Avijit Sharma, Founder, MentorPolis

Team YS
6th Jun 2009
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Most of us have had a friend, philosopher, and a guide help us thorough troubled times with correct and precise advice. Usually the friend philosopher and guide is actually one person we usually refer to as our mentor. So what happens when there is no mentor to help? Perhaps we would have struggled on our own but now we can go online and look for one at mentorpolis.com. Avijit Sharma the Young Entrepreneur responsible for this explains “The idea is to establish a new communication channel which connects mentees who seek academic and professional advice, with accomplished and suitable mentors, via one-to-one interaction. Telephonic consultation and web seminars are the initial modes of communication between mentees and mentors.”

He labels those seeking the guidance of a Mentor with a term of his coining, he says “Mentees are high school students, undergraduates, young professionals, whereas mentors are senior students and professionals who have ‘been in mentee shoes’, have ‘made it’, thus precisely understand mentee problems and their solutions and want to share their wisdom in a nurturing way.”

“To begin with we have started with six major verticals namely-

Engineering India

Engineering Abroad

MBA India

MBA Abroad


Job Preparation”

The mentoring is not just for students looking for advice but also professionals. Avijit says “The scope encompasses the entire lot of students such as 11-12 students, undergrads, post grads and professionals seeking advice on the important decision points of their careers.”

“Irrespective of the phase of your journey towards your goal, mentors can help you form a suitable strategy, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and work with you at every corner to help you reach your goals. If you are confused about your career, mentors can even help you identify it and put the best foot forward.”

“In a short span of 1.5 months, 500 mentees have registered with MentorPolis and are getting benefited through its web seminars, forums and telephonic consultations.”

The site is unique and one of a kind because of the people who use it. Avijit outlines the differences saying “Distinguished Mentors: MentorPolis reaches out to the most qualified and motivated individuals to constitute its mentor panel. Currently the mentors come from distinguished colleges from India and abroad such as IIT, IIM, Harvard Business School, Stanford and other top colleges of US and Europe. We believe that every aspiring individual deserves a right to the best and apt guidance sources.”

“Customized Advice: MentorPolis understands that each individual is different and needs a unique approach to best harness his talent and capabilities. Thus we have always laid emphasis on one to one consultation through telephone and beefing it up with information sources like web seminars, forums and web links.”

“We have tried to make knowledge resources as accessible as possible for the mentees. We do not charge mentees to create an account and use the free knowledge resources such as Q&A, Weblinks, videos etc .”

“The web seminars taken up by our mentor panel are also free for all the registered users. We charge mentees for any personal consultation they request with any of our mentors. A part of the fees is retained by MentorPolis.”

The site also has plans for expansion to cover the entire gamut of education. Avijit says “From six verticals we promise to expand into all major education verticals covering the entire+ spectrum of education. We completely recognize that students now are looking for a variety of career options and their decision making can be strengthened by guidance and authentic information.”

“We shall design more innovative products and offerings to help in seamless dissemination of customized information and guidance, while also sensing the educational and career pulse of students to provide them with the most relevant information.”

He became an entrepreneur because - “First thing first, the jobs we were all doing were never 9-to-5 jobs. And probably that was one of the major reasons that we thought that if this amount of work has to be done, why not have something of our own, where the effort is topped up with satisfaction and joy of creating something of our own.”

Avijit also told us about the initial doubts he had, he says “This being quite a novel concept, it was difficult to predict the behavior of the audience. What would be the audience perception to the price points, how would they react to mentoring which is alternative to the advice currently given by relatives and acquaintances. There hadn’t been a precedent hence it was difficult to predict the behavior of people to the idea.”

“But I think mentees have seen the sea difference between the traditional advices and focused authentic mentoring. Thus the initial response has been amazing and our assumptions are getting validated. We have been overcoming our challenges steadily.”

We asked him if there had been any initial mistakes when the business was starting out, he said “We would not call it a mistake but yes a mental roadblock which existed towards the execution of certain things. As the concept was novel we were skeptical of going the wrong way. But we overcame it by understanding that only by steadily moving towards goals doubts will resolve, although it took us a little while to comprehend that. But we think we have been learning from our mistakes at good pace.”

About future growth and expansion he answered saying “We have 4 founding members and it has been 3-4 months we started working seriously enough on it. But we would surely have a longer answer to this question a year after.”

Unwilling to give up on his dreams and hoping that circumstances do not drive him to shelve his plans, Avijit is not going to be seen in a 9 to 5 office anytime soon. He says “I think for a personal level it is the satisfaction of continuous learning and absence of stagnation which drives me towards entrepreneurship. As an organization it would be to add value to fellow lives. We also look forward to entrepreneurship as a tool to create enormous institutional change.”

His vision for 2010 largely remains to encourage both entities, MENTEES and MENTORS towards the mutual benefits of mentoring and sharing knowledge. In the long term, their mission is to break barriers of education, increase accessibility of desired knowledge and guidance and thus enable every individual to make an informed decision about his life's goals

He has not received any awards as of yet and he explains why saying “Because it is been really short that we have started this, it will be a while before we start getting awards, so we would love to answer this question after some time. But I think our team has been achievers (with numerous awards) throughout our school and IIT days and has learnt quite a few things from those experiences.

Moreover our awards would be the success of our mentees in reaching their career goals. We recently had our first success with one of the mentees making it to the Yale School of Management for the class of 2011.”

Acting as a temporary Mentor to our readers at Yourstory, Avijit advises “I would limit my advice to all young people staring at entrepreneurship as an option. I see lots of people around talking, ideating about entrepreneurship, which is a very encouraging sign. But I think most students in India treat entrepreneurship as a step to their MBAs or their future careers, which I think is unfair to some extent. Do it because you love it, you love the way entrepreneurs work, you love the feeling of creating something of your own, you love creating value for others.”

“And don’t be afraid to try, even if you fail. The biggest advantage of online entrepreneurships is that they don’t require a fortune to start with, so it perfectly fits young entrepreneurs.”

Yourstory thanks Avijit and Mentorpolis who we wish to see guiding more minds and careers in the coming years.

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