Late in 2016, two IIT-IIM graduates, well settled with promising careers in Investment Banking in London, quit their cushy jobs and boarded one-way flights to India. Why did they do that?
It wasn’t because of the commonly heard of reasons – the desire to live closer to home, better paying opportunities or in unfortunate circumstances – VISA issues. The reason was much greater and clearer. They wanted to build something that meant something to them and the country. They wanted to give back to the society which helped them reach the zenith in their careers.
Coming from middle class families, Saloni and Gaurav attribute the success in their careers to the education they received and the opportunities that were afforded to them by the education system. Saloni Khandelwal graduated from IIT Delhi with a B.Tech in Computer Science in 2011. And thereafter, she worked as an Investment Banker at Deutsche Bank, London for 5 years. Her work profile helped her gain tremendous corporate and international experience which helped her to follow her entrepreneurial passions in India.
Gaurav Parashar entered Computer Science in IIT Bombay in 2006 with an enviable AIR of 32 and was also the CBSE Ajmer Zone Topper of 2006. Upon graduation, he worked at Deutsche Bank from 2010 to 2012. After working for a couple of years, he topped CAT and pursued MBA from IIM Bangalore in 2012-14. Thereafter, he joined Goldman Sachs (London) and worked as an Investment Banker for 2 years. He is extremely passionate about organizing the unstructured education market in India to help achieve India’s education goals.
Saloni and Gaurav, both, believe that education is the only way forward for the holistic development of India. Hence, it was only fitting that education was the sector they put their finger on, and hence, founded Exambazaar in early 2017.
When and how did you think about Exambazaar?
The idea of Exambazaar seeded from their general social interactions after they moved back to India. Since they both had carved a niche for themselves, and were now in their hometown among family and friends, people around them took to asking for their advice over career choices, future prospects and competitive exam preparation at every opportunity they got. Intrigued, they conducted a simple market research which revealed staggering insights on how lack of access to quality information and unreasonable reliance on word of mouth regarding the career options was a major roadblock for the Indian youth and their parents. The results also established a direct link between job/college dissatisfaction and the herd mentality/peer pressure among the youth which perpetrates from the crisis of such vital information. Also, the few students who do know what they want to do, fail to get into the right colleges or jobs because of lack of support system, unavailability of proper resources and the cut-throat competition.
The admission process of any decent university in India and valued government jobs is through competitive exams. There are 50+ national exams in India, 500+ regional or university exams and the pass rates are as low as 0.1%. This makes the landscape very competitive and outcome focused, which doesn’t help the cause of education or career development. Saloni and Gaurav decided to dive in the deep end and rectify this vicious cycle of-
1) Postponing the decision process of a fulfilling career to after graduation and post-graduation, or
2) Opting for the right careers but the wrong preparation mechanism.
Thus, Exambazaar was born.
Explain more about Exambazaar, what makes you special and how is it different from others?
Exambazaar is the one stop solution for anyone looking to build a sustainable career and prepare for related competitive exams. Exambazaar team believes that there are two important steps to achieving success in career and thus, have created unique tools that satisfy those objectives.
- Make an informed career choice at the very start: Exambazaar has devised an extraordinary tool that tells you all the exams and degrees you are eligible for a any point in time with some basic input of your academic status.. It follows this exhaustive list up with well-researched and insightful details about the degrees and prospective careers you could pursue. In short, it builds a Career Map for you.
- Choosing the right coaching and preparation materials: Despite what students think, there is no “best” coaching. A student must be extremely thorough when choosing his/her coaching institute, because that choice may make or break his/her exam preparation. Exambazaar provides detailed information about the course fees, faculty, past results, infrastructure, photos and videos of over 28000 coaching institutes in the country in 100+ cities. In addition, it lets you search for Coaching Institutes Around You which allows the student to save more time and energy for more effective self-study. And what better, if Exambazaar provides you a discount or a zero cost EMI option for the tuition fees of the coaching institute. Exambazaar has also accumulated past 10-year papers for 50+ exams and simulated them in a live, timed, exam-like interface, absolutely FREE of cost, which is unheard of in the market that thrives on propensity of students to pay for quality educational resources.
What challenges did you face while setting up Exambazaar? how did you overcome ?
The journey of building this revolutionary platform has not been without impediments. For one, filial pressure of leaving behind a steady income and venturing into the unknown is a constant overhanging cloud. Also, scouting for talented operations and technology personnel in Jaipur is another significant challenge. But challenges only make the journey more interesting and success more rewarding.
Gaurav and Saloni are committed to make education more affordable and accessible in India through Exambazaar.
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