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.


Universities worldwide receive millions of applications from international students alone. So, it’s important to understand what attracts university officials to a specific student’s profile. Which skills set them apart?

With the increasingly competitive nature of university admissions as well as post-education employment opportunities, students feel the need to up the ante and upskill their profile before studying abroad. However, the fact remains that you can never learn too much and oftentimes, universities reject student applications for being overqualified. To assist students in getting a direction on the different ways they can build their profile, here are 5 important suggestions:

Cultivating hard skills

Hard skills, many times called “technical skills”, are an essential part of the profile building process. These skills are industry-specific and something students need to inculcate in order to excel in their chosen profession or course. While programming and IT skills, analytical science, and digital marketing are some of the more popular options among students today, content writing, knowledge of foreign languages, and even mathematics can be considered hard skills. In order to become future-ready, students should gain proficiency in these skills and support the claim with the help of online courses and certifications. The technological revolution seems never-ending and the need for those with technical skills is almost perpetual.

Improve interpersonal skills

When you communicate with peers and superiors, the manner of your interaction indicates the level of your interpersonal skills. Similarly, when they step into a new country, students’ interpersonal skills are constantly under scrutiny. Effective communication is the cornerstone of every successful venture and students can start building their communication skills by participating in college-level committees, seminars, clubs, and more. For those interested in building their overall interpersonal skills, there are many courses available on online learning platforms such as Coursera, Udemy, EdX, and the like, which can help them certify their skills. Adding these things to the resume is always impressive during university applications.

Gain work experience or training as interns

Professional management programs like MBA or Masters in Engineering Management require students to have work experience of at least 2-3 years. However, even for the programs that don’t mandate prior work experience, it is always beneficial to at least have internships in your profile. Internships or professional positions provide students a chance to gain experience in the real-life work environment while simultaneously earning practical knowledge. This factor holds a lot of importance from university admission as well as employers’ standpoint and drastically increases students’ chances of acceptance.

Building your transferable skills is a must

Transferable skills are the abilities that are useful to an individual across every walk of their lives. These are easily some of the most important skills that help students especially during their transition from studying to working. The ability to multitask, lead a group of individuals, communicate effectively, critical thinking, and even technical skills such as coding are some of the most common transferable skills you can have.

Learn the art of networking 

Many underestimate the importance of networking with people and don’t understand the opportunities they present. Connecting with university alumni and gaining their testimonials allows prospective students to gain a better understanding of the institution they plan on attending. Similarly, connections with university officials and professors help students build connections not only within universities but also for post-education opportunities. Whether it’s getting into your dream university or the job opportunity of your dreams, networking is the key.

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