has steadfastly maintained academic excellence and upheld high standards for student quality. This underscores Vedica’s commitment to providing a comprehensive and enriching educational experience, emphasizing its dedication to quality over quantity.

The Vedica Scholars Programme provides comprehensive mentorship to ensure each scholar becomes a benchmark professional and secures a fitting career placement. The program offers two mentorship tracks: Program Mentorship pairs scholars with industry leaders for guidance on personal and professional growth, while the ‘Shadow a Woman Leader’ module allows scholars to learn directly from CXO-level women professionals, offering both - workplace experience and mentorship. Feedback from mentors helps scholars identify areas for improvement, enhancing their readiness for job placements. With over 150 senior male and 280 female professionals volunteering as mentors, Vedica prioritizes mentorship as a cornerstone of its program.

Vedica’s journey is characterized by sustainable, steady progress, challenging the conventional narrative that significant growth in management education necessitates substantial funding. The program’s ability to thrive and expand, coupled with its commitment to academic integrity and student excellence, positions Vedica as a beacon of success in the landscape of self-funded management education in India.

Charting the Plan Ahead

More than 90 percent of the Vedica graduates are still in the work-force. Success for Vedica would be when women don’t quit their careers. A dropout rate of less than 10 percent from the Vedica cadre with growing numbers is what Vedica aspires to achieve.

In the future, the program aims to cater to working women by introducing an executive MBA program, allowing professionals to upskill while maintaining employment. They also recognize the potential of online education, especially post-pandemic, and plan to offer smaller modules online to cater to diverse groups of women unable to access traditional programs.

Vedica has demonstrated how high quality is possible even with limited funding. Going forward, however, they hope to be supported by philanthropies to offer greater support to deserving women, enhance experiences that are more resource intensive, and offer the Vedica experience to many more women.