Ashish Fernando, Founder and CEO, iSchoolConnect

Ashish started his career as a Software Engineer with Thomson Reuters Inc., building their flagship investment research solution – Thomson One. He then went on to take multiple executive roles in Program Management and AI before managing the Data Science and Engineering business in the Insurance vertical. Ashish is a university gold medalist in Biotechnology and later went on to study Bentley University’s flagship MBA in 2014 with a 100% scholarship.

Ashish founded iSchoolConnect in 2017 to solve the pain point of many parents and children: getting unbiased, hassle-free admission in foreign colleges. After going through the same trouble of finding a college to study that fit his needs, Ashish launched iSchoolConnect with a vision to democratize the global admissions market for graduate and undergraduate programs. Through the effective use of artificial intelligence, iSchoolConnect aims at being the most cost-effective and advanced solution for connecting students and schools worldwide.


In 2020, many countries reported that on an average, 26% of students pursue business and management related degrees while another 18% pursue engineering degrees. The corporate world is fast-changing and one of the best ways to stay ahead of the race is to break away from the common courses and forge unique career paths.

Engineering, humanities, computer science, social sciences, and business are some of the most popularly pursued courses in India as well as abroad. However, that also means that the competition in these professions increases multifold each year. To break away from this traditional mold, many times, we recommend that students choose a niche course within their chosen fields. Here are some of the most unique study abroad program options in 2021:

Cybersecurity and Ethical Hacking

Increasing cyber attacks and security risks have created a demand for experts in the subsequent fields. That is where the Ethical Hacking program comes in. Ethical hackers are cybersecurity professionals who analyze and work on various organizations’ networks and structures to find security vulnerabilities and fix them accordingly. They also draw salaries on the higher side of the scale with the average salary in India being more than 10 lakhs per annum and US$96,900 on the global level. The best part? As the name suggests, this type of hacking is completely legal.


One of the most up and coming fields in biosciences, Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field that combines biology and computer science. Bioinformaticians are responsible for several important arenas like analyzing the variations and the expressions in the human gene and using data to analyze protein sequences. Many Indian universities like IIT, and top universities like Stanford, MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, Duke University, and others have some of the best Bioinformatics programs and in the time of a global pandemic, this career is more lucrative than ever.


Offered by the top global universities like the University of British Columbia, University of Bristol, University of Pennsylvania, and more, this niche program focuses on developing facilities and technologies that compliment the sustainable development of our ecosystem.

Urban Design and Planning

Urban Design and Planning is an advanced specialization in the field of architecture that focuses on creating functional, sustainable, and appealing city plans and designs. It deals with the arrangement and design of buildings, public spaces, transport systems, and more to address the issues of human settlement and urban development.


This distinct specialization allows students to use statistical methods to anticipate and estimate economic policies. Economists around the world use econometrics in order to analyze the impact of specific financial and economical policies on the country’s economy. Econometrics as a course, is offered by many universities as a bachelors as well as masters degree. This degree can help students secure job positions like economists, data analysts, and finance analysts in government as well as organizational bodies.

Dance Therapy

For those passionate about dancing and plan on evolving that as a career, Dance therapy is the perfect blend. This degree teaches students the nuances of using dance as a medium to help people modify their emotional state and reduce stress. Offered by the best arts divisions around the world, Dance Therapy has also been known to treat depression, eating disorders, ADHD, and more.


Gemstones have long been considered symbols of prosperity, health, success, and most importantly, wealth. Therefore, careers as a gemologist tend to be highly exclusive. This art of studying, cutting, and valuing precious stones requires precision and distinct artistic abilities. In India, students can pursue education in this art at institutions like the Gemological Institute of America. Globally, many top schools like George Brown College and Birmingham City University offer this unique specialization.

Data science and AI

It seems appropriate to round up this list of courses with this popular yet unique program. For the last decade, the presence of AI in various career fields has been very prominent. The more people discover about this brilliant science, the more specialization programs and learning opportunities are generated. From Data mining to Natural language processing, the avenues to learn are immense in AI. Not only that but, data science was reported to be one of the most high-paying careers in 2020. If that’s not a good incentive, I don’t know what is.

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