Choosing a career path that combines passion and calling is a difficult task, but with access to the right mentors, the journey becomes much easier. This is the goal of Mumbai-based– a personalized vocational guidance platform.
Founded by Neeraj Agarwal in 2021, Insciple began by providing career advice from industry professionals to teens. Over time, however, the team began to reach out to a much wider audience of mid-career professionals, university students and recent graduates looking for career advice in a variety of fields, including transition to management roles, career change, etc.
“At its core, we strive to connect people to industry professionals in all fields for one-on-one career advice through video consultation. Although I had envisioned Insciple as a reliable career guidance platform for teens, its reach has now become much broader as many mid-career professionals want to either fast-track their careers or change careers. Similarly, university students enrolled in undergraduate programs don’t know whether they should pursue master’s studies or work, and sometimes they want to change their chosen field and need guidance,” says Neeraj, while addressing YS Weekender.
Alumnus of the London School of Economics, Neeraj worked for 12 years in two different sectors: banking and media. He won the Social Samosa 40 Under 40 award in 2019-2020. However, he knew the edtech space was his calling.
He says, “Over the past few years there has been an emphasis on online learning, either to help students prepare for a competition or to learn new courses. But there’s a lot to be done to help students find their true passion and make the right career choices. Insciple’s goal is to help people find their passion and make informed career decisions.
Insciple aims to solve two problems that people face while making career-related decisions. These are the lack of access to professional support in the mainstream education system and the lack of exposure to industry perspectives.
Neeraj points out that many people make career decisions based on advice from family and friends and thereby lose valuable career opportunities. By connecting potential prospects with experienced industry professionals to individual career consultation Across all fields, Insciple provides a direct industry perspective to help students and professionals make informed career choices.
The average professional experience of a consultant on the Insciple platform is 10 years and each is an alumnus of reputable universities. As industry experts in their fields, they can advise on the pros and cons of their profession.
Since everyone has unique aspirations and skills, Insciple works through one-on-one consultation, allowing industry mentors to assess the aspirant’s skills and guide them accordingly.
Neeraj Agarwal, Founder, Follower
How it works
“Insciple was launched to make career counseling more accessible. A 30-minute video consultation is priced in the range of Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,000according to the industry expert’s profile,” says Neeraj.
Insciple has career counselors from 10 countries, including the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Australia, Singapore and India. These professionals represent over 40 different fields, many of which are mainstream and a good number also represent alternative professions.
“Politics has become a popular area of interest in recent times for people who have signed up for advice on public policy, technology policy and health policy. Health care is also attracting people, especially biotechnology and public health. Younger students often ask for advice on how to become Instagram influencers or creative entrepreneurs,” he says.
More traditional careers like medicine and finance are still attractive, but hopefuls are also asking for advice on alternative careers like motorsport management, tech journalism, sustainability and social impact management, among others.
Potential aspirants come from big cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata, as well as smaller cities such as Vadodara, Aligarh and Jaipur. Most marketing is done on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
Neeraj gives the example of a psychology student who loved heavy metal music but knew it would be hard to make a living if it was his main career choice. He was put in touch with a renowned music composer for advice, who told him to pursue a master’s degree in sound engineering, which would allow him to find a job in a music studio while allowing him time to work on his passion.
According to Department of Education reports and EY 2019 K12 Education Report and KPMG K12 Education Market Report, the size of the career assessment and guidance market is currently estimated at more Rs 5,000 crore in India and growing steadily. Therefore, Neeraj’s vision is likely to pay off.
Insciple began as a start-up company and has grown steadily ever since, with over 1000 minutes of advice have been timed on the platform.
“We are a brand new edtech startup, and the challenges we face are typical of early stage startups. Even though the edtech field is too competitive, I think there is enough and more space for everyone’s boat, given the high demand,” Neeraj shares.
Although career guidance platforms exist in the market like Mindler and others, Neeraj believes Insciple is distinctive enough to stand on its own. Their promise to connect experts for industry-specific career guidance is their USP.
The popularity of Insciple’s services is evident from the positive reviews the platform has received so far. Riya Guptaa student at DAV Public School, Shrestha Vihar, Delhi, says,
“I had to ask so many questions to Insciple. The expert was a knowledgeable person, who helped me better understand my background and career choices for the future. I would also suggest this platform to others others.
Another student, Keshavi Shah, who studies at Delhi Public School, Vadodara particularly liked the idea of a one-to-one consultation as she felt it was more personalized.
Closing the chat, Neeraj highlights two skills that he thinks are extremely important to do well professionally. The first is the right mentorship and the second is having good communication and technology skills. He shares,
“People may have expertise in their field, but they still don’t excel, because they are unable to communicate or present themselves effectively, and/or they are unable to use new automated tools. This is where access to mentors can help.