Parul Mehta is the founder of Resercho. Resercho is an interactive application that connects students to various research materials online.
Parul has spent her childhood in India and New Zealand and has completed her graduation from Delhi university. Further, she went to the University of Auckland to get a post-graduation degree.
‘Though I am an entrepreneur I am not a drop out’
Diya from our team engaged in a candid conversation with Parul Mehta. Here she talks about her start-ups, failures and the education system in general.
The success rate of startups these days is very low. Since you are spearheading Resercho, what can be some suggestions from Parul Mehta to those who have just begun with something like this?
First and foremost, when you do have an idea for a business make sure you do thorough research for it. Don’t jump into any venture without doing market research. Analyze at first, if there is actually a need for your product or service. Most of the startups fail because they don’t solve a meaningful problem and do not fulfil a market need. Secondly, feedback is paramount. Make sure you listen to the feedback your customers give you. Make changes accordingly because that is what’ll make your business successful.
What difference do you feel in the research field of India and the research field in foreign?
When I went to New Zealand to pursue my post-graduation degree, I noticed the stark differences that are prevalent in our education system and the education system of the western countries. Research is something which is introduced to them at the school level. It is conducted in the form of writing essays, creating projects and assignments which have to be original and not copy-pasted. They inculcate critical thinking skills, and the ability to reason and question things from a very young age. At the university level, this is intensified and they have to conduct research in the form of dissertations, literature reviews, thesis and so on which helps develop vital skills in students and prepares them for their professional careers really well.
When it comes to research don’t you feel India is somewhere lacking and isn’t up to the mark. What is your take on it?
We have brilliant students in India and if they are given the right guidance in school and universities they can excel in life very easily. Unfortunately, there is a deep-rooted problem in our education system, which is that we encourage rote learning in our schools and universities when we should be encouraging students to think critically, think outside of the box, and use their own brains to create assignments and projects instead of copy and pasting them.
This has led to an emergence of a copy-paste culture which is very detrimental because it takes away a huge learning process which research teaches us and they miss out on a great opportunity to develop a multitude of skills such as critical thinking, how to write and structure your arguments, use databases, how to reference, how to give good arguments and discover new things. Since we miss out on this, it becomes hard for people to get a grasp on it when they do go into research jobs and takes them a lot of time to learn this entire process.
What exactly is Resercho and how the idea came into the mind of Parul Mehta?
While I was pursuing my post-graduation, I was required to submit essays every week, write literature reviews and submit a dissertation in order to get my degree. That’s when I started to notice that every year, students all around the world have to write so many essays, articles, dissertations, thesis, school assignments etc. or create academic projects which define their grades. A lot of hard work, time, energy and resources go into producing this work.
However, most of the academic work and projects go unnoticed and don’t even get a chance to be published anywhere. That’s why I decided to create a Platform like resercho, where students, teachers and other professionals can upload their notes, dissertations, essays, articles, videos, images, and so on to build a network and to create exposure for their work all around the world and get a chance to utilize their work and get the maximum benefits out of it.
Resercho has been relatively successful so far but a lot of similar apps exist in the market like Academia and Proquest. What sets you apart from them?
Resercho gives a platform to not just researchers and professors but more to students so that they get a chance to showcase their work and create exposure for their work. Even small assignments, projects, short essays and literature reviews which journals won’t be interested in publishing can be uploaded on our website and people can get citations on their work from people all around the world, get noticed and hired by professionals and companies and join many student groups and download study materials and notes for free. Moreover, it’s not just uploading documents, but people can upload images, videos, posts related to education and so on. It’s a Platform which makes education fun and interactive.
Can you tell us about the difficulties that you encountered in the making of Resercho and how did you overcome them? Had the thought of ever giving up come to your mind?
In the first place, I faced many difficulties while starting resercho. I come from a background of politics and International Relations, so I had no clue about the tech industry. I had to learn how to code, which was a difficult task because I had no knowledge of computer science or coding. Even in my school, I had humanities as my subject, so I was completely clueless about this field. Then creating the design of the website and making it interactive was a tough task as well.
Furthermore, when I go to universities to approach them for collaborating us, most of them do not take me seriously. They often think that I am too young and inexperienced to be doing this and a lot of my meetings just end up being lectured about how most startups fail and getting a job is a better option. I don’t really think of giving up. Giving up for me is not an option. I just try to do my best every day and so far it has been good.
Do you believe students should focus on research from the beginning or should incline their interests towards the industry?
Yes, as I mentioned above, conducting research at an early age in the form of projects, assignments and so on help you develop imperative skills which help you throughout your life. Not just in your professional life but personal life as well. Once you get in the habit of doing research work, your brain learns how to identify problems and give good innovative solutions for them, this is how you can create good business opportunities for yourself.
Since the majority of our readers consists of the youth can you tell us how do you deal when you have your share of bad days?
Everyone has their share of bad days, every business goes through its ups and downs. The best way to overcome bad days is to do something that you enjoy and something which relaxes you. I like to go to the gym it makes me feel very positive and energised. I would recommend everyone to take up some sort of physical activity because it stimulates brain chemicals which relieves stress, makes you feel happy and reduces anxiety.
You started Resercho as a postgraduate student. What was the inspiration behind creating a visionary platform like this? What exactly motivated you in work in this direction?
My own struggles that I faced as a postgraduate student motivated me to create this platform. I noticed the problems that students all around me are facing and decided to create a platform. A platform where they get a chance to showcase their work and interact with other students. University life can be very hectic. It is a very confusing time for students as they are figuring out how to build their career and which direction they should take. So, I just wanted to make their life easier by creating a platform where students can join groups of any subjects and see what other people from those fields are doing, interact with them, network with them and attain some sort of clarity about their career.
Now lastly, what are some suggestions for our readers and research scholars world-wide from Parul Mehta?
In today’s day and age, the most valuable thing you can have are skills. I would advise all the readers to focus on developing their skills. It can be any skill in their area of interest. It could be anything such as developing your communication skills, learning how to create an app or a website, cooking, dancing, etc. These skills will provide you with great employment opportunities and prepare you to start your own business or entrepreneurial ventures. Furthermore, I would recommend students to not be afraid of failure. Failure is an imperative part of your life. It teaches you a lot of good life lessons and is a stepping stone to success. So take risks in life and don’t worry about falling.
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