E-learning platform that offers a plethora of flows, MyCaptain is a gateway to more quirky careers
“O captain, my captain! This phrase from Walt Whitman’s famous poem was immortalized by Circle of Missing Poets, a film about seizing the day and finding your passion. This is how a group of engineering students, inspired by the film and its themes, named their start-up MyCaptain. The idea, says CEO and co-founder Mohammed Zeeshan, was to encourage students to pursue their dreams and pursue quirky careers.
MyCaptain is a platform for students who want to explore alternative careers such as acting, writing, filmmaking, music production, entrepreneurship, digital marketing, photography, graphic design, and more. They offer more than 35 different courses in various fields which are taught live by mentors or “captains” who are young professionals in this field.
“With these mentors, the goal is for students to be comfortable with someone they can relate to and be inspired by in their chosen fields,” Zeeshan explains.
MyCaptain began in 2013 when Zeeshan and his friends – students themselves at the time – realized that they had all been forced into engineering, when they had other interests. “I wanted to be an astronomer, a friend wanted to be a writer / journalist, another economist,” Zeeshan recalls. They soon discovered that most of their college mates felt the same way. They also noticed that this was a problem facing students across the country and that those who wanted to do anything other than engineering, medicine or law did not know where to go or how to do it. Many have struggled to find advice and have not been able to find a platform that will help them grow and acquire the skills required. So the 19-year-old group decided to try and make a difference.
MyCaptain works with around 250 mentors, most of whom come from organizations such as Apple, Google, Municipality, Platform for Artists and others. “Besides regular referrals or applicants, we partner with organizations where people can sign up as mentors or have courses ratified with them. We sit down with their experts and design a tailored curriculum, ensuring students have first-hand experience on what to expect from these industries, ”Zeeshan said. Mentors are selected on the basis of their accomplishments and their passion for education. A new mentor overshadows existing mentors to understand the process. Classes are also delivered from remote locations suitable for mentors.
Like most e-learning platforms, MyCaptain has seen an increase in the number of new users amid the pandemic, with registrations more than doubling in the first few months. “COVID started closer to summer, when most people were looking for new interests to focus on. It has boosted our growth. However, after July we noticed that it started to stagnate. Naturally, that meant that COVID alone could not attract users and that we had to take this opportunity to build from here, ”Zeeshan adds. They hope to be able to add at least 90 courses in the coming year and move from beginner’s courses to more advanced three to six month programs that will make not only internships easier, but internships for the job as well. They started partnering with organizations from various industries such as The Minimalist, Filter Copy and others to run courses allowing them to partner directly with industries.
Zeeshan also points to the slowly decreasing number of students taking exams in recent years. “There has been a big change in the way students see their careers today. Due to the readily available content seen through different forms of media, people have started to realize that there are opportunities in more creative areas as well. One of the most popular courses we offer is Psychology, followed by Writing. This shows that while we do offer business and tech courses, students come to MyCaptain to explore the more quirky courses. “