Education consultants, who act as guides and enablers for students, need to be dedicated and keep themselves updated
Even though banking was her profession, for Swati Salunkhe, managing director, Growth Centre, her true calling came in the field of education. “The story goes 13 years back when short trip to USA changed a lot of things for me. I observed that almost all the universities and schools had ‘counsellors’ who addressed issues concerning the normal students. This included course selection, academic issues, peer pressure, interpersonal skills, career shifts, adjustment in another country and so on,” recalls Salunkhe.
She realised that in India, very few organisations offered this kind of in-depth understanding and guidance. “I found that there was no one single source that could give me information and proper guidance. I met a few educationists, academicians and individuals, who helped me with some information about how I could possibly pursue a career in the same. Then, I went on to complete my post graduation in guidance and counselling almost six years of fruitful banking service.”
When she started her consultancy, she began with just herself and the operations were from home.
“Then I prepared questionnaires, and did rounds of meeting schools principals, practicing psychologists, understanding the whole dynamic, along with attending programmes related to the field. A year later, after the ground work, I realised the potential of the field but was not very clear about the financial aspect.
Nevertheless, I decided to plunge in with a small office set up with the name ‘Growth Centre[I] Pvt. Ltd. and to take things ahead. I was ready to put in the hard work and there was no looking back for me,” she smiles.
The best thing was that for Salunkhe, it was a concept and not a product of which the results would be known five years down the line. “I was talking about a concept which was not very popular.
Moreover, I was to convince people who had probably had experience more than my age to use the service, but I was determined. There were times when academicians made us wait for even five hours just to have a three minute conversation and then rejected us. But when you are convinced about what you are doing is right, sticking around helps. This also was an opportunity for us to come up with new products and services.
“Thus we began conducting seminars and talking about aptitude tests and their benefits. Once people understand the benefits, one has to just concentrate on offering the best service.” Now the experience, a qualified team of psychologists, a thorough research team and feedback from students has given Salunkhe the confidence that she made the right choice in pursuing this field and believes that such dedication ensures success for everyone.
Printed in Hindustan Times, HT Horizen 02nd February, 2011