In an interview with BW Businessworld, Mr Piyush Bhartiya talks about higher education abroad, the role of AI in education sector and more
What was the idea behind the launch of AdmitKard? How was the journey so far?
Both Rachit and I were celebrating the success of our first startup in London when we also had the chance to meet university students from India pursuing courses there. While chatting with them we realized how misinformed they were and how they actually missed out on some good opportunities to studying a better course or being at a better university. As we returned to India, we decided to assess the experience of many more students who had gone to study around the world and figured the same lack of information and unawareness. Determined to challenge the status quo, we started AdmitKard in 2017 to disrupt the USD 10bn counselling industry in India. Today, since inception we have already counselled over 25000 students and enabled over 12000 applications. We have associations with over 2322 universities across the globe.
Who is your targeted audience and what services do you provide to them?
Education counselling is one of the oldest industries in India. However, it is equally unorganised. Offline counsellors share limited information with the aspirants due to which the students get misinformed, misguided, and more than often miss out on opportunities. We have enabled counselling through our online platform wherein every bit of information is shared with the students. Also, a proper AI-based profile assessment is done before moving on to advising an aspirant so that every suggestion falls in sync with their aptitude and preferences. In addition to this, aspirants are also connected to mentors who have experienced the university or are studying there at the moment. This allows trusted knowledge share, and build confidence in the aspirants. Additionally, AdmitKard also enables university applications and procedures for students.
How the coronavirus affected education from abroad? How it has impacted the ed-tech sector at large?
Most of the edtech platforms have only experienced a rise in the number of users, including AdmitKard. We ourselves witnessed an 1100 percent surge in the number of student queries. Since we are enabling higher education abroad, we noticed that people are more inclined towards pursuing their careers in foreign countries now than pre-pandemic. Both parents and students are considering opportunities abroad due to better healthcare and lifestyle infrastructure, and also economic conditions. In fact, they are more doubtful about domestic opportunities due to lack of jobs, healthcare conditions, economic scenarios and the challenging scenario in the post-pandemic era.
What is the algorithm behind the platform and how technology is helping you to ease the procedure?
We have divided the entire student journey into multiple decision points. Every decision point has a simple match-making algorithm behind it which is run on student profile, preference and objective matching it to university, country, course etc. Also with more and more students getting served it keeps getting better. Well, this industry has been largely offline, high-touch where we see technology replacing a lot of things. Starting from entire delivery happening digitally which removes travel to meet people, it removes all the grunt work which is being done by a human with simple automations. Serving thousands of students and scaling this up further I would say technology is playing a critical role at every step.
What is the future of AI in the education sector?
AI has been one of the hottest technologies finding its way in almost every sector. In the education sector, one can see the widespread implementation of AI in performing redundant tasks, personalization, and driving efficiency. Most of the tasks that involve repetition become tedious and exhaust a lot of man-hours. They can be easily replaced with AI execution. This can include, grading, admin tasks, FAQs, etc. In fact, students can seek additional support with AI tutors nowadays.
Despite the pandemic Indian start-ups have received immense funding, edtech was listed among the top 3 sectors that have attracted the highest investments, what is your take on the funding scenario in India?
Surprisingly, even after the pandemic, the fundings recovered fast. On the contrary to the popular anticipation that VCs and investors will tighten their pockets, the fundraise seems to be back on the track. Talking specifically about the edtech sectors, then there is no doubt that it has only gained significance during the pandemic with the number of users spending more time online due to the lockdown. Digital became the new normal. And the same seems to be reflecting in the books too, which is attracting more investments.
According to the experts, the third wave is yet to come, what are your views, what will be the possible effects of the third wave on the ed-tech sector?
Experts are anticipating the third wave, however, we believe that over the period people have become more familiar with the digital ways and a lot has shifted online. The number of people taking online routes to learn, availing of education, and pursuing activities will only grow.
What future projects AdmitKard is working on?
We are working on multiple projects: – Some of them being enhancements to what we have already built in guiding the students and a lot new things. Everything which a student looks for when he/she is thinking about, we would cater it from the AdmitKard platform. Hence we are creating that 1-stop shop from where a student looking for international education can take – test prep, admission, education loan, insurance etc. Hence many exciting things in pipeline.
Source: Business World