-Autar Nehru (Delhi)
Rahul Subramaniam and Poshak Agarwal are co-founders of Athenaeum Jupiter Pvt. Ltd (AJP, estb.2013), a Gurugram-based study abroad coaching-cum-consultancy facilitating student undergrad admissions into premier universities in 11 countries including the US, UK, and Canada under its brand Athena Education. Currently, AJP has one coaching centre each in Gurugram, Mumbai and Bengaluru in which over 100 faculty coach and mentor high-school students to qualify for admission into American Ivy League and other elite universities worldwide.
Newspeg. This year AJP crossed a milestone with 700 students being admitted into prestigious global higher ed institutions including Yale, Stanford, Caltech, Chicago, Duke, Carnegie Mellon and Johns Hopkins universities.
History. Subramaniam met Agarwal at Princeton University where both graduated one year apart and returned to India to promote AJP in December 2013. While Subramaniam was born and schooled in the US, Agarwal finished his schooling at DPS R.K. Puram, where he was an academic topper winning an exclusive scholarship for the Stanford SUMaC summer program. This summer school stint earned him a 100 percent scholarship at Stanford and Princeton. He chose the latter.
With reference to his decision to move bag and baggage to India when most people want to go the other way, Subramaniam says it was the “best professional decision of his life.” “India has a vibrant startup ecosystem and also hosts the world’s largest population of children and youth. We discerned a strong demand among students to study abroad. Simultaneously, there was a significant lacuna in professional, high-quality coaching and mentoring to prepare Indian students for admission into good universities. This awareness prompted us to promote AJP ten years ago,” says Subramaniam, who recalls that the company’s first office was established in the basement of his Gurugram home.
In 2015, the company welcomed its first batch of 10 students, which has since averaged to 100 per year. Three years later in 2018, the company’s first resource centre was inaugurated in Gurugram to provide a range of services including assistance with applications, essay editing, portfolio preparation among others. The following year, AJP expanded its services to include the Ivy Strategy Program for class IX students upward, specifically providing guidance to students aspiring for admission into Ivy League universities.
Direct talk. “Athena Education’s USP is our expertise to empower students to transcend their school curriculums, acquire necessary life skills, and prepare powerful admission profiles. In our uniquely designed personal mentorship programme, our faculty guide students through the applications process, and help them craft admission essays. Moreover, through our Knowledge Center helmed by professionals from diverse industries, students can sign up for certified courses and immersive learning to add depth and value to their admission applications,” says Agarwal, who adds that recently a member of the Harvard Admissions Committee came aboard the company as advisor. Tuition fees range between Rs.5-6 lakh per year.
Future plans. Thus far, AJP/Athena Education has adopted a B2C model by providing customised services to students. Now with the company having established itself as one of the country’s leading education abroad consultancies, several schools have contacted it for institutional services. “This is something we are keen to explore. Whether it’s B2C or B2B, we are committed to qualifying students for securing admissions into universities of their choice worldwide,” says Subramaniam.