Saloni Khandelwal: Advocating Digitalization in Education
Saloni Khandelwal |Exambazaar

We often meet people who leave a lasting impression on us. But, how many of those people were educational influencers who tirelessly spent time helping to sculpt us into who we are today? Now, people might confuse educational influencers as teachers since both play a significant role in impacting lives.

A teacher plays an incomparable role in one’s life. But unlike teachers, educational influencers need not always be in the vocation of education – teaching students. Serving the enclave of education is a calling to them. Educational influencers go beyond their call of duty to create an immersive academic experience and amplify the voices and dreams of many children.

Such influencers make us realize that education is not just about levelling the grounds and cutting the jungle (teaching and instructing), it is about irrigating deserted lands and making them bloom. Their passion and enthusiasm for changing lives permeated what they did and that mattered.

In our attempt to honour such great educators or educational influencers we were obliged to derive this edition. Herein, we had the opportunity to interview Ms. Saloni Khandelwal, the Co-Founder of Exambazaar.

The below conversation will shed some light on how Ms. Saloni and her institution is shaping the future of students. Her continuous endeavour to help students meet their educational needs earns her the mantle of ‘Global Educational Influencer’. Let us hear from her how the journey began and her evolution as an educational influencer.

Kindly brief us about the graph of your career as an educationist. Also, tell us about your entrepreneurial journey.

My journey as an educationist started inadvertently. After clearing IIT JEE with AIR 92, I was consistently mentoring family and friends who were IIT JEE aspirants. The vocation of mentoring juniors about JEE and life in IIT continued through college. When I bagged the coveted job of Investment Banking at Deutsche Bank, London during college placements, the coaching took on a new turn. Not only was I educating the top minds in India about Investment Banking, I was also playing an advisory role in their job preparation. Having trained enthusiastic younglings to clear one of the toughest exams in the country and nail some of the most stressful job interviews for more than a decade, it seemed only natural for to me start Exambazaar. The blueprint for Exambazaar was created on a tissue paper and now we are one of India’s largest Ed-Tech startups with a fantastic team, working with the organised and unorganised Education Institutions in the country. Our objective is single-fold – Helping students succeed in their education and career pursuits by equipping them with the best resources at the most affordable prices.

Kindly tell us what inspired you to put forth such an e-learning platform.

Exambazaar was incepted in 2017 with the ethos to bring the $6 billion fragmented coaching classes market in India, largely absent from the internet and social media, under a common platform. Coaching classes are unregulated and not recognised as educational institutions by the government despite their size, scale and reliance of students on these alternative education systems. With no aggregation or database of such institutions, students are left to bank on word of mouth and often misleading advertising. Exambazaar is the first Aggregator and Marketplace for affordable coaching classes in India, serving more than 3,00,000 students per month. We provide reliable information and exclusive discounts on the high fees charged by coaching classes today.

What aspects of your job are the most challenging and how do you overcome them?

The biggest challenge which every startup faces is to create an amazing team; Exambazaar faced this challenge as well. We started with hiring remote interns and discovered an efficient management structure. Slowly we hired our first employee, who is still with us and has proved to the best first employee a startup could ask for. We scaled our team from there and the culture of hard and smart work has fortunately perpetrated through the entire team.

Please enlighten us more about Exambazaar and why one should choose Exambazaar?

Exambazaar provides verified information, appointment booking, and exclusive discounts on courses of 38,000 Coaching Classes in 100+ major cities and 400+ total cities in India. We are ‘Opentable’ or ‘’ for coaching courses in India. We provide the best coaching offers for our students. Toppr, DBMCI, Engineers Academy, and Motion Education are a few of our partnerships. We provide a premium product to our students thorough exam eligibility and previous year question papers.

Also if we talk from the perspective of a coaching class, then we are providing them with a platform where they can find their students. Keeping the current COVID-19 crisis in mind, we are also aiming to help provide online coaching to the existing students. We are currently helping our partner’s classes by delivering live classes to their students.

What measures do you take to retain the quality of education your company is prominent for?

Exambazaar has always placed the students first. We are solving the problem of enrollment and purchase for crores of students in India. To ensure the highest quality of education for the students by our partners, we take period review & feedback from the students. These reviews also determine the standing of the Coaching Class for future enrollments. We also publish high-quality resources to the students throughout their preparation including Topper Interviews, High-Quality Prep Guides, 1000+ Previous Year Question Paper for the students.

As a global educational influencer, what according to you should be the purpose of education in today’s world?

In the era of Industry 4.0, knowledge alone is not going to be sufficient. We need to develop the right skills and attitude as well for a successful career. Education must also emphasize on ‘lifelong learning’. In the VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) world, it is extremely critical that the ability of ‘learning how to learn’ is developed.

What advice can you give to aspiring educationalists?

An educationist plays an important role in the life of a student. Their role should not be confined only to impart theoretical and textbook knowledge but they should also prepare students for challenges of life and job ahead. Developing employability skills should also be a part of the teaching-learning process. Last but not the least, as learners look up to their teachers for guidance, the job of a teacher must also be to encourage and inspire them.

Enlighten us about where do you see yourself and your company in the years to come.

Exambazaar started in April 2017 in a coffee shop, since then we have come a long way. In the coming years will be the one-stop-shop for young students – whether that be to discover exams, decide on a coaching class, buy a coaching course, decide on colleges, explore careers or simply find their calling in life.

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