2023 has been a phenomenal year for Varsity. We kickstarted many new initiatives (details below) with a long-term vision. We finally expanded the Varsity content team from 1 to 5 🙂. While Varsity always had content in the form of text, we are now complementing our text content with simple YouTube videos done in both Hindi and English.
Regarding videos, one question that always concerned me was, how can a five to eight minute video do justice to a financial topic? Finance, after all, is a very vast subject with many topics and sub-topics. The nuances are plenty, and missing out on details can be dangerous. Think about this, there are 5-minute videos on YouTube that quickly explain what a call option is. Trusting this 5-minute explanation, there are people who trade options with real money. Only to realize they have lost their hard-earned money and eventually realize that options are super complicated and would probably need a few years to master.
While I’ve quoted Options as an example, you can extend this to any financial topic. It is akin to saying, here is a 5-minute video on brain surgery; post that you are good to operate 🙂.
Luckily for us at Zerodha Varsity, we have detailed notes and articles backing most of our videos. Given this, our video strategy is to share a short, simple video explaining the key highlights of a topic with relevant links to our articles, where we invariably cover all the nuances in the detail you need to understand. This combination of detailed articles plus the highlight videos puts us in a unique spot as financial educators, and I’m personally super proud of it.
Besides YouTube, we have a growing community on social media (X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram). We understand that social media is a crowded space, and everyone is trying to grab your attention and bombard you with information you may or may not need. Hence, our social media motto is to not put up content just for the sake of engagement or entertainment, but rather put up content only if it’s meaningful and has a learning outcome.
I’m looking forward to 2024, this will be a landmark year for Zerodha Varsity as it enters its 10th year of existence. A decade spent on a single mission – i.e. to simplify finance to the masses and help people do better with their money.
2023 – Varsity’s key highlights
Growing the YouTube channel
We put in a ton of effort to create more videos, both detailed videos and shortform reels at a regular cadence. So going forward, you can expect a steady stream of simple videos on all things trading, investing, and personal finance. A popular request from traders and investors has been video in Hindi. We’re now publishing Varsity videos in Hindi as well.
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Check the Zerodha Varsity YouTube channel here.
We started Varsity Certified, an online certification program designed to test your market knowledge and give you the confidence to start your career in capital markets. The Varsity certified program is graded and strictly proctored to ensure the sanctity of the certification. We had nearly 2,500 students sign up for the certification program, with nearly 550 candidates successfully securing the Varsity certified certification. Nearly 50 colleges came forward to collaborate with Zerodha Varsity to offer the certification to their students.
Knowing the basics of finance is a life skill because financial decisions are a big part of everyday lives, both personal and professional. Unfortunately, our schools and colleges don’t teach enough on the the basics of money. The best time to learn about finance is to start early because what we learn when we’re young tends to stick with us for the rest of our lives. It is with this intent we launched Varsity Junior—a series of animated stories. All the stories revolve around the day-to-day lives of a group of friends in a small Indian town. Each story has an underlying financial lesson for kids to take away.
Creating each Varsity Junior episode takes a ton of effort. The steps involved are plenty and they are all sequential and can’t be executed in parallel. Ideating a story with a financial message with several drafts and redrafts. Followed by voiceovers which again is an elaborate affair with several takes and then the mammoth task of sketching, coloring, animating, sound design, and final production. Given the efforts involved, each story takes at least 4-5 months to produce and present to you.
But then, we are looking at Varsity Junior as a long term project where over the next few years, you will find a playlist of at least 20-25 short stories which can teach generations of children the basics of finance.
Here is the Varsity Junior playlist with two short stories.
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Spreading financial literacy across India
One of the most heartening and exciting things for us in 2023, were the multiple initiatives that we undertook to spread financial literacy across the country.
Helping women take charge of their finances
Alluding to the earlier point I made, India can only do well if all the smaller towns and villages do well. For that to happen, efforts have to be made to teach people about money. While people in cities have become impersonal, the beautiful thing about smaller towns is that social bonds are stronger. If you teach a person about something, the odds are that the knowledge will spread, especially among women.
With that in mind, we conducted a financial awareness workshop for rural women in Chikodi, a small town along the Karnataka-Maharashtra border in association with Pankh India and Svatah. We wanted to create a safe space for women to discuss their financial issues and empower them to take charge of their finances. I’m proud to say that, the session was successful and I left with a lot of stories. Here’s a small video about the session:
Getting them hooked at a young age
We developed a financial education curriculum for the kids in Nagpur district’s 1500+ schools in association with the Nagpur Zilla Parishad office and Svatah. We trained teachers nearly across 525 schools, spread across 13 blocks of Nagpur District. The program impacted nearly 15,000 Govt school students.
We now have a blog on Varsity where the idea is to curate insights from the best in the business. The blog already has some amazing posts across personal finance, equity investing, venture capital, taxation, and various asset classes. If you would like to contribute your expertise, please feel free to reach out to me.
We are putting in efforts to share more simple financial insights on social media channels. If you aren’t already following us on social media, then do follow us on X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram.