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Education consultants make hay as business booms

With overseas education a clear trend among Goans, education consultancy is an upcoming business segment in the state, finds out, Shoma Patnaik

When Sweta Narvenkar, Panjim resident, wanted to go to go abroad for further studies she faced a lot of problems. With no clear idea on how to go about things, she landed up at Canada with the intention of enrolling for a university degree. But having no guidance and limited resources, Narvenkar had to ditch the plan and look for an alternative.

Back in Goa, she started working at her father’s store before taking up a job with a US recruitment company. After a while, she decided to put her job experience and past background of trying to get admission to use. She chose to assist youngsters who wanted to go abroad for studies for a fee.

The idea worked and today Narvenkar is the founder of Study Global, a startup education consultancy that registered in November 2018 and employs a small team of counselors and coaches.

A few years back, overseas job consultancies were the only kind of consultants offering international advisory. Currently education consultants are the latest in the fray. Their numbers have increased and the sector is considered an integral part of Goa’s service industry.

Check out reveals that, enterprises like Maxxcell Overseas Education Services and Lakshya Academy, are among the established names in an industry comprising of about 20-odd players. The founders of both the consultancies agree that business is on the upswing and the future is promising.

Shyam Manavat, director, Maxxcell Overseas Education Services, says that, students of the current generation want to explore. “Earlier the scenario was different. Overseas education was considered little bit like a luxury. But now with the kind of scholarships offered by international universities studying abroad is not so much out of reach. It is within the comfort zone of many people.”

He adds that, as a reflection of changing attitude towards overseas education the preferences have also changed. “Previously USA, Australia, Canada, UK were the favorite names for international study but now with other countries opening the doors for international students the choice is not always towards the old favorites.”

In Manavat’s view, France, Netherland, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Ireland are the new countries that have come up on the horizon for Goans in terms of ease of admission and affordability. Ground level check reveals, that Poland, Georgia, New Zealand, Russai are the other latest destinations for foreign education.

While Vishal Agarwal, director, Lakshaya Academy, points out that, majority of aspirants from the state go abroad to study management, nursing, engineering. “People also go abroad to study medicine but the process is stringent for professional courses like MBBS, he adds.

According to Agrawal, an increase in the number of local students going abroad for further studies has resulted in higher volume of business for consultants. “It is a profitable business,” he says, while adding that, the other motivation is the respect from students. “Our students who successfully studied abroad give us lot of respect,” he says.

Education consultants in Goa like their counterparts in other states offer all the assistance required to study abroad. Their services start from training to cracking the entrance test, preparation of CVs, choosing the right university, availing the financial aid offered by the foreign varsity, getting education loan from banks, the visa process, etc. Most consultants hand hold aspirants through the grueling formalities right from pre-admission to settling down in the foreign country.

The craze for settling abroad is driving the demand for higher education overseas. This though is true not only for Goa but also the rest of India.

Meanwhile, Narvenkar adds that, foreign education is a viable alternative for Goans because of the state government loan for higher education. “Students need not take bank loans as the government loan is interest free and highly advisable,” she says.

According to her, the demand for higher education in Goa as well as all-India is being fuelled by lack of jobs. A foreign degree is always seen as a better qualification compared to an Indian degree and people who study abroad can always start their own business.”

Narvenkar adds that, the competition between consultants is increasing in Goa. “Most of my customers tend to check the fee prevailing in the market before deciding to whom to give business,” she says.

“The major overhead on running an education consultancy is in marketing and the challenge for a consultant is in getting a good team in place,” according to Narvenkar. .

All in all the cost of higher education depends on the country of study and the course. Sometimes it can even be as low as Rs ten lakh which is less than the cost of B-Tech from a private engineering college.

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