UCLA PGPX – Business Plan Development Module – Oct 31 to Nov 4, 2022

In this module, Prof Pavan Gandhok will help you choose different projects, and not only this, you will be motivated to actualize and make them impactful. It will enhance your skills to reflect on your learning and career individually and make it an influential journey. With the help of your groups will be able to articulate a business case to mobilize required resources – validation, research, and Iteration, and coherency of Ideas.


Prof Pavan Gandhok

Prof Pavan Gandhok

An eclectic and international background as an entrepreneur and a “pracademic”. He has over 20 years of experience in senior leadership roles in leading strategy consulting firms (BCG, Stern Stewart, AT Kearney) and private equity. Entrepreneurial roles in several start-ups and turn-arounds as co- founder /CEO/ Lead Director / early-stage investor

Other career roles:

  • Corporate Strategy & Bus. Dev, technology incubation/commercialization, engineer, and research scientist.
  • Vice Dean and Professor of Practice at JGBS,
  • also Visiting Faculty UCLA, U of Melbourne, ex ISB & SMU
  • Regular appearances in popular business media and a popular speaker in various CXO/ Investor forums and corporate retreats.
  • Indian-born, US-educated, Australian citizen, former permanent resident of Singapore, and an Overseas Citizen of India.
Pratyush Pillai

Pratyush Pillai

Pratyush Pillai is a Marine engineer by education, having graduated from Tolani Maritime Institute. After working as an oil rig designer with Keppel FELS for close to 3 years, he plunged into the world of user-centric strategy and has spent multiple working with advertising, branding and design agencies like BBDO, DY Works, Brand Ripples and Rickshaw Design – leading user-centric strategy for brands like Mother Dairy, Vakrangee, India TV, Gillette, Amazon and Idea Cellular before switching into the Design Thinking and Behaviour Design space.

Design Thinking for him is a delightful concoction – fusing his analytical, engineering side with his passion for human-centric, behavioural science. He has been part of a diverse set of design thinking projects – redesigning a popular TV channel’s content, designing offline experience centres in rural India for an ecommerce player, redesigning the portfolio architecture and packaging design system for a pan-India FMCG brand.

He has worked on numerous Design Thinking training and consulting assignments for clients such as HP, Amazon, Flipkart, Firstsource Solutions, WNS, Credit Suisse, Myntra, Cult.Fit, HSBC amongst others. He also conducts Design Thinking Workshops for students of some of top MBA institutes in India – IIM Indore, IIM Udaipur, MICA, SPJIMR, FMS Delhi, MICA, IMT Ghaziabad amongst others.

He has led numerous Design Thinking projects at TinkerLabs, to name a few:
‣ Designing a service extension strategy for Mahindra Holidays
‣ Redesigning the employee onboarding experience for a high-growth company
‣ Designing an enhanced communication strategy around HIV-AIDS for vulnerable population
‣ Re-designing the employee referral process for a large scale global consulting organization
‣ Designing a fintech app that enables users to save more
‣ Designing a specialized app for Kotak Mahindra Bank users for transfer & payments

Amit Sharma

Amit Sharma

Amit holds an MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles, UCLA, and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Delhi College of Engineering, Delhi University. He has also started two successful non-profits in the past to educate underprivileged children. In his previous life as an engineer, Amit held two international patents in the areas of Artificial Intelligence and Cluster Computing. As a CEO and founder, Amit has raised more than $85 Million of capital from marquee investors and built one of India’s largest B2B2C commerce platforms, doing more than $900 Million of annualized GMV and digitizing more than 2 Lakh retailers across 400+ towns. He is passionate about human advancement using science and technology.

Amit has been quoted by various leading financials and retail-tech specific publications like Mint, The Economic Times, Business Today etc. He is an industry evangelist who shares his expertise on evolving trends.

Amit has been a Keynote Speaker at several forums, including:
● The StartUp Summit (Dubai) by ICAI Dubai chapter in 2019 where he spoke about ‘Organizing commerce through technology for everyone’
● The UBS Consumer Reverse Roadshow for Institutional Investors in 2020
● The IREC Web series on Social Commerce: The New Normal of Retail in 2020. He has been a speaker at IREC events on many occasions
● The KPMG Retail CEO Webinar on the topic “Making most of the times ahead (Co-Vid 19)”
● The Deloitte Emerging Unicorns Club Roundtable
● The India Food Forum by India Retailing in 2018 on the topic “Digital Offline: The New Category of Retail and Omnichannel Distribution as a Service”

Amit has also been invited as a panelist to share his views and experiences on events like:
● Closed door Panel with Tim Geithner, Former US Treasury Secretary & President Warburg Pincus to understand the new fintech and payment environment in India
● The Economic Times Global Business Summit in 2018 at Delhi
● The Inventicon 2nd Rural Market Growth Strategy Summit 2018 at Bengaluru
● CNBC TV18: Consumer Insights (Live TV Show) in 2019 at Mumbai
● The Redseer Event: eB2B Retail Report Launch in 2019 at Bengaluru
● Jury Member at Agami E-ADR Challenge in 2019 at Mumbai

And on media panels like:
● ET Now Live TV Show in 2020
● Pre-Budget panel on CNBCTV18 in 2020
● Panel discussions India’s growing retail sector on Young Turks, CNBCTV18

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

  • Identify key issues to consider in individual entrepreneurial ideas.
  • Resources and key milestones which your journey needs.
  • You will be able to identify and integrate the Business concepts into real-world context.
  • Reflection on journey and priorities at large.
  • Analyze your cognitive level and thinking pattern.
  • Broad perspectives of the Business model and its stages.

Classroom Approach

The sessions will be interactive and participants will be encouraged to ask questions. Hands-on exercises, examples and case studies will be used from a wide range of industries and markets.  Extensive lecture slides will be provided for all topics in addition to the readings and case studies assigned.  Participants must bring a laptop to the sessions.


Please email [email protected] for any support required with respect to the program, course or platform.