A simple conversation with the founders of MeraCareerGuide.com gives an insight into how some of today’s young generation, the present and future of India, is thinking. Learn more about these young smart entrepreneurs and the way they are leading the change, by aspiring to shape India’s future.
The real struggle and test of mettle is in sustaining and fueling the growth but not in starting.
1. What is MeraCareerGuide.com? Who can seek guidance from it?
MeraCareerGuide.com, is a platform that aims to address problems of students who are confused and have numerous questions about their particular field of interest. Questions such as – I want to be an IAS officer, How should I go about it? I want to be a lawyer where do I start?
Most of the students are fixed with basic questions of what to choose and whom to ask. They very much want to know what would be a right career choice for them and the future of their career choice.
2. Please share the motivation behind your start-up.
We ourselves have been at the crossroads and so we understand the kind of guidance students require in their intermediate stage of education. While at BITS-Pilani, even though we had a constant access to mentors, we realized it was not the case in many other schools and colleges across our country. So during my days at Pilani, I took up the activity of counseling in schools of Hyderabad and Bihar helping students with their questions on various career choices and future prospects.
In 2007, have also founded MITR – a scholastic students’ guide in Hyderabad but later on decided to have a pan India approach. Online being the best medium, decided on Mera Career Guide and that is how we came into existence.
3. What is the process to follow so as to avail the guidance from you?
The entire service is free for students! Students need to log on to www.meracareerguide and they can have access to all the resources.
4. Do you provide guidance for International students or abroad education for Indian students as well?
At present we are not focusing on study abroad section as Indian education market in itself is huge. Education remains biggest need of today’s India. India has one of the largest formal Education Systems. Its target group (children and young persons in the 6-24 years age group) numbered around 410 million in 2005, or about 38% of the country’s population.
As for statistics,
Total Enrollments in all Educational Institutions (School – University): 237 million
Number of Schools: 1.29 million
Number of Colleges (2005-06): 20,769
Number of Universities (as on 31.03.07): 350 (includes 236 Universities, 101 Deemed Universities & 13 Institutions of National Importance)
Number of Teachers: 6.5 million
5. Are there any other startups providing similar services? If yes, what is it that makes you stand-out amongst them?
Counseling is an age old profession and counselors have been around but then the reach has only been to a lecture session or locality or a town.
Studyplaces.com, I would say is providing similar services but execution wise it’s totally different. We provide a need based approach which helps individual find information quickly. This approach helps students easily understand how to use information they receive. We have given maximum attention to ensure content is scannable and in chunk format ensuring that it’s easily comprehensible and not overwhelming. In addition we provide a personalized approach too.
6. Who are your other major competitors, if any?
Studyplaces.com and Shiksha.com, I would say are in this category.
7. How is MeraCareerGuide.com doing do so far? How many students have benefited so far?
We launched the service on June 1, 2009 and have got an overwhelming response. We did not yet launch any form of formal marketing but we could still get about 5000 registered users till date.
8. Could you tell us more about yourself, your position & other key players, if any?
I am a graduate from BITS-PILANI and have also founded MITR – your friend, a scholastic student’s guide; in year 2007.
We have counseled students in schools of Hyderabad and Bihar and have been taking every opportunity coming our way to help refine and upgrade the existing education system and allied matters. Before starting with Mera Career Guide, I have worked for two years in VLSI industry.
I have a good insight into the education sector and have a long association with educational NGO, Nachiketa Tapovan – Hyd and Damini( Haryana, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand & UP).
I also possess a good knowledge of User experience viz. Interaction Designing, Information Architecture, Usability and User Interface Designing (UI)
9. How large is the team behind your start-up? Are you all based in India?
We are based at Noida and our team is 4 people strong. In addition, we outsource work and have freelancers as well as online counselors on board who strive to make Mera Career Guide provide the best experience.
10. How is your startup being funded so far? Did you receive any other external funding? If not, do you plan on seeking external funding?
We are self funded. Yes, we are looking for funds and talking to few of the angel and VC firms.
12. What key technologies is your service built upon and why did you opt for them?
At MeraCareerGuide.com, we not only lay stress on User Interface and interactivity but give an equal or even more importance to the technology that we use.
While developing the portal, we have focused on productivity, scalability, maintainability, re-usability, application performance and reliability. We also required a content management system for maintaining vast content on the fly. Not to mention, better rendering of web pages and ability to handle asynchronous XML HTTP requests for better response and throughput times and the most important requirement being website security. Microsoft.NET framework suited all our requirements and is the one we use.
13. In your experience, what has been the most effective way to market a business?
We are still experimenting and have been trying out all forms of marketing. So, it’s too early for me to tell which one best worked for us. We are trying out both offline as well as online marketing and need to wait and watch to determine what works out better!
14. What is your take on increasing number of Indian startups? Do you have any personal advice/suggestions for current/future entrepreneurs?
The startup ecosystem is flourishing in India and more and more people are out to help each other which is a good sign. For my part, today if an entrepreneur with similar idea as Mera Career Guide would come to me and need some help, I would be more than glad to do so. We need more people to create jobs.
15. How did being an entrepreneur affect your lifestyle? Do you get enough time for yourself/family?
My friends and family have been very supportive. The real struggle and test of mettle is in sustaining and fueling the growth but not in starting. It gets quite hectic but as an entrepreneur I enjoy this. As an entrepreneur, at times times you even forget if you had your meal or not and think twice even to go out and watch a new flick; because you’d be held back thinking “ I can do lots in three hrs ..then why movie !!!”
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