Kavita Parikh – Disha Consultants – Education Consultant
Disha Consultants was established by three people, Ms. Kavita Parikh, Mr. Ami Parikh, and Mr. Anuj Parikh,
who have had their education in the USA and worked there for some time before moving back to India. Ms.Kavita talks about how Disha Consultants evolved and their services to the students community.
After joining Gujarat Venture Finance Ltd, which is a part of World Bank, India Technology Development Project, Ms. Kavita learnt about technology and got acquainted with technical people. Due to personal reasons she became an academician in 1998 and built strong rapport with one of the technology institutions which was of the opinion that students get so much information on internet and apply to foreign universities but don’t know if that is right or wrong. So the company requested Ms. Kavita to help them. And she started doing that for well-known engineering institutions.
It was at this time that Times of India’s extra edition Education Times asked Ms. Kavita if she can write a column called New Horizon where students can ask questions such as what to study and where to study. She would reply their questions. At that time, she was also working as full time professor of entrepreneurship and strategy at a local MBA institution. Then other local institutions started asking her if she would help them in this regard. This became the genesis of Disha Consultants.
About the services offered by Disha, Ms.Kavita says that they help students to:
· Decide what they should study
· The right institution for them
· Go through the “application process as each university and each program has specific requirements”
· Process of getting visa
· “Pre-departure orientation on what they need to expect and be prepared for when they go to the foreign source and how they should conduct themselves during the period of their education.”
Ms. Kavita says that Disha focuses mainly on USA and Canada because all the 3 of them had worked in US, given up their PR opportunity, returned to India and understand US. “We know the entire process of what the students need to go through, what needs to be done and how it should be done and what the students should expect.” The firm receives significantly large number of applications.
Disha Consultants have a very high success rate. “We don’t advertise, no banners or boards, no advertisement in the history of the organization.” Students come to them from world of mouth from past students. Students are happy where they go and they get the place where they intend to go.
Largest number of students go abroad for graduate programs and undergraduate students are also growing in numbers. Ms. Kavita says that the undergraduate market is growing at a faster pace. “Keen, bright and brilliant students take up this option” of going for undergraduate courses.
Ms. Kavita points out that in USA, like in India there are public institutions and private ones. There is a marked difference in fees between the state and private universities and there are many universities that offer scholarships to international students. This scholarship may cover the full expenses or 50% of the fee. If students plan ahead, keen to explore and know the budget constraints, Disha helps the students to find the right universities if they perform well. An average student may not get scholarship. The parents should be mentally prepared to spend at least US $ 16,000 per year and it can even go up to US $ 45,000 per year towards tuition fees. Sometimes students may get in-state scholarships but this is only a possibility.
When asked if it was worth going abroad for studies, Ms. Kavita says “the reason we do what we do is we got educated in USA and came back which nobody was doing…later years people came back….we believe in India our students are very smart, know a lot, have lot of information, and very skilled.” Our education system “does not teach us how to think. US education system is wonderful as it teaches how to think as opposed to just know or learn.” Indian students come up with new technology and ideas which they don’t do when they are in India. Ms. Kavita feels “if it is possible, every student must get a chance to have US education…we believe it is definitely something to be done.”
CREDILA, an arm of HDFC is aware of the quantity and quality of work done by Disha so also many other banks. So plenty of bankers approach Disha to let them know if any student needs help. When any parent or student come to Disha for help, they guide them to the various options available to them in this aspect.
For helping a student to go for post graduate program, Disha charges Rs. 27500 which includes the service tax payable to the Indian government. There is a one-time payment of counselling fee for undergraduate courses also. The application fee charged by the university has to be borne by the student or parent.Disha prepares a timetable for the students as to what is to be done, when, how to select the university when exams are done, apply, and take it to the next level.
Ms. Kavita says the biggest challenge comes when students after getting what they aspire for, start feeling that they should have done better. She says “the challenges are not as significant as the absolute, sheer, great joy of doing the job.” The batch of students who were sent abroad by Disha still keep in touch with them and are willing to help any student sent by Disha. She is very happy that “when students do well, they email us saying this is where I am, this is the starting salary I am getting, my cabin is bigger than yours in your office, etc.”She concludes “the satisfaction and gratification of having enabled an individual build their life is just what keeps us going. It is incredible.”
For more information, please visit: http://dishaconsultants.in/
Opp. Girish Cold Drinks,
C.G.Road, Ahmedabad – 380 009
Phone: +91-79-2640 8892, 4026 8888,