Nextleap runs the website www.yournextleap.com, a recommendation engine and a virtual counsellor to help students make career decisions
Suruchi Wagh, the founder and chief executive officer of nextLeap, studied computer science at the College of Engineering in Pune and did a master’s from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. She worked as a research analyst at the Silicon Valley-headquartered Risk Management Solutions Inc. (RMS).
“I still remember walking in the Stanford University campus with my fiance one morning in 2008,” says 25-year-old Wagh. “I was talking about how several million students struggle to take informed decisions, and what if we started something to help them.”
Her fiance Mohit Gundecha offered to help. As she started the feasibility study for the project, she became increasingly convinced.
Net gains: Suruchi Wagh believes a lot of parents end up taking uninformed decisions regarding admissions. Photo Sandhesh Bhandare
“Higher education is a calculated risk, especially for somebody coming from a humble background like me. For everyone, their career is a big step, which is why we called it Yournextleap. We launched this venture in November 2010,” says Pune-based Wagh.
This online platform involves a suite of applications, which uses psychometric evaluations and math models on past admission patterns to offer personalized suggestions to students. Simply put, this tool helps graduate students decide on the programme they want to apply for in American universities.
It also helps class XII students take an online personality test to understand which engineering branch is most suitable for them based on their skills and interests.
The company started with basic recommendation (career counselling) and has 11 applications, or 11 different premium counselling services, for students. The charges are between Rs 300-750 per recommendation.
“It was certainly difficult in the initial phase. But I always believe that if you build a good product that can add value, there will be takers,” Wagh says.
Wagh says she never thought of a Plan B. “I will give nextLeap five years,” she says. “If it does not work out, I am definitely going to look around for other pain-points in the world to solve.”
She reiterates that it’s simply the passion to be able to help millions of students take informed decisions that is driving her and her team of 20.