First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Ashish Fernando: We’re doing well, thank you. Taking all the necessary precautions and tackling this pandemic head-on. My wife and I actually decided to go on a road-trip through the US.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded iSchoolConnect.
Ashish Fernando: After my bachelors in Biotechnology and a few years of work experience, I’d decided to pursue an MBA in the US. However, the professional recommendations I’d received from consultants back then were highly biased and not suited for my profile. Therefore, I did my own research, applied to multiple US B-Schools, and landed at Bentley University with a 100% scholarship.
With my own experiences as a study abroad aspirant backing my ideas, I decided to start my own company using AI-tech for aspiring study abroad candidates that deserve the best possible unbiased support for their journey overseas. That’s how iSchoolConnect Inc. was born. Today, we’re a Google partnered company that operates in the B2B as well as the B2C space.
How does iSchoolConnect innovate?
Ashish Fernando: iSchoolConnect uses AI-based technology to offer end-to-end study abroad services to students as well as organizations. We came up with tools that use AI-technology to help students write their SOPs/Essays, prepare for their interviews with real-time feedback and allow universities to remotely proctor and analyze tests, just to name a few.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Ashish Fernando: Where a lot of businesses incurred losses during this pandemic, iSchoolConnect adapted its advanced video processing technology to allow institutions to conduct and analyze tests with minimal human intervention. This tool, along with our other use-cases, helped students and universities operate from the comfort of their homes and was, therefore, a resounding success. This year alone, we grew at a 7X YOY.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and iSchoolConnect in the future?
Ashish Fernando: A daily meditation session is my answer to gain an easy work-life balance. And it’s funny that you’d ask this, because in another recent interview someone asked me, ‘Where do you see your company in 2 years?’ My answer then was the same as it is now, ‘I see iSchoolConnect at the top of every innovation in the field of education technology.’
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Ashish Fernando: The higher education market is vast, and plenty of competitors such as Yocket, IDP, Apply Board, etc. are doing great work. However, I believe iSchoolConnect’s unique approach of blending AI-technology with human skills to make advances in the EdTech community is what will ensure we stay and succeed in the game for years to come.
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