Mindler aims to organize the highly fragmented and unorganized career counseling space, especially in tier II & III towns in India. Prateek Bhargava, Founder & CEO, Mindler talks to BW Businessworld about the presence of career counseling space in such cities and transformation into different streams.
What audience does Mindler aim to target in tier II & III cities? How important is the presence of career counseling in shaping up careers in such cities?
Mindler is aiming to reach the age group of 14-21 years in tier II & tier III cities. A key part of the outreach plan is to empower & partner with existing career coaches, counselor, educators & edupreneurs in the region, enable them to leverage state of the art career guidance tools to scale their practice and help provide scientific career guidance to students in these cities. The vision is to create a collaborative platform which drives access to scientific tools to each and every student. The Mindler Platform aims to enable both discoveries of careers and mapping of the best-fit career paths for the students.
Students in tier-2, tier-3 cities have no access to scientific career guidance in their cities. These students depend on their teachers and parents for selecting a career, who guide them according to the limited trends they have seen in their own experience. Also, at times parents are driving their children towards career paths under a pseudo assumption that it’s the right approach for a secure job in the future. We are thus not only looking at empowering existing career guidance service providers but also train and certify individuals through our International Certified Career Coach Program.
People in smaller cities lack knowledge about their career choices and their strengths. How challenging is it to help them know their interests and work towards it?
Students in smaller cities are typically given a vision from childhood about some specific careers and they gradually develop blindside for other career choices. Some of the questions which they fear asking themselves are “What inspires me?”, “What is a perfect work day for me?” and “What would I love doing every day?”. Their social culture milieu can often blur their vision, making it difficult for them to imbibe new opportunities.
People in these cities encounter career choice problems not only due to lack of quality career guidance but lately a late of parental and peer pressure; largely due to lack of awareness. The key to a sustainable career plan is not just knowing about the options available, but about a proper understanding of things that motivate you, your abilities and aligning your choices to yourself.
The primary challenge thus is to break that barrier of thought and empower them to think about the multitude of options available which would resonate with their strengths. Money is a fundamental pull for most of the career options and thus making the students understand the immense employment opportunities along with their monetary benefits would open a new set of opportunities for them.
What does a counseling process look like? Does Mindler aim to help socially and economically backward students in chalking out a career plan for them?
The career guidance process at Mindler can involve working online with a diverse group of career experts or even work offline with partner counselors in multiple cities. Through either process students first go through an in-depth assessment which maps the student on over 56 dimensions including their orientation style, interest, motivators, personality, aptitude, and even emotional intelligence. This mapping leads to the discovery of best-fit career options for the students along with the generation of a comprehensive career report.
By partnering with local career counselors & edupreneurs, we aim to directly empower the students and even scape up their existing practice. Mindler also helps socially and economically backward students in chalking out their career plans. Making the platform multi-lingual, linking to vocational career options, and empowering local experts with analytical tools for career counseling are some unique platform features which allow us to do this effectively.
Career guidance for moving into a completely different stream disturbs the whole scenario. How challenging is the switch for the students and parents?
The fast-changing business environment on the back of ceaseless technological advancement has made career shifts and switch more common today than ever before. While the common perception is that this can create a lot of disturbance, it isn’t necessarily true. The real gap is the lack of information about alternative routes. Rather than spending years in pursuing a career path which is not an ideal fit for the student or is not aligned to their expectations and life goals, it is much better to take an informed call and make the right decision as early as possible.
The way we help counselors & coaches deal with this issue is by solving the information asymmetry. Through Mindler, counselors can discover the road map to careers which are gaining traction and which they may not have complete clarity on. Information such as right course, college & exams to crack or route to take is all available at the click of a button. In today’s time, apart from regular courses, continued learning through certificates and digital modules is also increasingly available, which makes these switches possible.
How do you plan to setup footprints in tier II & III cities? Will it be easy to monetize the business in those areas similar to tier I cities?
Since inception, we have seen over 30 percent of our users from tier II and III cities. These students have been leveraging our platform to make their career decisions. The need for quality career guidance solutions is massive in these cities. The next step of our plan is to partner with local counselors and establish our local presence through training & certifying career coaches in the region. We are already creating a pool of certified career coaches through our International Certified Career Coach Program who then lead the Mindler Partner Platform in their respective regions. We are also working on training and certifying teachers/ school counselors and work closely with them to bring a curriculum approach to career guidance in their schools in these cities.