Vineet Gupta Ashoka University’s Founder – Empirical Success Story
Vineet Gupta Ashoka University founder has established himself in the Indian higher education ecosystem over the last 25 years. Vineet has been advocating for high-quality education in India, building world-class institutions, and training thousands of students.
After graduating from IIT Delhi in 1991 with a degree in mechanical engineering, Vineet realized his true calling was entrepreneurship. He started and scaled a styrofoam manufacturing company. In 1996, he co-founded Jamboree Education along with his wife Akrita Kalra. With one center in Vasant Vihar, Jamboree started helping students crack exams such as GMAT, SAT, and GRE that are required to study abroad. Currently, it has 36 centers across India and Nepal and has trained more than 1.5 lakh students.
The concept behind Ashoka University
When Vineet was at Jamboree, he discovered that bright students with 90% plus marks struggled to get into Delhi University, but were accepted to some outstanding universities abroad. Also, students had a wide range of options when it came to studying abroad. “Somewhere, it made me feel that our higher education system is letting our students down. We are in dire need of institutions that fulfill the requirement of these students so that they could continue their education closer to home instead of going abroad,” adds Vineet Gupta Ashoka University Founder.
Establishing Ashoka University
Vineet Gupta Ashoka University founder started thinking about setting up a top university in India in 2006 with the help of a few like-minded entrepreneurs and visionaries. The group approached several state governments to search for land, but settled on Haryana due to its proximity to Delhi. In 2008, the economic crisis hit and the business community’s sentiment mellowed.
For a multi-disciplinary education model, the group decided to use a rented campus in Delhi for a post graduate program called the Young India Fellowship. Also, the group decided to build a Liberal Arts university focusing on social sciences, humanities, and sciences. It was intended to set up an institution that would be able to compete with Ivy League universities.
Over time, the founding group grew to about 15 individuals, and the university opened in 2014 in Sonepat with 126 undergraduate students and 200 Young India Fellows. Ashoka is a collective philanthropy institution with over 150 donors today. In a short period of time, it has also established itself as one of the best institutions in the country. Vineet played a pivotal role in setting up Ashoka by also being the Founding Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University from 2014 to 2017.
The emergence of Ashoka University
This model of collective philanthropy is unique to India. Ashoka University is also home to some of the best faculty from India and abroad. The university offers liberal scholarships and students come from all states of India and all socio-economic levels.
National media have described Ashoka as “India’s answer to the Ivy League”. Ashoka University was ranked 2nd among 100 private universities in India by Education World in 2019. In 2020, The Department of Economics, Ashoka University was ranked 1st in India out of 239 institutions by RePEc – the International Database of Economics Research which covers 8198 institutions and 60355 registered authors worldwide. As per QS World University Rankings 2022, Ashoka University is amongst the top 250 in Asia.
There are collaborations between Ashoka University and some of the world’s leading institutions including Yale University, University of Cambridge, University of Michigan, and the National University of Singapore. Furthermore, the University has established several research centers that encourage students to collaborate with their peers to discuss global challenges.
With Ashoka becoming one of the top names in higher education, Vineet Gupta has become well-known in the Indian education sector. Following Ashoka’s success, Vineet Gupta founded Plaksha University in Mohali to reimagine technology education in India.
Plaksha is also built on a model of collective philanthropy and strives to make technology education both experiential and inter-disciplinary. Plaksha university opened in 2021 and is expected to become one of the country’s top engineering and technology institutions.
As the Founding Chair of Plaksha’s Board of Trustees, Vineet has played an integral role in establishing the organization. He is a distinguished member of the education committee at FICCI and also serves as the Co-Chair of the Education Sub Committee of ASSOCHAM. Vineet was also awarded the Edupreneur of the Year Award (2021-22) by APAC in their 2nd Education and Skill Conclave.