Career Session with GraduFund Leadership


In a recent interactive session with MBA and Engineering students at a globally reputed university, we focused on aspects of students’ lives that make it the most promising yet challenging phase, their career options and paths, and tips to decide whether “An Entrepreneur versus An Intrapreneur” path is better suited for them. A brief snapshot of what took place and what resonated strongly with the student community.


The key speakers were Mr Abhijit Onkar, co-founder of GraduFund, and ex-Strategy Consultant at Deloitte; and Mr Ram Ravichandran, Director of Analytics at Visa Inc., in his personal capacity. While we expected a few students for a focused group discussion about GraduFund, we were both overwhelmed and humbled by the response, as about 3X more students turned up for the session voluntarily, at the end of a tiring day for most. At the same time, the scheduled one-hour interaction went on to two-and-a-half, and the depth of interaction was amazing!


Two main patterns emerged during the talks – Finance and Career Connect. Keep on the lookout for the details on this engaging session – We will cover the details of the rich interaction soon in our GraduFund blog! As our reputed speaker, Ram, echoed his thoughts after the session – “These guys are amazing, and with the right opportunities, they will create amazing things…Learnt 10X more from them, than what we expected” .

Couple of feedback points cited verbatim, from the student community that loves what GraduFund does -“Students absolutely loved it.” “It is a great beginning. I wish to see its success and effectiveness personally.”

This is what keeps us going!

If you are interested in a deeper understanding of how the GraduFund community of financiers, employers, alumni, technology and management experts are making students’ lives hassle-free every single day, let us know. You can write to us at for a planned session at your institution.

Avoiding top 10 financial mistakes

gradufund student financing

1. Sticking to Cash 

When the whole economy is going cashless, I don’t think that students should stick to cash. Moreover, wallet and credit facilities also bring about hidden benefits, if prudently used. There are many offers and cashbacks available, so switching to online mode should be a planned shift. Don’t think like your ancestors, financially speaking!

2. Overspending on Commute

Students who spend a higher share of money on travelling should instead make a monthly pass according to the needs. Paying daily while commuting will always strain your cash reserve, so it’s better that you switch to a monthly pass system – for metro, bus or local train.

3. Ignoring Government’s BHIM app

Given a choice, sticking to private firm wallets can hurt you a bit more than you expect when you decide to withdraw to your bank account. They levy their fees as transaction charges, payable by you. So it is better that you switch to government apps for digital transactions.

4. Shopping in peak demand seasons

It is always seen that the prices drop decisively at the end of the year, beginning of monsoon, and similar “off-peak” demand seasons. So it is better not to shop in peak demand season, as the prices are expected to fall as time goes by.

5. Buying first-hand books

Beyond the “fresh smell” of a new book, there is no rational reason for the prudent student in investing huge sum of money on “exam-prep” books that won’t be useful after that exam. Instead, it is better to buy second-hand books or taking it from a senior.

6. Not planning the budget

Even the government has a budget which it plans to follow. Similarly, the financially prudent student always prepares a monthly or a weekly budget to fit in all that is needed, without bringing about trouble to our parents.

7. Not applying for scholarships

Getting a scholarship is one of the best feelings but the regret of not applying for one, is another equally strong feeling. Even if the odds of getting one are bleak, still one should plan methodically and apply – unless you are on the scholarship decision-making board, you do not know what the future has in store in for the applicant.

8. Not repaying loans 

Loans help you study in the courses and college that you desire, keeping in mind your financial barriers. But it builds a negative reputation for you, in the lender’s books, when you fail to repay the amount during your college life.So it is better to take pending repayments out of the equation in time. If you are taking funds through a site like GraduFund, you also unlock huge career benefits for timely repayments.

9. Aiming at a “pricey” college

Directly aiming at a very pricey college with good “crowd” soon becomes a headache when your father talks more with the bank people than you. So financially speaking, it is advisable to study in a college of good repute offering great career tracks and alumni track record, than opting for one known to pull price-insensitive “crowd”.

10. Destroying your credit score

Credit cards can help build your reputations in parties, but it may even destroy it when you miss your payments because it then remains in your credit history for a long time. Being prudent and repaying on times helps build your creditworthiness for future education loans, personal loans et al.

The “Risk-taking” Doctor

GraduFund student funds and career planning

Gone are the days when an MBBS degree meant that you’re sorted for life. Today’s doctors are not shy of venturing into entrepreneurship or marketing as unconventional career choices.

In India, engineers aspiring to do managerial jobs traditionally drove fierce competition in exams like CAT and  GMAT.  Today, a management degree is viewed as an enabler of wider career options by doctors as well. They aspire to do an MBA course from institutes like ISB, IIM, XLRI, or even Harvard, INSEAD and Stanford. Even IITs have started MBA courses for doctors.

It sounds absurd for the family itself when they hear that their son/daughter wishes to do an MBA course after a painstakingly long and tortuous journey to an MBBS degree. However, people are now focusing on subjects that have a wider application of industry knowledge. That opens up a whole array of new administrative and leadership positions for them.

Just making a decision is not enough, prized institutes do glorify their offerings but they do not highlight their fees. Then it becomes pertinent for a middle-class MBBS who opted for a reputed Government institution over private practice, to seek education loans.

It is worth mentioning that doctors have been often viewed as a good borrower community by traditional financiers. According to reports, relatively few percentage of loans to doctors have turned into bad loans. So they are mostly classified as safe (non-risky) investments in a financier’s portfolio.

However, with more doctors venturing into non-clinical roles post their management education, there are concerns in their ability of earning steady cash flows to repay their huge education loans. At least for the traditional lender, used to making loans to doctors who will “safely” go back to the Operation Theatre or Clinic and get his steady income.

As per the emerging trends, doctors are now enthusiastically cross-skilling, focusing on joint ventures, teaming up with engineers on “IoT” or “Medical Tourism” startups, joining a Practo rather than going solo with a medical clinic or hospital. Now to run such a hospital, such unconventional shifts require advanced managerial and leadership skills and that can only be gained from a good B-school.

What it means for lenders is paradigm shift in their lending decision-making frameworks. So with doctors not looking at things “safe” and “steady” anymore, are the new generation of financiers ready to step up, and help with open hands?

GraduFund student funds and career planning

The views expressed in this blog are from a practicing doctor at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)

10 investments while you are studying

gradufund student funding and counseling

1. Books

I remember the good old days when we could find every desirable book in the school library, but this changes as we enter college life. There are multiple books to refer, books that are ‘heavy’ and that burn holes into your pockets. If you talk to well-placed successful alumni, a common advice is to prudently invest in books that could be useful in the long run. At the same time, there’s no point in “donating” 1000 bucks for a book for only that one chapter expected to help you in the next semester paper.

2. Excursion

“All work and no days off makes everyone in this planet dull!”

A day in the wilderness will surely rejoice your inner soul. Invest in travelling alone, travelling offline, travelling without any plans. Go out on a bike ride or maybe go for a trek. Change the mundane cycle by breaking routine.

3. Mentors

Group studies and Goa trip plans have something in common in a student’s life. Both rarely go as planned, if they happen at all! Back in my school days, all my  friends used to converge at tuitions, just to pass time. Invest in mentors that are capable of making an impact on your education even if they demand more outreach effort and sometimes pay for their professional mentor hours. Because it is better to invest in gold rather than in copper.

Ananth – Learn from Ex-Googlers

Continue reading “10 investments while you are studying”

What Government’s BHIM app and going cashless mean for students

gradufund student funding and counseling

BHIM app is a path-breaking step in the path of unfolding an era of cashless economy. India has a whopping 315 million students that indeed constitute a formidable percentage of the population of this nation. So whenever there is a new initiative, somewhere in the background, it has got to be designed with  a “youth” flavour in mind.  I believe BHIM  app does that in case of payment. The ones who need to worry are the pickpockets because there will be no wallet in the denims of a student in coming years!

  • What BHIM app is doing, is creating a wallet in the ‘pocket’ of your phone, directly linked to over 30 Indian banks.
  • There are other online payment wallets as well, but you can always be sure with a government app in terms of security concerns.
  • Transaction Limits of Maximum of Rs. 10,000 per transaction and Rs. 20,000 within 24 hours, is all that a student needs for short term funding needs.

Continue reading “What Government’s BHIM app and going cashless mean for students”

Exploring your options and how to go about it

GraduFund Student Finance and Career Planning

If you have read my last post, by now you’d probably be nodding yes to all that I said! So coming to all the info that you’re probably drowning in right now, let’s break it up.

The factors I considered when deciding how to go about my MBA were random at first. It was mostly about which school ranks at the top. That’s how everyone starts out initially. But as you do your research and learn about how different aspects of a school can affect your career, the horizon broadens.

Location, cost, placements, Continue reading “Exploring your options and how to go about it”

Planning for Higher Studies like a Pro!

GraduFund student counseling and financing

1. Choose a college reputed for a Career Path

It will sound absurd if one says one plans to pursue Management Consulting as a career after studying B.Sc. from Goa – reason being a complete mismatch between the chosen career and the chosen path to that career. It is an added advantage when you have your institute aligned to the desired career path that you want to pursue. Bangalore for software, France for fine arts, Germany for automobile engineering; IIM Kolkata for Finance, ISB for Management Consulting –  you get the picture. Shoot for the best countries, cities or colleges reputed for their alignment with a particular career path.

2. Do not be afraid to apply to aspirational colleges

There are many instances when students regret not getting into good institutions just because of the fact that they did not give it a try. It is all about trying and leaving no stones unturned. Even its Harvard or Oxford, plan your moves wisely and give it a try !

3. Keep a track of Deferred Courses Continue reading “Planning for Higher Studies like a Pro!”

GMAT 760 and that prestigious MBA abroad

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For starters,  most of you, like me, came here just searching for the best guidance to plan your career/higher education. Amidst all the information that comes at you, one particular thing hits you which makes you halt and think IF further education is even a possibility – That would be the burgeoning COST of education.
For any studies at all, finance often plays an important role in determining where do you go to study, what do you study or in some unfortunate cases, do you even study at all.
To be very honest, for the last few years, since college, I had begun to think that maybe studies abroad was an impossible dream and that I should settle for whatever came my way easily. It was not until Continue reading “GMAT 760 and that prestigious MBA abroad”

College Survival List

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So you are at your wit’s ends trying to get a hold on your limited student budget! We listed 10 interesting ways to finance your student life expenses, if you have not already thought about them.

1. Engaging in group activities


“If you watch a scary movie together, then the scariness is reduced to half” – Hidekaz Himaruya

Similar is the case with financial burden. It is always better to engage in group projects because then the cost of the project gets divided. Where you had to pay 1000, you’ll have to pay 500 in a group of two. So it’s time to find your Jai for your conscious Veeru.

2. Using credit wisely for transactions

In hand cash transactions are like 50-50 barter systems -Services in exchange for cash. But some financial firms allow cashbacks on transactions when you use credit. Moreover, your credit limit also gets upgraded.  This, in turn, helps in saving some amount of money which could be used for some other purposes.

3. Lookout for scholarships

Many state governments and colleges provide scholarships.  These scholarships help students to cover their tuition fees and project work,  easing  some of the burden off the shoulders of the parents. Continue reading “College Survival List”