Surabhi Dewra is an entrepreneur, utilizing creativity, leadership and teamwork to design and execute CareerGuide.com – a marketplace to get instant career answers from career experts.
Prior to my venture, she studied BE from BITS, Pilani and started my career as a Design Engineer in FreeScale Semiconductors. She has always been interested in the field of education and wanted to provide the best direction to the students. Along with her job, Surabhi continued working with NGOs and also worked as part time teacher. On realising the information gap between available opportunities and knowledge of students, she started CareerGuide.com. Through the platform, she plans to reach to all the students of India, so that they can make aware decisions regarding their career options.
Tell us about the company you have set up – when did you set it up, what products or services do you provide, what is your target market?
We launched MeraCareerGuide.com in April 2011 and then rebranded it as CareerGuide.com in August 2015. CareerGuide.com is a platform that can provide answers to all career-related questions. We have collaboration with more than 1,000 career experts and help the students through our specially designed analysis tests such as Stream Selector Test, Engineering Branch Selector, Ideal Career Test and Skill Based Test. In addition to that, personalized one-to-one sessions are provided to the students to give them accurate guidance and educate them towards their ideal stream.
We have developed an artificial intelligence system that can match student queries to respective career experts and then immediately connects them to start a one-to-one session. After counselling, a student can rate his/her counsellor based on the advice they received. This allows for best results in every counselling session. CareerGuide.com offers different packages with ten minutes of free counselling. Students can choose packages according to their needs.
Why did you set up the company? / What drove you to become an Entrepreneur?
It was during my graduation that I realised the lack of proper guidance system to the students. I observed that a high proportion of students take up a stream based on peer pressure or parental pressure. They do not take a decision based on their own capabilities. Thus, I started working towards forming a platform, which is easily accessible to students and can help them solve their career related questions. I started CareerGuide.com, after a few years of my job which helped me to save enough to start the venture. I believe career counselling in the long run can help to decrease employment issues as well and can also decrease the number of drop-outs.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
My biggest challenge was to make people aware that career counselling is actually needed for the students. CareerGuide.com has been working diligently to make parents and students more aware towards career counselling so that they can take decisions based on students’ potential rather than following the peer pressure. Still, it is quite challenging to make people understand the importance of it since most of the parents try to push their students based on their own experiences and knowledge.
Along with that, I also had a share of challenges that most start-ups face. I went through tight funding, problems with retaining talent, running behind schedule, a hard time with investors but most importantly remained motivated, in spite of all these challenges.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
My biggest achievement is when the students who came to us for career planning succeeds in their chosen streams. It is always overwhelming when we see our students performing well and showing their calibre by achieving good results.
How do you balance your work life and home life?
When you love your work, you do not require any balance. Your work and life becomes one thing. Along with this, to gain success, you need to give everything to it and you may require to work for 18-20 hours a day, work on Sundays with a hope to achieve your dream one day and enjoy ample personal time. But by then, your work and personal life becomes one and you cannot actually differentiate much between the two.
What advice do you have for women starting out on their own?
I would advise all women who are starting out on their own to not be afraid of asking for help. There are many people whom you can take support from. Grow your network and be confident towards your passion. There is nothing that can hold you back.
Can you recommend any organisations or networking groups that have particularly helped you on your journey?
I would say that the entire start-up eco system is helping me to grow and has been really very supportive at the present stage.
If you could ask for one thing to help propel your business what would it be?
I would urge parents to understand the importance of realizing their student’s talent and potential. Academics alone cannot guarantee success of the student. There are many streams beyond engineering and medical which can be a good fit for your student. Let your students do what they are capable of!
Find out more about CareerGuide.com by visiting their website here.