A patient listener works as a salve for a distracted mind, as does a good education counsellor for study abroad aspirants. Biruda Virkud, founder of iGrad Global, is one such miracle healer. With nearly 15 years of experience in the field of overseas education counselling, she has helped place more than 3000 students at over 125 top notch schools all over the world. Just in the last couple of years, her students have garnered over $400,000 in scholarships. We asked Biruda to share her experiences with Youth Incorporated readers.
You have worked in the field of higher education for several years. What made you set up iGrad Global?
During my previous experience working in the education sector, I became aware of the lack of processes and systems that gave students flexibility in choosing the best courses and universities for them. The glut of information available online can easily overwhelm the average student and derail his/her plans of picking the best career option. This is where the experience of someone who has personally been through such a system plays a strong role in guiding the prospective students to streamline their applications. This has been the motivation behind the inception of iGrad Global as an admission consulting firm.
How does iGrad Global help the students pick the right universities to apply to?
All of our admits are based on the merit/profile of the students. We provide individual attention to each of our students to understand their background and areas of interest, suggest appropriate courses for them and then apply to universities offering those courses. For younger students who want to pursue their undergraduate degrees abroad but might be undecided on their majors, we even offer them access to tools as early as the 11th grade to help them introspect and take an informed decision on courses and their future careers.
How do students get serviced by iGrad Global?
We have a full time staff of highly qualified professionals who are passionate about education and contribute with various phases of the counselling program. As a graduate of Texas A&M University myself, I am able to set the students’ expectation levels based on my first-hand experience with advanced degree programs abroad. Students also get to interact with a global network of former iGradians who are currently pursuing higher studies abroad or have already graduated. These former students contribute in various aspects of iGrad Global – from mentoring the aspirants one-on-one, to building a large referral network to even helping with business development among peers. It helps that all of our operations are performed online. We have pioneered an effective communication system by executing the process over the internet through tools like Skype, Whatsapp and web-based archiving systems. We also continuously invest in new technology tools to make the processes more and more efficient.
What sets you apart from competitors in global admission consulting?
Our biggest strength lies in empathising with the student. We are aware that someone’s career is at stake and strive to balance a difficult decision-making process with adequate mentoring. We believe in fair play among our students and do not use this as a means to financial gains. Finally, we aim to be more than mentors to groom the student’s overall development since we work closely with them for a long while. Success for us is when we are able to touch the lives of so many youngsters who choose to continue to stay connected with iGrad Global through faith, trust, confidence and mutual collaboration thus, generating great good will and word of mouth.
What is your advice to students who wish to study abroad/what should they keep in mind?
They need to objectively peruse the information and not believe in hearsay. Rely on authentic information and try not get carried away with gimmicky terms like ‘100% admits’ and ‘assured admits’ to avoid getting deported from a foreign country or be with enrolled with a fake university.