Interview: Pranav Saxena, Co-founder of The WorldGrad

Pranav Saxena

Interview with Pranav Saxena, Co-founder of The WorldGrad, Smartest way to study abroad

Pranav Saxena is an ambitious and innovative entrepreneur known for his role as the Co-founder of The WorldGrad, Smartest way to study abroad.

With a passion for education and a vision to revolutionize the study abroad experience, Pranav has become a driving force in the ed-tech industry.

Under Pranav’s leadership, The WorldGrad has been at the forefront of innovation in the study abroad sphere.

The platform has introduced features such as virtual campus tours, interactive webinars with university representatives, and personalized guidance from experienced mentors.

These innovations have not only simplified the application process for students but have also democratized access to international education, making it more inclusive and accessible.

Tell us a little about yourself

Pranav Saxena: Along with a degree in technology from IIT Delhi, I also bring expertise in the education industry from my days as a management consultant at Parthenon-EY.

This included extensive experience in formulating strategic initiatives and scaling up the operations of educational ventures.

Furthermore, I helped establish the Indian operations of a renowned venture capital firm headquartered in Chicago, helping them scale portfolio operations and managing deal flow, before embarking on my entrepreneurial journey as the co-founder of LINC Education/The WorldGrad. Beyond my professional endeavors, I love reading history and science fiction, while also relentlessly challenging my physical limits through long-distance runs.

What inspired you to co-found The WorldGrad? What problem were you trying to solve in the study abroad industry?

Pranav Saxena: The inspiration to co-found The WorldGrad came from recognising the growth of digital education and the international student movement, and eventually marrying the two.

With our experience in the education space for the past 15 years, we saw the potential of integrating technology and international education to address the challenges faced by students wanting to study abroad.

One of the major problems we aimed to solve in the study abroad industry was the high rate of academic failure among students once they travel, with 1 out of 3 Indian/International students failing at least one subject in their first term.

This failure often resulted from difficulties in adapting to a new and unfamiliar education system and cultural context. Such failures not only caused financial stress, but also mental distress for students and their families.

By leveraging technology, we wanted to create a bridge for students seeking international education, making the transition easy, smooth, and cost-effective.

Our goal was to provide a platform that would help students save money and support them in overcoming the challenges they face when studying abroad. This vision led to the establishment of The WorldGrad.

Kindly brief us about your company, its specialization, and the services that it offers?

Pranav Saxena: The WorldGrad is a student-centric organization that focuses on providing convenience and ease of access to world-class education for students aspiring to study abroad.

Our specialization lies in preparing students for success in the overseas academic environment. We offer a range of services that aim to address the challenges students face when planning to study abroad.

One of the key services we provide is the option for students to guarantee their admission into our top partnered universities upon completing one of our Smart Programs.

These Smart Programs are taught by international teachers who are validated by our overseas partners, ensuring that students receive an authentic overseas education.

Our Programs  l have helped students save a significant sum of money, avoid a study gap owing to our multiple intakes, and address other challenges associated with adjusting to a new education system, unfamiliar living situations, and the cultural shock that often accompanies relocating to a new country.

Can you explain your Smart Programs and how they differentiate The WorldGrad from traditional study abroad programs?

Pranav Saxena: Our Smart Programs offer students an academic head start to be successful overseas. They allow students to complete up to one year with The WorldGrad, from the comfort of their home, and then progress overseas seamlessly.

They optimise savings on education costs across 350+ undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Australia, the UK & US.

The WorldGrad is an academic provider first, ensuring the academic success of the student first, along with helping them make a smooth transition overseas.

Our programs are fully aligned with the student’s destination University, and taught by international faculty, allowing the student to acclimatise to the learning structure before they actually move overseas. This helps ease the transition for international students.

Through multiple modules, pre-departure orientations, and virtual support networks, students can familiarize themselves with the academic expectations, cultural nuances, and administrative procedures of their host country before their arrival.

How does The WorldGrad leverage technology to enhance the study abroad experience for students?

Pranav Saxena: The WorldGrad is using technology to replicate an overseas learning experience in an online mode integrated with a high level of 1-1 academic support, critical for international student success.

Firstly, by virtue of being online, we are able to get the best academic talent from our overseas partners to deliver programs to students based in India, just as they would if they were on campus.

These classes are held in student-friendly timezones and taught with the same pedagogical approach and curriculum followed at the overseas campus. 

Secondly, each student is supported by their own online facilitator who is responsible for their one-to-one tutoring and problem solving.

This one-to-one support is facilitated using our proprietary technology platform called LincTrac. This is a smart platform which is used by our teachers to connect with students through a variety of channels – email, text, phone, chat or video and keep track of their academic progress.

The platform analyses student interactions and proactively suggests the next series of engagement for each student which our teachers can follow.

The personalized approach to online learning using LincTrac was pioneered by The WorldGrad’s parent organisation Linc Education.

To date, the platform has facilitated engagement with 20,000+ students with >100,000 hours of 1-1 conversations.

It has allowed us to deliver proactive and prompt student support, 7 days a week. It has been recognised in multiple forums in the past including Edmedia Innovate Learning.

What criteria does The WorldGrad consider when selecting partner universities and institutions? What sets them apart from other study-abroad options?

Pranav Saxena: We want our students to build their academic skills and enter the job market confidently and seamlessly.

The choice of our partners solely depends on how the university can help in student success and student outcome.

Our university partners are ranked well globally and have excellent industry relations to help our students succeed overseas.

We also prioritise Universities who can provide extensive support and have experience with international students.

What types of academic programs and courses are offered through The WorldGrad? How do you ensure the quality and relevance of these programs?

Pranav Saxena: The WorldGrad offers a wide range of Undergraduate and Graduate academic programs and courses across various disciplines.

Our offerings include undergraduate as well as postgraduate programs in various fields such as Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, Sports Management, or even Film and Media. The WorldGrad’s Smart Programs lead to 350+ degrees across Australia, the UK, and US.

All our programs are validated and aligned with our destination Universities, with students earning overseas credits  for the course work they complete online, thus ensuring maximum relevance of these programs for our students.

How does The WorldGrad support students in adapting to the cultural and academic differences when studying abroad?

Pranav Saxena: Indian students are used to a very different educational methodology. Our research suggested that 1 in 3 students fail in the first term of their overseas degree due to the difference in academic norms and culture.

Our Smart Programs allow students to start their studies with The WorldGrad and progress overseas seamlessly.

The programs follow international academic practices and the curriculum is based on overseas context. Moreover, we also employ native English speakers who help students with language and softer nuances of settling in an overseas academic environment.

In addition to saving costs and time, this also enables students to settle into the new education norms and culture with ease. This way, students know what to expect even before they reach their destination.

Additionally, since students are academically much better equipped, it becomes much easier for them to focus on acclimatising to the living conditions once they travel overseas.

How does The WorldGrad assist students with internships and job placements, both during and after their study abroad experience?

Pranav Saxena: The WorldGrad aims to build the academic skills of students that help them succeed overseas, so when they enter the job market, they do so with confidence and the right skill set.

Our university partners have excellent industry relations and great employability success rates. One of our Smart Programs, the UK Year 1, offers a virtual internship at a UK-based organisation to enable better practical skills and mindset for our students. This one-of-a-kind program significantly improves the student outcome for The WorldGrad students.

What advice would you give to students who are considering studying abroad? What factors should they consider, and how can The WorldGrad support them in making informed decisions?

Pranav Saxena: Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience for students, offering them the chance to broaden their horizons, immerse themselves in a new culture, and gain valuable skills.

However, it’s important for students to make informed decisions when considering this option. Several factors should be taken into account, such as the university’s reputation, course fees, safety, diversity, job opportunities, second language fluency, networking possibilities, and campus life.

Firstly, researching the reputation and rankings of universities is crucial. Students should look for institutions that excel in their field of study and have a strong international presence.

Additionally, considering the cost of tuition and living expenses in the chosen country is essential to ensure affordability.

Safety should be a priority, as students should avoid universities located in areas with high crime rates for their well-being and the peace of mind of their parents.

Studying in a diverse environment can provide a rich cultural experience, so looking for universities that attract students from various countries is recommended.

Considering the job market and career prospects in the country of study is important. Students should explore internships, co-op programs, and job placement assistance offered by the university to enhance their professional prospects.

Language fluency is another factor to consider, especially if studying in a non-English-speaking country. Students should assess their language skills and evaluate any language requirements for their chosen courses.

Networking opportunities play a vital role in future career development. Researching industry connections, alumni networks, and career fairs available at the university can be beneficial.

And remember, getting there is just half the battle won. You must succeed academically and build your skills to be better in other aspects.

Lastly, exploring campus life and student involvement activities is essential for a well-rounded university experience.

The WorldGrad understands the challenges students face, so our Smart Programs are designed to help them overcome such barriers.

By starting their studies with The WorldGrad, students adapt to the international environment – both academic and cultural – seamlessly, taking their time.

We offer unlimited 1-1 academic support for our students to help them build academic skills, 7 days a week.

The choice of universities is crucial for aspiring students. The WorldGrad only partners with universities with great student outcomes to ensure our students succeed overseas.

Most of our partner universities also offer exclusive scholarships to our students, enabling further cost savings.

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