Headquartered in Canada, Mentrio is a web portal to connect students with the alumni of the leading universities from US and Canada (the aim is to have alumni from around the globe).
With so many universities around the globe offering multiple courses, it is tough to keep a track of the latest trend. There is no source of being 100% sure of the ground reality in different countries and the demand of a course.
According to the studentedge.org survey of 2017 the one thing students’ need the most is MENTORSHIP and GUIDANCE.
Platforms on which the app is available:
We will cover the below aspects of the project:
The aim here is to help you make more informed decisions in terms of features and find the right IT parents, hence saving you from paying extra or getting duped by fake companies. By Sales consultancy we want to educate you with tested strategies to acquire your initial clients.
- Understanding the problem from the user’s perspective
- Hidden Challenges
- Behaviour of the target audience
- Adding feature for acquiring client after launch: Our USP
- Documents Required
- Graphic Designing
- Selecting the Development Team
- Deciding the target audience
- Selecting the country
- Best places to find target audience
- Getting Users on Board
The value is pretty straight forward, students often face the challenges while planning for my higher education. They need some sources of “Awareness and Ground Reality” , and Mentrio bring it with a personal touch.
The challenge is that on one side we have fickle minded students, and on other we have senior position holder professionals of estimated universities.
Before you reach out to any development team you should have the below things ready with you. This will help the IT partner to understand you perspective better and avoid any possibility of confusion
Don’t worry your IT partner will correct you and give appropriate solution when required.
- Document, mentioning all your requirement/thoughts. Simple layman language would do.
- Reference website with similar feature, if any.
- Reference website for your designs preference.
Understanding the problem users face:
Our target was to make it attractive, fast and give more information with minimal design, hence ensuring the credibility of the platform to the target audiences.
- They have limited time,
- No visibility to students who need help,
- Managing payment flow,
- Mode of communication,
- Demanding money for their time (consciously awkward),
- Want to know the ground reality of the college,
- Unable to find which alumni is ready to help ,
- Need secure way to pay the demanded money,
- Nowhere to compare the standards of the alumni,
- Finding relevant mentor is very time consuming,
- Mode of communication,
Hidden Challenges in development
- Booking Timeslot Management:
The main challenge to the complete project is the booking system. If a student is sitting in China and trying to see the timeslots of an alumni in USA, then the timeslot entered by the alumni needs to be adjusted to the timeslot of the student.
It is tougher than it sounds because the timezone for a few countries keep changing every few months, its called the Day-Light Effect. If the IT Company doing it is aware of such effect they can easyly manage it, otherwise it could be a huge pain.
- Video calling through Mobile Browser:
The other challenge is to have the video calling feature run through the browser, even if used from a mobile browser.
Behaviour of Target Audiences:
Targeting relevant students is super fun. You can find that in the Sales section below.
- Major Country of International Student:
USA, UK, and Australia
- Most used apps/ websites for references of comfortable feature:
- UK: Tripadvisor (Booking), Amazon (listing) ,Reddit (Information)
- USA: Facebook, Google, FB Messenger
- Australia: Ebay, LinkedIn, Reddit
- Major Places where International Students come from:
China, India, Saudi Arabia and South Korea
- How is the information acquired
Through local coachings, Websites, Forum and asking random people on social media.
- Most used apps/websites for reference of comfortable feature:
- China: WeChat (business), Mobile Baidu (Searching) ,QQ (Chatting)
- India: Facebook, Google, Whatsapp
- South Korea: KakaoTalk, Korail, Itour Seoul
- Language convenience:
Most are comfortable with English.
Feature to Acquire users: OUR USP
Mentrio uses a feature called Mentrio Fund where on each booking Mentrio donates some fund to the charity which supports the under-privileged kids with studies.
- Mentor login through LinkedIn to capture professional information
- Adding per hour cost
- Adding available timeslots with timezone
- Notification of events
- Search and filter mentors based on categories
- Booking timeslots with online payment
- Attending 1-1 video call from web and mobile browsers
- Notification of events
Here is an example of the Flow Diagram of similar website.
As a policy, I only act as the Project Manager for my clients. I do not build the projects or have in-house developers. This enables me to find the best company at the right cost for my clients without any alternate intentions.
As a Project Manager we handle the Designing, Development, follow-ups, timely delivery, feedbacks and all the project related management. While for clients it is only us who are answerable. Single point of contact.
I have a network of tried and tested 50+ companies/developers across the globe for different budgets and requirements.
- Documenting the requirement :
These are the minimum documents that I take from my vendors to check if they have truly understood the requirement ensuring smooth delivery.
Lot of time, in the haste of closing the deal or in the laziness to do extra effort, vendors don’t give their clients these document which results in confusion and problems at the time of delivery.
Rough sketch of where will the different element be placed on the screens of the application.
In-Vision tool helps to create a good prototype. Before starting a development you should have the exact experience on how would your application feel like once it is created.
In-Vision has commenting facility which helps the client to easily communicate their thoughts on the minor details of the design with precision to the designer.
Selecting the Development Team:
The way I do it is, I intentionally give half information and create loopholes to check how good the development company is to whom I am planning to outsource the project. Company’s ability to think of innovative ways and how quickly they can catch the loopholes , is a test of their talent.
- IMPORTANT: Worked on multiple-timezone based bookings,
- MOST IMPORTANTLY: Have worked on running video calling through mobile browsers.
- Ability to spot the intentionally placed loopholes,
- Company which satisfies the technology stack,
- Handled Payment gateway,
- Worked on Marketplace model,
Sales Consultancy :
We help start-ups to acquire initial users / client. It was one of the occasions when I agreed to be involved more than just being a strategist to acquire clients. After 15 days of research, we formed realistic goals for next 3 months. Putting a number on the strategy helps in being target oriented and more focused.
My role was Student Acquisition. That basically means lot of meetings.
Understanding the project:
The concept is the student from anywhere across the globe should be able to come to the portal and find a relevant person based on different filters. Once the student finalizes the mentor he should be able to book a 1-to-1 video call with the person as per a mutually convenient time.
The mentor should be able to showcase his availability on the portal without too much hassle and decided how much he would like to be paid for the services.
- Deciding the target audience
Unlike the others projects, the target audience for this project was very specific.
In students, we are looking specifically for the ones planning to travel abroad for studies. In alumnus, we are looking to on-board the candidates who would prefer to guide students against some fixed charges.
- Selecting the Country:
Since Mentrio cater to international audiences it is important to start with one country make it profitable and then move to the next.
India ranks second in terms of number of students who opt for international education and my local presence just add to making it the best choice without opposition. India is also an ever growing community of young students travelling abroad to study.
As for Alumnus, I choose USA since that is where most of the Indian students choose to go for studies.
- Getting students on-board:
We took the driving seat while there were 200+ alumnus on-board.
While brainstorming we came up with 16 different strategies using multiple portals.
In 1 months we had 50+ bookings on the portal.
- Approach Colleges seminars/workshops,
- Approach Institutes
- Cafe Events
- Flyers in colleges
- College Fest
- GMAT/GRE/IETLS Coaching
- Local Eateraies
- Malls and Movies
- Ads in Cafes
- Assigning College Ambasidors
- Pic Contests
- Earn on refers
- Ads on RJ’s personal Pages.
- College Contest
- Brought back to reality
With all the past success in the online platform, we were sure to rock even the offline market as we knew our target audience very well.
Our very first strategy was to collaborate with the abroad education consultancies. We were sure that they would jump to shake hands as it had a great value proposition.
However, we failed miserably because, very innocently, we missed to realize that the biggest proposition involved sharing their client (student) data, which obviously none of would agree to.
Nonetheless, we are entrepreneurs and learn quickly from our experiences, we spotted the problem with our strategy and switched to targeting students.
We got really close to the deadline, in first 16 days, we had 0 targeted leads. Working aggressively we achieved our target on the 24th days with commitments for next 3 months with target exceeding 500%.
- Did something completely different
We knew that it is not something we do very frequently, hence we choose to start with relatively easer audience to convert.
- Collaboration with local Education Consultancies
- Hired college students with attractive return
- Collaborated with students as a status symbol
In the 1st month we had 50+ student making the call and the total target of 2000+ bookings in the next 3 months which we are sure to achieve in the next 2 months itself.
The beauty of doing timely delivery is informing the relation with your clients.