How this career guidance startup is helping students identify and pursue careers of their choice

Delhi-based Career Clinic aims to help children choose a career by choice, and not by chance.
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The education sector in India has undergone rapid expansion in the last decade since the process of digitisation began. Online career guidance has gained immense traction in recent years with the pandemic further accelerating its growth as learners and teachers have now moved to virtual classrooms. As a result, Indian edtech has seen a tremendous boost with many such platforms working hard towards making education accessible for everyone.

One such platform that has set out to make online career guidance interesting for students is Career Clinic, which boasts of a team of professionals who have worked in the technology and education sectors for over two decades. Founded by Koushik Chatterjee and Deepankar Gupta in 2016, Delhi-based Career Clinic aims to help children choose a career by choice, and not by chance.

The origin story

Prior to starting Career Clinic, Koushik had an experience of starting a new learning service during his stint with HCL. Although products and services have always been his forte, he admits that he found pleasure in learning, development, and transformation. This led him to take a break from corporate life in 2012, and take up projects in the space. On the other hand, Deepankar has a distinguished career of more than 25 years in domains like education, skill development, information technology, and telecom.

Koushik recalls how their circle of three friends, who had children of the same age group, hit upon the idea of Career Clinic for a more professional way of career guidance. Getting access to an assessment tool, Koushik says that they subjected their children to the assessment, and got exceedingly good results.

“There was a need for all stakeholders to come together and help students identify and pursue enjoyable careers. When they do their jobs with happiness, there’s job success and prosperity. That’s how the idea for Career Clinic was conceived,” he adds.

Koushik says that starting a hybrid model was always a part of their plan. Currently, Career Clinic sees a growth of 75 percent YoY, and Koushik believes that not diverging into too many avenues has helped the startup build trust among its stakeholders. “At times, there was pressure on the revenue, but we still chose to say no to the international college admissions space. We are aligned to the core of providing services of seeking the best enjoyable career,” he says.

Another growth factor, Koushik believes, is that they were able to grow their community of career guides organically whilst ensuring that they are well-versed, enjoy the process, and have the fluency and gravitas to drive the conversation.

Differentiating factor

The entire construct of Career Clinic’s approach is based on enjoyment. He adds that they decided to base their construct on enjoyment instead of aptitude or ability.

“We decided to find out what is the enjoyment index of different careers and that’s where we fell back on a well-researched tool for diagnostics, which gave us the launching pad for assessing children and coming out with a list of about 700-odd careers against an enjoyment index, based on the children’s preferences,” he says.

He adds that the construct has the ability to assess a set of 175 traits that make up the human preference universe and generate a report which is able to give them an enjoyment or satisfaction index. “We start with enjoyment or suitability, and then we look at how to build the eligibility for that,” says Koushik.

Another USP of Career Clinic is that both students and their parents are equal stakeholders in deciding the career path. “Through the conversation, we create a safe space for parents and children to be equally vocal. There’s a sense of collaboration that finally builds into a consensus where the child shortlists three careers, after which we also run through and create a career index for them,” he says.

Truly Indian

While there was a lot of foreign university admission guidance being dispensed in the name of career counselling, Career Clinic was clear in conveying the message that they are unbiased.

Koushik adds that with their model based on the service of career guidance and not college admissions, the .in domain was a reflection of their understanding of Indian sentiments. It also helped them drive trust in their stakeholders that they were not going to push them into various colleges abroad just for the sake of earning money through promotions.

Many such organisations like Career Clinic have made sure that they convey the message of being a dedicated Indian brand with the help of the .in and .Bharat domains. While these domains help such organisations cater to the Indian audience, they also help them make their mark in the online space, thanks to the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI). Available in 22 Indian languages, these domains help budding businesses grow their brand exponentially.

Challenges and the path ahead

Getting investors’ attention, reveals Koushik, was the biggest challenge for the startup. Another hurdle they faced was to find early customers. “For whatever reason, we decided to avoid doing free pilots. We didn’t want to burn, and neither did we have the provision to burn. We lost a few early customers when people didn’t know us, and we didn’t have enough stories to tell and substantiate,” he says.

Career Clinic plans to experiment on a bit of backward and forward integration over the next three to four years. “We did a little cursory research with about 100-odd parents and we asked them how much they have invested to push their child to do something they never enjoyed. It could be an extra-curricular or tuitions in a subject they hated most or tests they never attended or flunked in. That gave us an average of about Rs 3 lakh of bad investments made by Indian parents in the small sample we collected,” says Koushik.

The platform aims to stop these bad investments, catch the kids young and guide them accordingly. Talking about the forward integration, Koushik says that they would like to see the enjoyment-generated courses or careers that a child has gone through and integrate them with the industry.

The ‘Shaping India Inc's Online Growth’ series chronicles the journeys of startups and SMEs in India and how creating an online presence on the .in or .Bharat domain powered their success stories.


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