What is the Adianta School?

The Adianta School for Leadership and Innovation aims to prepare young people for India’s emerging innovation economy through learning-by-doing. The curriculum is based on active learning and collaboration with Indian and international organizations which we have partnered with.

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What is different about the Adianta School?

Adianta School offers a bold new approach to higher education through its learning by doing approach. This is brought to life through our radical curriculum, pedagogy and delivery models.

  1. Curriculum: The 9-square grid has formed the basis for academic delivery at Adianta since commecing operations in 2013. Its design ensures that the Fellows are taught essential skills of innovation, product management, entrepreneurship, and project management, social media, business communications, writing, and presentation skills. This helps them assume systematic approaches to innovation when developing new solutions to real-world problems in business and society.
  2. Pedagogic Approach: The curriculum is typically delivered in the form of workshops, field work assignments, and peeragogy techniques such as Product Meets and the Venture Study Group- a weekly book club facilitated on the Vihara Innovation Campus to discuss and debate pioneering ideas and books on innovation, design, and business.
  3. Delivery Model: Our delivery model allows us to refine our academic and remain on the cutting edge. This is made possible through not having any full-time faculty, and only full-time professionals and entrepreneurs instead. This gives the fellows real-world experience and puts them in touch with over 70 successful professionals from different business verticals with whom they develop successful mentor-mentee relationships. We have noticed that our most successful fellows have leveraged these relationships to further their careers and entrepreneurial ambitions.

This makes the Adianta School’s offering unique in the world.

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Who is behind Adianta School for Leadership and Innovation?

The Adianta School is promoted by the following stakeholders:

  • The Bihar Innovation Lab (BIL), supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, works with the Bihar state government to promote innovation in health and other developmental areas.
  •  The Civic Innovation Lab (Civilab) is a new initiative focused on citizen participation, open data and the citizen-centric delivery of urban services.
  •  The Startup Tunnel (STun) is a new kind of incubator-accelerator focused on social impact challenges in health, education, financial services and governance.
  • NESTA is the UK government’s nodal agency on innovation.
  • The Social Innovation Exchange is a global network of innovation experts.
  • The Center for Knowledge Societies is India’s first and leading innovation consultancy.


Each of these organizations are contributing to the design of the curriculum and program, providing faculty and personnel, offering internship opportunities, providing mentorship, building industry partnerships to enhance the quality of student life and early career opportunities. More here

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What are the programs offered and what is their duration and fees?

Program Duration: 1 year

Fees: 5 Lacs

The 1 year course involves 9 months of learning-by-doing followed by a guaranteed and mandatory 3 month industry internship. Total: 12 months.


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How will this course add value to my professional career?

The Adianta Fellowship is a highly prestigious award. Our past fellows have gone on to do some amazing things and have seen great success in their endeavours, and continue to be actively engaged with us through events and hangouts.

Keeping in mind the bold ambitions of our fellows, the Adianta School’s approach is a radical departure from traditional and boring academic drills. Instead our ‘learning by doing’ appraoch involves studio study, industry projects, field research, design and innovation activities, role plays, simulations and gamification exercises, which mean acquisition of essential skills to build and lead sustainable organizations. The 9-square grid model ensures that product innovation capability is acquired during the course of the program, and the diverse faculty cloud gives the fellow access to over 70 mentors from different walks of life who can coach and guide on topics of HR, Marketing, Legality, Design techniques, Service delivery approach, Fundraising and Capital formation, Finance, Operations and Logistics Management, and more.

In the same vein, we ensure that students develop their skills in the real world through work-study engagements, during the course of which they work on or off- campus, thereby, gaining a year’s worth of experience even while studying at Adianta.

Finally, the access to Startup Tunnel, an early-stage in-house incubator on the Vihara Inonvation Campus, allows first-hand exposure to how startups get built and launched in competitive business arenas.


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Who can join the Adianta School?

One year post graduate diploma at the Adianta School is for students who already have a recognized undergraduate degree.
Candidates can be from the social sciences, humanities, arts, design, media, communications, engineering, human factors, computer science or other disciplines.
We are looking for candidates who could be future leaders or change makers. They should have a good academic record, strong communications skills and a record of interesting curricular or extra-curricular projects that show us that they can actually build things on their, work with others, and make new things possible.

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What kind of students are you looking for? How are the Fellows who were part of past cohorts?

People who are passionate about product design, entrepreneurship, upskilling, and leadership.Emerging business leaders, existing designers, web developers, students just out of college, budding entrepreneurs and individuals looking to enter the world of Business and Product Management.
We’ve had very diverse bunch of people in the age group of 21-31, with backgrounds in economics, engineering, agriculture and food, environmental safety, marketing and music! Some of them have gone on to found and establish their own startups in fields of healthcare, animal husbandry, education, ERP, and more. Almost all of them have interesting goals of having some kind of social impact and they are working towards it.

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What is the admission process?

All applicants will be required to submit their application online. This will include their basic personal details, academic scores and details of work experience (if applicable). Students are also required to submit answers to the 5 essays within 1 week of their completed application.

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Would there be any scholarships or funding available to the students?

Yes, there are several fellowships available for meritorious students. We have tied up with great organizations and programs like Bihar Innovation Lab, Read Alliance, CKS, NESTA, SIX, GSF. These award partners fund a part of the deserving candidates’ fees and offer interenship opportunities at the end of 9 months course study.

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What is the criteria for admission and fellowship decisions?

Candidates will be shortlisted on the basis of their application profile and essays. Shortlisted candidates will appear for a skype or personal interview by senior leaders from the Adianta School, Industry, Consortium Companies along with the Adianta faculty.

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What’s unique about the school’s curriculum?

The Adianta curriculum was developed by Dr. Aditya Dev Sood and Alex Blasdel, with inputs from Hemant Sahal and Nita Soans at the timeof its inception. This was then visualized as the 9-square grid, which has served as the foundation of academic delivery at the School since commencement of operations.
The curriculum was designed keeping in mind the needs of the Indian Education ecosystem, and the prevailing skills gap.
Built on the three pillars of Innovate, Build, and Lead, it aims to integrate entrepreneurship skills (build) like the ability to plan, organize, and execute, with innovation skills (innovate) that enable understanding of complex systems, identifying problem areas, developing solutions, and iteration of products. The ‘lead’ pillar develops change-making skills in the fellows through exercises in self-discovery and awareness, introduction of tools- online and offline, for the purpose of leveraging networks, and techniques for communicating with finesse.

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What’s ‘learn by doing’ method of teaching? Any examples.

The Adianta pedagogy is a departure from the traditional, boring academic drills. Our focus is on honing your problem-solving skills to develop solutions for society’s most pressing problems into sustainable, scalable enterprises. For instance, through our work-study component during the 9-month stint at Adianta, students gain truly in-depth experience in key enterprise areas. By way of co-location and interactions on the Vihara Innovation Campus, they will also have access to learning from social innovation programs like the Bihar Innovation Lab and Read Alliance, among others. There is also the access to mentorships and the startup ecosystem through the in-house early-stage incubator, Startup Tunnel. Another example of our unique ‘learn by doing’ approach includes the integration of new media a.k.a. social media into representation of learning, as opposed to grades. You will notice that all of our students have considerable social and professional presence on various major social media platforms, allowing them to market their proficiency and expertise for the world to take notice.
Learn more about the program here  and here.

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How’s student life at the Adianta School?

On campus, those enrolled in the Adianta School programme are referred to as ‘Fellows’, not students. This term indicates the level of autonomy they have in managing their schedules, planning academic and work-study components, and executing project work. Fellows are expected to participate in
– VSG meets on Wednesdays,
– Seminar interactions on Thursdays,
– Product Meets on Fridays,
– all-day workshops on Saturdays,
as well as engage in writing blog posts, organizing and engaging in social events like Pecha Kucha Nights, Networking Sessions, and Unconferences. Work, study, and off-campus life makes for busy schedules, and the Fellows are individually responsible to balance these requirements and expectations.

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Is this school only for future entrepreneurs?

The Adianta School is for any young person with a passion to learn, and the curiosity to find solutions to problems in his or her environment. The skills required by such a person would be in the field of innovation, user research, prototyping and user testing, and product or service delivery through real and virtual platforms.
Gaining confidence in their skillsets, several of our students and alumni have gone on to address social and business issues independently by launching their own ventures and entrepreneurial projects.

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What career opportunities/placements do I get after Adianta?

The Adianta School views placement processes quite differently from mainstream institutions of higher learning. As part of the year-long program, the placement process begins the moment you are enrolled. Fellows are expected to peruse the skills outlined in the booklet titled ‘9 Skills that will get you placed’ to find themselves work-study opportunities. As part of the programme, they will also develop relationships with professionals and entrepreneurs who teach, mentor or offer guidance in any form on campus.

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What kind of support the school will provide to my start up?

Upon successful completion of the programme and express interest in availing the School’s support and services, the Fellows along with a team member, will have access to co-working space in the Startup Tunnel for 6 months.

Additionally, ongoing activities like product meet and Venture Study Group helps build nascent startup ideas in terms of competitiveness and finesse, and networks bring ideas to life through validation and support.

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What is the quality of faculty in terms of academic credentials?

We have some really stellar names associated with the Adianta School, which we are very proud of. Professor Arjun Appadurai is the provost of New York University. Howard Rheingold is a pioneer of internet-based education and also teaches at Stanford University. Professor Teemu Leinonen is from the Aalto University in Helsinki. Professor Eswaran Subramanian is at Carnegie Mellon University.

The core faculty of the Adianta School includes instructors who are Indian, of Indian-origin, or who have been living in India for a long period of time.

Many short-courses are taught by visiting and guest faculty from different regions in India and from around the world, including northern Europe, the UK, east and west coast of the United States, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Seoul.

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What is the student teacher ratio?

Learning-by-doing can only be accomplished with gentle but sustained interaction between a student and their advisor. This necessitates low student-teacher ratios of about 10 to 15 students per instructor.

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Where is the campus?

We have a lush green campus situated on the main road in Chhattarpur, New Delhi. It is 1.3 kilometers from the Qutub Minar Metro Station.

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What resources and campus facilities are offered?

At the Adianta School campus we have lockers, studio spaces, student and faculty lounges, creative workshopping spaces, conference rooms, lecture theaters, cafes, gardens, volley ball courts, badminton courts and sundry other facilities. Students also have access to photo and video equipment, editing software, high speed internet access, teleconferencing facilities, and other specialized equipment and spaces for use in project work.

The most important facility we can offer young people is the prospect of mentorship and guidance as they acquire the innovation, entrepreneurship and leadership skills that can prepare them for a volatile economy.

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What is a typical student day at the adianta school?

There is no typical day for students at Adianta — each day of the week brings very different challenges depending on the course, the assignment and instructor they are involved with. Studios, visiting lecturers, research, downoad ebooks, write blogs, or work together on team assignments. All evaluation is project-based and not exam-based. with the possible exception of viva-voce or spoken live examinations based on presentations or competitive games. Life at the Adianta School is intellectually and spiritually demanding, but never difficult.

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When did the first batch of the school start?

The first batch of full-time Post-Graduate Diploma students started in August 2013. This is going to be our third cohort which starts in August 2015.

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How many students do you admit every year?

We are limiting the batch to 30 students per year for the diploma program.

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