A Step in the right direction with Dr. Karan Gupta

With the increasing number of options for students, the need for a qualified career counselor has never been greater. In a candid interview with Hindustan Times, Dr. Karan Gupta, the founder of Karan Gupta Consulting and Karan Gupta Education Foundation, and an alumnus of Harvard Business School and IE tells us how he has been helping students for the past 20 years to reach their true potential.

 

“I have been helping privileged and underprivileged students since 1999 and am glad to have made a positive difference in so many lives. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than seeing a student fulfill his or her dreams,” says Dr. Gupta, a winner of the Wharton Business School Leadership award and the Times Education Icon award.

 

A TEDx speaker, Dr. Gupta often speaks at various schools and colleges. “I have counseled over 100,000 students through my person 1-1 sessions, seminars and workshops,” adds Gupta.

 

With over half a million Indian students studying abroad and the numbers growing exponentially every year, the need for career counselors and study abroad professionals is tremendous. So what makes Gupta’s career counseling unique and effective? “I focus on each individual’s needs – every counseling session is different from the other as students have different requirements and need to be helped in unique ways. I use psychometric tests to learn more about students and spend time understanding what makes them tick. I draw up timelines and set up reminders that help students put into action whatever we discuss,” adds Gupta who also earned a Certificate in Career Advising from the University of California, San Diego.

 

Gupta’s students have been placed in leading institutions across the world including Harvard University, Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, MIT, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth University, Yale University, London Business School, London School of Economics and so on. Some of these students have even obtained full scholarships to study abroad. Given that a large majority of Gupta’s students are placed in Ivy League schools in the US and top institutes across the world, it is understandable why parents chase this man.

 

“Every student has a story to tell. Institutes want to hear that story. They want to know what makes you special and what you stand for. Be clear about what your goals are and why you wish to study at a particular institute. Not every student can score well in academics or standardized tests, but there are several other factors that still help you get admission in your dream institute,” adds Gupta.

 

What happens to students who cannot afford the fees to study further? Education at top institutes not just abroad but even in India is expensive and students who are not from affluent backgrounds find it hard to fund their education. Gupta’s NGO foundation, Karan Gupta Education Foundation, provides vocational training and skill development programs for people from underprivileged backgrounds. The foundation also runs programs for people with disabilities and recently conducted a mobile repairing course which was held at the Fellowship of the Physically Challenged in Mumbai. “We pay for students who cannot fund their education. Our scholarships are mainly for the girl-child who are almost always last in line to get funding for their education. Parents would rather pay for the boy and leave the girl-child uneducated. Each year we host an event called ‘I Am Woman’ which celebrates and awards the inspiration of women. Through this event we aim to encourage and inspire women to make a difference,” says Gupta. Besides paying for the education of the underprivileged, we had time to watch Karan Gupta providing career guidance to students studying at schools in Dharavi. “It’s not just about giving money, we need to give time to these children – they are our future,” adds Gupta.

 

And what is Gupta’s mission? “I want to change the world and make a difference. I will achieve my goal by changing one life at a time. I won’t forget the words of my dean at Harvard Business School – you come to Harvard not to be perfect but to learn to be courageous.” 

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