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Episode Notes | Transcript | AskTheGuest

 Hi Fives (5 Highlights)   Click for 3-Minute Listen

Rohan Pasari is the Co-founder and CEO of Cialfo, a Global Ed-Tech company in Singapore.

Cialfo is very personal to Rohan. His commitment and drive to meet the goal of serving 100 million students by 2030 is fueling their progress.

In particular Cialfo offers:

  • A “common application” platform to apply to colleges and universities in different countries;
  • Empowers counselors in High Schools everywhere; and
  • Partnership with 1000 institutions to enable high levels of engagement with potential applicants.

Hi-Fives from the Podcast are:

  1. How Cialfo was born!
  2. What Cialfo Offers
  3. For Schools without Counselors?
  4. Where’s Cialfo headed?
  5. Advice for the College-bound

Episode Notes

Episode Title: Rohan Pasari on Cialfo: Making College Journey Accessible to High School Students.

When Rohan was getting ready to apply to College in Kolkata, India, his high school did not have a College Counselor to guide him. Three years later his sister was preparing to apply to college, and going through the same pains and anxieties that he had gone through, without a college counselor.

In this podcast, Rohan shares How Cialfo got started, The difference they make to Students, Schools, Counselors and Colleges, the goal of serving 100M students by 2030, and Advice for college-bound students.

Rohan Pasari is the Co-founder and CEO of Cialfo, a Global Ed-Tech company in Singapore.

In particular, we discuss the following with him:

  • Rohan Pasari’s Background
  • Birth of Cialfo
  • How Cialfo Benefits Students, Schools, Counselors and Universities
  • Advice for the College-bound

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Introducing Rohan Pasari, Cialfo [0:43]
  • Hi Fives - Podcast Highlights [2:21]
  • Professional Background [4:59]
  • How Cialfo was Born! [11:12]
  • What Cialfo Offers Students [15:02]
  • What about Schools without Counselors? [21:03]
  • Why Colleges Partner? [23:41]
  • Success Stories [28:38]
  • Close College Partners [33:25]
  • Where is Cialfo Headed? [35:10]
  • Advice to College-bound [38:41]
  • If not Cialfo, What…? [40:34]

Our Guest: Rohan Pasari is the Co-founder and CEO of Cialfo. Rohan graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, Entrepreneurship and Economics from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Cialfo currently supports over 300,000 students on its “common application” platform.

Memorable Quote: “Those [College years] are one of the most important years of your life, your world views will be challenged. So reflect on that, you know, be open for your world to be shaken in good and positive ways.” Rohan Pasari’s Advice to the college-bound.

Episode Transcript: Please visit Episode’s Transcript.

Suggested Episodes: College Experiences (Alumni)

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Episode Transcript

Transcript of the episode’s audio.

<Start Snippet> Rohan P  0:14  

You know, you don't choose which country you're born in which city you're born in, in most cases which high school you will go to. And the first major decision that you can take as a human being almost is which college you will go to. That if you make that part of the journey accessible at scale for millions of students, you can make a profound impact on the world. You can change the world.

Venkat  0:43  [Introducing  Rohan Pasari, Cialfo]

That is Rohan Pasari, Co-founder and CEO of Cialfo, a Global Ed-Tech Company based in Singapore.

Hello, I am your host, Venkat Raman.

When Rohan was getting ready to apply to College in Kolkata, India, his high school did not have a College Counselor to guide him.

Three years later, while he was still at Nanyang Technological University (NTU)  in Singapore, his sister was preparing to apply to college, and going through the same pains and anxieties that he had gone through, without a college counselor.

Rohan stepped in and helped his sister and her friends with college guidance.

Venkat Raman  1:34

Reflecting on his own college experience and its profound impact, he felt it was an imperative to make the college journey “accessible” to the tens of millions of college-bound students everywhere.

Venkat Raman  1:48

Rohan joins us on our podcast to tell us How Cialfo got started, The difference they make to Students, Schools, Counselors and Colleges, their goal of serving 100M students by the year 2030, and Advice for college-bound students.

Before we jump into the podcast, here are the Hi-Fives,  Five Highlights from the podcast:

Rohan  2:21  [Highlights - Hi Fives]

[How Cialfo was born!]

We started an independent education consulting practice, IEC. It was a service based ended up being a very service based business, you know, one thing led to another. And really the first student that we held in Singapore ended up getting to one in the US, and we were like, wow, this is wonderful.

[What Cialfo Offers]

Students, as they're affiliated to a high school, can now login into Ciafo and manage that career exploration and college application journey. So a typical student joins Cialfo in grade eight or nine as mandated by the high school.

[For Schools without Counselors?]

But we are getting a lot of requests from high schools that don't have those dedicated college counselors do provide that to them. So they think hey, can you also help place a college counselor in my school? Or can we in some ways, I don't want to use a word but essentially outsource.

 

[Where’s Cialfo headed?]

We have 300,000 students on a platform. Yeah, you know, we are targeting about 100 million students on our platform by 2030. So that's a key goal. You know, it's it's number. It's a battle cry is a number that we aspire towards, to be able to show and project ourselves the impact that we want to create for students around the world.

[Advice for the College-bound]

When you're applying for universities be open to change. Diversify your options of the universities you would apply to and the countries that you would apply to or you know, you're not, you don't have to choose one destination, one University. What you think is  the dream university may change based on what you learn about how these institutions operate.

Venkat Raman  4:17

These were the Hi5s, brought to you by “College Matters. Alma Matters.”

Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Venkat Raman  4:28

Now. I'm sure you want to hear the entire podcast with Rohan. So without further ado, here's the podcast with Rohan Pasari!

-----------------

Venkat Raman  4:38  

What I would like to do today is talk about your journey. You know how you've gotten self was started, but I talked before we get there. Maybe a little bit about your background. A little bit about your education and experience in you know why you're doing all this.

Rohan  4:59  [Professional Background]

Yeah, absolutely! Thanks Venkat excited to be here. And really, the journey started when I was an international student. And I grew up in India, in a city called Kolkata, which is in the eastern part of India. And I went to a school, which had no college counselors. And there was a history teacher, who would send documents to the universities, you know, send our transcripts, and so on, and so forth. And bless her soul for doing that. But there was no dedicated college counselor who, you know, we could go to talk about our college aspirations.

And so really, I was, you know, at a loss, when I wanted to study what I wanted to study. And when did the running joke in India, is that if you don't know what you want to study, you study Engineering. And that's, that's, you know, how I shortlisted my course. And, in the absence of a college counselor at school, I went to a career counselor outside of school, took a bunch of aptitude tests a week later, you know, I go back to the Career Counselor, lo and behold, she tells me, You know, when you're great for engineering, she should do that. I'm like, come on, I was hoping for a different answer. But so be it, you know, I said, Okay, you know, let's focus on engineering. But, you know, I was like, you know, can I go to a destination where I can have a multidisciplinary experience. And India, the time did not offer that. And things have changed in the last 15 years, India has a lot of institutions that offer a liberal arts kind of education. So in the absence of that, I was looking at us as a primary destination looking at UK because it offered, you know, her a multidisciplinary education. Right.

So, you know, I considered that I went to the American Embassy, learn more, there was no EducationUSA, or government funded organization, right. But in my city at the time, so there was a librarian at the American Embassy, who would said, Here is a Fiske guide. It was a physical book, believe it or not, we're and I was flipping through the pages now in a digital book in a physical book, trying to figure out to my study options. And I realized I had to take a standardized test. So I took that SAT, I got 2350. On 2400. Yeah. And like, okay, you know, these are now the college options I can consider. I can list of colleges.

And after a few weeks of research and preparation, I came back to my parents saying, Hey, mom, and dad, these are the colleges that I think, you know, I want to consider, my dad looks at me looks at these different options and says, Son, we love you. But we don't quite have a quarter million dollars for your undergrad education. And, and we don't want to take any student debt, or any kind of debt.

And really, that was the right decision. Right? It definitely defined my parameters more narrowly. But it was the right decision to not take any debt. And applying for aid. Financial Aid, as an international student is incredibly complex and hard, notwithstanding the application process itself. So you know, I'm still trying to figure it out. Well, you know what I should do. And at the same time, NUS and NTU, National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, a couple of leading institutions in Singapore came to my high school for a college visit for a physical college visit. I was quite fascinated by what they had to say and offer.

Really, Singapore was not even in my radar at the time. So I was like, Alright, this is great. And it's just four hours away from home instead of 16 hours. And I applied, and I got a full scholarship, and I came to NTU. And that changed my life. It really had such a great ride reacts to great education experience had into you. But within the first year, I realized definitely engineering is hard for me. You know, I was good in math and science. And I scored well academically, but I was not really passionate about the field itself.

Rohan  9:47  

But you couldn't really at the time change your majors. Continue with a major but I'm certainly not going to be an engineer. As you know, as a professional. Yeah. So then I tried my And in something that, you know, Indians do when they realize engineering is not for them, which is investment banks. So I did that, that was seemingly the natural course, for a lot of engineers, at least from India at the time. So I did that. And I was lucky, I got an internship at Barclays Capital. And I learned two things about myself. I hate investment banking. And money was not the key driver for me. Of course, it's important, but it is not something that I wanted to just focus on. And this was the end of my junior years of the rising senior in college, I came back to Kolkata for my summer, the remainder of my summer. And I was working with my sister on her college apps. And she was graduating high school, she was going through the same pains and anxieties that I was going through, and that made me reflect on my education experience.

Rohan  11:12  [How Cialfo was Born!]

You see, like, you know, you don't choose which country you're born in, which city you're born in, in most cases, which high school you would go to. And the first major decision that you can take, as a human being almost is which college you will go to, that if you make that part of the journey accessible at scale, for millions of students, you can make a profound impact on the world, you can change the world.

So that's, you know, how I was thinking about it. Like, this is very meaningful. I love helping my sister, and I love helping her friends. And how can I do this at scale? How can I do this, and, you know, on a living, doing what I thought was really meaningful to me. So I went back to Singapore, for my final year, completed that met with my friend at the time, who has now become my co founder over the last 10 years, Stanley. And he apparently had a very similar experience, as I did, but growing up in Singapore. And so, you know, we were both passionate about solving this problem.

But we were like, 21 years old, not knowing how to actually solve this. So we said, let's try to help a bunch of students in Singapore, you know, navigate this college experience. And see, we really wouldn't want to live in or what I'm doing this. So we, you know, what ended up happening is we started a independent education consulting practice, IEC. It was a service based ended up being a very service based business and one thing led to another. And really, the first student that we helped in Singapore, ended up getting the one in the US, and we were like, wow, this is wonderful. This was so satisfying. And I guess we can do this, we can help, you know, more and more students. And so that's what we did. You know, a few years, a couple of years, a few years down the road. We were helping 200 students who are graduating high school. And we're looking to then colleges.

 But, you know, I realized, while that was very meaningful to me, and Stanley and the team that we had built, we wanted to not just be able to help 200 students, but we want to help millions of students really help students that needed the financing needed that access. So we ended up selling the education consultant consultancy, which by the way, Venkat, I did not know was actually possible. I go to the service business, right. I mean, it was not a Yeah. Okay, asset. Yeah. So we ended up doing that.

And we used all of the money in that regard, to start Cialfo, as you see today, which is a technology company connecting high schools and students and universities in one platform. So, so yeah, so here we are. That's, that's why we started to really make higher education accessible to students globally. And that is, you know, it's really based on my own journey.

Venkat Raman  14:48  

You know, I see the problem, right. And how do you make it, you use the term, accessible? What do you do to make it accessible to the High school students?

Rohan  15:02  [What Cialfo Offers Students]

Yes. So this is a platform that is new used by high schools on one side and universities on the other. So when we look at the high schools, we offer a SaaS based solution to high schools, a software solution to high schools. And these high schools are the ones who pay us a fee, who started by paying a fee. Now, we also have a free version of the software. For schools that don't have a technology budget.

Students don't pay anything, whenever the high school pays us or high school does not pay us students don't pay us anything. Students, as they're affiliated to a high school, can now login into Cialfo and manage that career exploration and college application journey. So a typical student joins Cialfo in grade eight, or nine, as mandated by the high school, they would take a bunch of tests. And, you know, we have localized a lot of these aptitude tests are just, you know, something that I took, which told me take up, but a little more robust, more based on behaviors. And localized for different, you know, regions, how a student in America looks around is very different. India, China looks at it.

So that's how it starts, that has bits out of, you know, just career opportunities, what what kind of specializations in university, you can consider, and it comes up with a bunch. Yeah, and there's a series of tests that you start, then you start entering your profile, your academic profile, and your extracurricular profile on the Cialfo. And then we have a algorithm that's, that's suggesting which universities can be a good fit for you, which is also divided into three categories, academic fit, a preference fit, and a demonstrated interest. Now, you can be a student that is very well accomplished and can get into UC Berkeley. But UC Berkeley may not be a good fit. It's a large institution, you know, and you may want to get into a more liberal arts kind of an experience and maybe your Harvey Mudd is a better fit. So what is an academic victory is very different from what is a preference for you. So we turn those suggestions out to the student, students can start looking at those options and start applying to those universities, once the offer itself. So we have, I mean, I gave a couple of examples of American institutions, but we in fact, have 15,000 College profiles across 100 Over countries, on the students can search for universities across these different countries.

And really, what we've seen on Cialfo students are applying on average to three different countries, not three colleges, three different countries. Yeah, they want to hedge their options you want to consider, you know, America, but UK and Canada and Australia and the domestic country. And then they can apply to these institutions directly through Cialfo. To our latest feature, called Direct Apply, and it is to launch by Direct Apply is a singular platform where you can use to apply to universities around the world, which has never existed. When students could use the common app to apply to the US, they can use the UCAS to apply to the UK. But these are all systems that sit outside. And students have to keep entering the information again and again and again. So you will discover app which connects all of these systems, and allows the students to apply to universities in Canada and Australia and UK and India and in the US. And then these are receiving offers and then they make an informed choice.

Rohan  19:20  

Now along this entire process are the counselors who are using the platform in tandem are working with the students to personalize a college experience. Now we have schools that we work with where they have dedicated college counselors. So we work with some of the most elite and well resourced international schools. They are independent schools. They have a ratio of 30 students to a counselor and those counselors can do a very personalized experience. And you know, they can use the offer or to enhance that experience for the students. We also work with a lot of schools that have High Schools, where the ratio of college counselor to a student is 200 is to one. Yeah, but again, schools like I went to where there was no dedicated college counselor, but they take up Cialfo to be able to help the student. In those cases, the student, you know, can self navigate through this journey on Cialfo in the process of getting into a best fit University. So that, you know, hopefully gives you a understanding of what the offer does for students.

Venkat Raman  20:34  

You mentioned the last part, which was someone like you who didn't have access to a counselor, they basically, it's a do-it-yourself for them. Right? You provide all the sort of smarts, and the help and the match and the fit. So any any thoughts on providing them with counselors from that network? Or are they all dedicated to schools at this point, and hence, they're not available?

Rohan  21:03  [What about Schools without Counselors?]

Yeah, so that's a great question. When consider we are not offering any individualized college counseling service to the student at a fee. You know, we that's not the model that we are going into. But we are getting a lot of requests from high schools that don't have those dedicated college counselors do provide that. to that. So listen, hey, can you also help please, a college counselor in my school? Or can we in some ways, I don't want to use a word, but essentially outsource required counseling Yeah. element to see if they like, you know, we'd love your platform, you know, you understand what this is, you know, we don't have a setup, we don't have a history of doing this. So instead of us trying to, you know, figure this out, can you just set up everything. So, so we've started doing that, in countries that we are getting those requests, where we set up a college counseling lab, almost, or college counseling cell, where, you know, we can set up those accounts for them, we can, you know, streamline the transcripts, and the school profile, which is needed by institutions in the US, and you can just set up that infrastructure for them. And also, please, college counselors for those schools, which can then serve the students. So that is, that is what we started enabling. Because really, when you see the international schools, aren't the independent schools that really serve you know, the 5% of students are going to colleges are even less 95% of students in the world don't have access to a dedicated college counselor. How do we, how do we solve this problem and this journey, without doing that is, and I strongly believe technology cannot replace a human being, in our situation, at least rarely can enhance the experience for students and the counselors, it can enhance the ratio, but cannot replace completely. So as much as we trying to help the student self navigate this journey, but you still need a college counselor to personalize that experience. And we're working with schools to also enable that.

Venkat Raman  23:29  

Okay, now, I understand schools, I understand students now, why are institutions playing with you? Why do colleges think this is good for them?

Rohan  23:41  [Why Colleges Partner?]

Yeah, so this was also, you know, sort of something that led one one thing led to another. We always wanted to work with universities around the world to create more meaningful engagements, you know, for the students. However, we will not quite sure how we would go about it. And we were forced into that by our counselors, actually. So we've always, you know, been very obsessed with the student experience and the counselor experience, what can we do beyond our means to be able to help this community so that, that obsession, got asked to talk to college counselors, you know, who was struggling in the beginning of the pandemic? Who came to us and said, Look, we need a way to be able to engage these universities, in the absence of a college visit. Universities can travel to my high school, you know, and I want the students to be able to get access to them. And you and that was so important for me, you know, if I went to NTU, because of the college visit, so I knew the impact colleges can have. So we're like, Okay, let's try to figure out how can we, you know, replace the physical conduits. So we we actually just, you know, run Brought zoom in to the picture, and enabled universities to organize virtual fairs and virtual college visits in Cialfo itself.

Rohan  25:09  

In 2020, it was a raging success, very high engagement, every student in our school wanted to engage with these universities. Until it was not 2021 these engagements, you know, fell for a number of reasons, people were zoomed out, you know, Zoom fatigue, across, you know, industries and across sectors. But also, students aren't realizing that this this content that universities are sharing with them is not unique. It started seeming very similar from one college, to another college, and a lot of information they could find on the internet itself. So they were talking to this individual, they were not having this physical connection, but the content that was being shared with all was already available. And, and that, you know, dropped engagement even further. So, in, in those experiences that we were creating, we started noticing a pattern and a problem. And we had by then, late 2020, early 2021, we had already engaged about 1000 universities around the world on a platform. Now, I said we had 15,000 College profiles, but we had 1000, universities actively engaging with students on our platform. So so we said, there is clearly a problem. Our mission is not to take college fairs online, our mission is to make education accessible, and that needs meaningful connections between high schools and universities. So we say turn to universities, especially the International Admissions teams, also the global admissions teams, and my US tour, that I just completed a four week tour was talking to these institutions in America. And we realized that, you know, they're still figuring out how to engage with students online, in this pandemic, slash post pandemic, hopefully, I can save that now, I don't want to jinx it. But you know, in this world is still trying to figure out how to create meaningful engagement. So, so here we are trying to learn from the students, what kind of engagements they want, how do they want content to be fair to them, and what a university is capable of doing? And really helping them educate on how to engage this Gen Z? Because the way you know, when did you and I consume content is very different from how the Gen Z consumed content

Venkat Raman  27:58  

Absolutely, absolutely.

Rohan  28:00  

So so that's what we're doing now.

Venkat Raman  28:07  

I know that a lots of successes, lots of growth. And you guys have done amazing. And congratulations on the huge investment recently as well. I, how, you know, characterize some success stories are you know, are there some vignettes or there's some things you want to point to saying, you know, this is happening because of Cialfo? I mean, sure, there are millions of things. But, you know, maybe a couple of vignettes that might tell us a story.

Rohan  28:38  [Success Stories]

Yeah. First of all, thank you for those kind words, really, investment is a means to an end. In our, in our, you know, world, especially in the tech world, it becomes a measure of success itself.

Venkat Raman  28:49  

It's not end it is a means, agreed.

Rohan  28:54  

And really, you know, I wonder reflect on one of the students that we have recently helped, you know, it's fresh in my memory. So there was a student in India, who want to really go to Australia. And the borders have been closed has, you know, what to wear in the beginning of the year. So he ended up applying and, you know, he said, Okay, you know, he tried to figure this out six months in, he had no colleges that he could go into, he had no college placements. And again, he was, you know, in high school, which didn't have a dedicated college counselor. So similar to my experience. Yeah. He was navigating through the platform, you know, he got in touch with the team. We directed him to apply to the universities through direct apply. He applied to all his dream institutions in Australia, because that's where he was focused on. And he got a conditional offer from the universe. Your New South Wales sales because that's a requirement or completed a statement of purpose. And, and really, then just got in. And we again, he went to a school which had no college counselor. So this is not part of a natural service and we don't charge for it, we are we our team ended up, you know, just helping the student with the statement of purpose. You know, we guided him towards the visa process. Visa was approved, and now he's starting in Australia, and very happy. And this is why we exist to help students, like the student, get into universities that they would not have otherwise gotten into, would not have access to your, you know, to, and, again, it's multi generational impact that this would, this would be for the student and the family. And, and even the end, and he's one of the, you know, 1000s of students on z alpha. So this is, you know, a very pandemic driven journey that is close to our hearts.

Rohan  31:16  

But what have you seen overall, in Cialfo, there's been a lot of adoption of technology on the high school side. Earlier, especially in Asian countries, seen as a good to have, now it is renewed need to help, even if they don't have dedicated college counselor, the student that I mentioned, Students, schools are adopting technology, very rapid pace, that has allowed us to go from like about 500 schools, pre pandemic, to over 2000 schools, globally, that we're working with. And then on the other side, with universities, we're working with, you know, 4000, universities, to be able to create these meaningful engagements, you know, with with the students. Now, out of those 1000, universities, we have long term partnerships with about 400 of them globally, we are engaging a little more closely, and helping them understand how they should be engaging with the students across the journey from grade 11 and grade 10. Up to, you know, post application and enrollment. And so there's been faster adoption of technology on both sides on the high school side and the university side. I wouldn't say students are using more technology they are this is, uh, this is, you know, digital native generation, they've always been using technology. But at least on the high school and university side, recent mass adoption, which has, you know, garnered more investor attention, or in funding in the space as well.

Venkat Raman  33:03  

You, you mentioned 1000, you know, educational institutions. So, 400 that are, that you're closely aligning with or partnering with, what are the geographic distribution of these colleges, maybe the 1000 I mean, across US, Australia, Canada, that kind of thing, I mean, what rough percentages whatever if you can share.

Rohan  33:25  [Close College Partners]

Yeah, absolutely sure is a close reflection of the interest of our students and destination that they want to study for key study abroad, quote, unquote, destinations is US, UK, Canada and Australia. And then the fifth key destination is India. Because we just have a lot of students in India that we operate with by the virtue of the high school adoption, India is still seen as one of the destinations that they will consider. And India, you know, has also opened up a lot of education institutions, which are very different from your traditional, you know, IDs and an IDS, which are offering you know, New Age system of education, which is quite similar to study abroad. So, it is become a very specific or very clear alternative to a study abroad destination. And then, of course, we have universities in Western Europe. So, Netherlands being a key one and, and some institutions, Southeast Asia, Japan, Korea, but again, the first five that I mentioned, he'll present or maybe even more 85% of our university members, university partners.

Venkat Raman  34:49  

Here you are, all this going on, what's ahead where you What is the next five years? What happens? And I don't mean in business terms, I'm just sort of talking impact to students and education.

Rohan  35:10  [Where is Cialfo Headed?]

Yeah, right now, you know, the way we look at impact is the number of students we can help get into universities, and can mean those meaningful connections right now. We have 300,000 students on a platform. Yeah, you know, we are targeting about 100 million students on our platform by 2030. So that's a key goal. You know, it's, it's a number, it's a battle cry is a number that we aspire towards, to be able to show and project ourselves the impact that we want to create. For students around the world. We are working with a lot of schools in Asia, so India, you know, South Asian countries, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Middle East, and then Southeast Asia, Singapore, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and then China, we want to continue going deeper and deeper in those markets. This is where 75% of students are going out of their home country. So we're gonna go deep in those markets, but we will also be expanding into Africa, and Latin America, in the coming months, and years, to help students in those countries as well, in terms of just our solutions, we will continue connecting these students to university options globally, we want to be able to get in more university that we want to help them with really understanding how to engage with these students better and then be able to create those meaningful engagements for them. And I can go deeper with that. The next, the next next aspect of Cialfo would be making education itself more accessible. So right now recruiting these engagements, what if a student is, you know, being offered a course or a place in university, which is quarter million dollars, and they're not able to get scholarships, they will not be able to actually make use of that opportunity. So it's not only about creating those connections, and helping students get offers, but student needs to be able to take up that offer. So the financing element is a key aspect for us, and there are different ways that we are solving that problem. Student debt, and education financing is not the only option. And there are other options that we're working with our university partners, to be able to offer to the student to decrease the cost of tuition for these students. And as we launch, you know, we'd love to share more. And then, you know, students really care about the entire experience of studying abroad, you know, safety is big on their minds, diversity, housing, and how we can help them in all those areas is again, the, the third aspect we will venture into, so giving them the full experience.

Venkat Raman  38:26  

What would you tell? What would your advice be for college bound students who are in the junior and maybe senior years getting ready to apply?

Rohan  38:41  [Advice to College-bound]

Requesting for students, I would say, you know, when you're applying for universities, be open to change. In a diversifier, option options of the universities you would apply to and the countries that you would apply to, or you know, you're not, you don't have to choose one destination, one university, what do you think the dream university may change based on what you learn about how these institutions operate? So you know, be open in how you think about colleges, once you're in college also remain open to change. Those are one of the most important years of your life, that your worldviews will be challenged, to reflect on that, you know, be open for your work to be shaken in good and positive ways. create meaningful relationships create meaningful experiences. Do you would have heard as students, these could be the best years of your life. You don't want to cause us to be the best years of your life, which in the following years and not. Not good enough. But, you know, hopefully those are the best years of our life took And you know, those are better than the years that you've spent in high school, and have a lot of fun. But in a meaningful way. And so that that would be my advice to the high school students.

Venkat Raman  40:20  

So, Rohan, as we start winding down here, fun question for you, if you weren't doing Cialfo, what do you think you might be doing?

Rohan  40:34  [If not Cialfo, What…?]

Oh, gosh, what would I be doing if I'm not doing Cialfo?

Venkat Raman  40:41  

I know, it's not engineering, I know, it's not investment banking.

Rohan  40:44  

So well, that's not going into those areas. I think I'll be a college counselor. in some capacity, I think really, I find meaning and helping students. So if I'm not doing this at scale, you know, which is what I was trying to do. I would, you know, go back to the most fundamental way of helping a student, which is, you know, as a college counselor, so I'll probably do that. And, or, if I if I can, you know, I will do some investing in this space, back more entrepreneurs like myself, to be able to make this difference in different ways. The Cialfo is one way of making a difference. There are other companies in different ways. They're making a difference in the space and, and really in education, technology in general, across age groups, and I would love to back entrepreneurs in creating that meaningful difference and cleaning the world to education. So one of those two, very different, but both meaningful.

Venkat Raman  41:56  

Absolutely, but But it sounds like education is where your heart is. Very good. So Rohan this has been fantastic. First of all, I want to congratulate you again for all that you've done, and all that you're doing for the students, for the parents and for their futures and continue the great work. And I'm sure there's a lot more to come. And I'm sure we'll talk again more, but for right now. Take care, be safe, and thank you so much.

Rohan  42:26  

Thank you Venkat. This was a pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Venkat Raman  42:29  

Sure thing. I'll talk to you soon. Bye. Bye.

—---------------

Venkat  42:38

Hi again!

Hope you enjoyed our podcast with Rohan Pasari of Cialfo.

Cialfo is clearly very personal to Rohan.

His commitment and drive to meet the goal of serving 100 million students by 2030 is fueling their progress.

In particular Cialfo offers:

  • A platform that allows students to research colleges and universities in different countries;
  • Determine College fit or match based on students’ skills and interests;
  • A “common application” to apply to colleges and universities in different countries;
  • Empowers counselors in High Schools everywhere; and
  • Partnership with 1000 institutions to enable high levels of engagement with potential applicants.

I hope students and parents check out Cialfo for their own college process.

For your questions or comments on this podcast, please email podcast at almamatters.io [podcast@almamatters.io].

Thank you all so much for listening to our podcast today.

Transcripts for this podcast and previous podcasts are on almamatters.io forward slash podcasts [almamatters.io/podcasts].

To stay connected with us, Subscribe to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify or visit anchor.fm forward slash almamatters [anchor.fm/almamatters] to check us out.

Till we meet again, take care and be safe.

Thank you!

Summary Keywords

Podcast for High Schoolers, US Colleges, College Podcast, College Counselor, High School Students, College Admissions, College Application, International Students, Global Ed-Tech, Direct Apply, Applying to US Colleges, Advice for High School Students, Making College List, Canada, Australia, UK, Singapore, India


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