Nisha always had a gamut of creative ideas and passion to learn more about marketing. She started her career as a creative writer with 160by2.com. From content development, Nisha moved on to head a competent team looking after marketing and branding. This is where her true capabilities came to the forefront. Her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Literature, as well as a knack for effectively managing teams, gave her the needed push in a very early stage. According to most of her peers, she brings in boundless energy to the team and is a die-hard optimist.
Her quick learning abilities and positive attitude have helped her garner business relationships across all verticals. Her experience in marketing, team building and international business development at various levels made it easy for her to found Ubergrad. It is basically an online platform that connects students to overseas universities. It makes the admissions process easier, faster, and more transparent. She closely works with overseas universities and education partners. In addition to it, she also handles the product and marketing part on ubergrad.com.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
Ubergrad.com is an online networking platform for students and higher education institutes worldwide. Traditionally, universities have employed the offline or agent model to recruit international students and there has been no innovation in this space over the past 25 years. Students on the other hand, often fall prey to these biased consultants and are limited by their lack of exposure. We plan to disrupt this model with Ubergrad.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
When I graduated from high school in 2004 and was looking at future career options, it was decided that a higher education degree in a foreign university was my best bet. The constant running around from consultants to the tedious paper work that was involved bogged me down and eventually my visa was rejected (thanks to some indifferent advice of said consultants). I decided that going abroad was not for me. With time, I realized how students were at the beck and call of these ‘all-powerful’ consultants and something had to be done to help students make a better career choice. Keeping that in mind we first started off as an online platform that gave students unbiased and accurate information about various higher education opportunities abroad.
What is your life mantra?
Always strive to be the best you can and aim high. Look to make a difference and add value to whatever you do in life.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
In 2009, we had over 700 employees in 42 offices across India. Regulation had literally killed our company’s growth prospects and we had to shut down most of our regional offices overnight. Letting people go from the company and closing down offices built with so much passion and love, It was definitely one of the toughest moments in my life.
How did you overcome those challenges?
I couldn’t go to work for about 4 weeks after the setback. I realized that something had to be done differently this time around and to never let this happen again. We made some very conscious decisions about our business strategies and not to put all our eggs in one basket. We made a few bets and I guess that approach paid off in the end.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
160by2.com was a disruptive model at that time. I secured large client deals from media houses like MTV, UTV, Fox Media, Warner Brothers that kept us in the green in terms of revenues and profitability. The learning about how consumer models work and how solving a problem made such a huge business growth I think all these experiences are what help me grow and give direction to Ubergrad.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
We are in the business of sending students abroad to pursue further education, knowing very well that most of them might never return. However, if you notice the trend in the past few years you would agree with me when I say there is a phenomenon of “reverse brain drain” going on.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
- To be passionate about whatever you do.
- To be ambitious.
- To be put your head down and work hard to achieve those lofty goals you set for yourself.
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are the most used apps for me at this point of time. I often use work task management tools like Asana as well.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
I always begin my day by writing out a ‘To-do-list’ using a pen and paper. At end of the day I make sure most (if not all) of my tasks are struck out.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
I am an emotional person and sometimes I let that cloud my judgment about certain things. It is easy to say I want to change that about me but harder to practice.
Answer in less than 50 words
One tip to success:
Aim high and rest not till your goal is reached.
One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Coming to conclusions about people without giving them a fair chance.
One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
If you really want something, and constantly remind yourself of why you want it, you will eventually have it.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
The idea for the next three years is to get a lot of data science involved on the backend to enrich the matching algorithm and the prediction analysis tool to help students shortlist universities best matched with and also standardize the entire higher education process.
We would also like to have any student from any country be able to go to any country using ubergrad, which means that open registrations for students across the globe and have universities across the globe be able to recruit students from any part of the world.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
I started my career as a content writer for a technology company at the age of 19. Over the past eight years I have worked in various roles – marketing and sales, operations, international business, vendor sourcing and strategy development. Off all the skills I acquired, I take pride in my ability to read people, understanding their strengths and weaknesses and being able to guide them to achieving their potential. However my ambitions and commitment to my work has it downside. I lost out on a few key relationships and I would want to deal with those situations differently.
What are your top three getaway destinations ?
I love beaches and water and people who have been to Maldives have only had nice things to say. My work has taken me many places, but I think Venice would top that list. The Gallapagos islands, off the coast of Ecuador is one for my bucket list.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
“Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first” – Angela Ahrendts