- Meera has mentored students and partnered with institutions, so she intimately understands both perspectives.
- Accessibility and inclusivity are two of the biggest challenges institutions face, and Meera is working to solve them.
- After growing up in the Middle East, studying in India and the USA and now residing in Canada, Meera’s excited to share her global experience with Adventus.io partners in Canada and beyond.
One of the greatest barriers to higher education is accessibility. No one understands this more than our new Senior Partnership Manager in Canada, Meera Seshadri. Meera joins us after working for a variety of higher education mentoring organisations, advocating education for public diplomacy, and one EdTech brand, so she brings a nuanced perspective to the table.
We spoke to her about her background, career highlights and how institutions can benefit from the Adventus.io marketplace to bring their diversity and inclusivity goals one step closer to being realised.
Can you share a bit about your background and how you made your way to Adventus.io?
I got my Ph.D. in Zoology with specialisation in neuroendocrinology from Miami University in Ohio, which took me about six and a half years to complete. During that time, I had the opportunity to mentor undergraduate students and to help prospective international students – and underrepresented American groups of high school students – make their way into the university.
At that point in time, I could clearly see the gaps and where students who are coming from outside of the United States might need support. And that’s how I actually started thinking about being involved in the higher education space. So in 2013, a year after I finished my Ph.D., I moved back to India and quickly realised that my heart wasn't in academia anymore.
I joined the Education USA Network in India at the United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF), funded by the US Department of State globally. My role in that organisation was to develop programs to promote US higher education, help accredited institutions in the US gain visibility and build brand value unbiasedly, and get students access to institutions via the information that they need to make an informed decision about their options.
And after that, I continued to freelance as a consultant and mentor, then I moved to Canada. I joined Global Study Partners (GSP) as the business development manager for North America to get my foot in the door in international student recruitment. Unlike Adventus.io which is a marketplace, GSP is a type of master agent, so I started to learn what institutions really needed and the challenges they faced.
I have both perspectives – students and institutions – plus I grew up in the Middle East, so my global experience will come into play in my new role at Adventus.io. I understand student trends as well as what institutions are looking for, so I’m well placed to match the two together to get the best outcomes for both.
Tell us about some of the most memorable highlights of the last ten years of your career?
Accessibility in education is a powerful concept but to make it actually happen takes a long time. Companies like Adventus.io are transforming the industry to make it happen faster using all technology, and it has been a passion of mine for a long time.
When I was doing my Ph.D., I knew of so many students back in India – where I finished my masters – who likely had all the brains to do what I was doing, or were even better than me, but didn’t have the means to study outside India.
So when I was at USIEF in Chennai, India, I was part of a team that launched a pilot program called the Opportunity Fund. This program was designed to support underprivileged high school students (that I mentored for 1.5 years) through the US university application process financially, and equip them with the skills necessary to compete with mainstream students for admission with full scholarship as well.
This was something really close to my heart. We were able to shortlist four students who came from broken homes or single parent families (out of 14 candidates) for the final application process. It was incredibly rewarding to see them strive an inch closer to their dreams and it was made possible because of technology, which is why I’m so excited to be working in the industry.
What are some of the challenges that you see institutions facing that you hope to help with?
EdTech is a very noisy space – there are so many different companies offering similar outcomes but with different business models. So the biggest challenge for institutions is accountability. They sign up for support but don’t hear from these other brands after that, so they don’t really know how to improve.
What excites me about joining Adventus, is that they offer institutions data that offers relevant competitor analysis to show them what’s possible. It focuses on highlighting potential problems and offering personalised solutions. In such a saturated market where institutional international student recruitment teams are often under-resourced and short of time, they need to be really targeted in their strategies.
On top of this, I often get asked how an institution can be more inclusive. How can they attract a more diverse student population? For Canadian institutions, many are oversubscribed by a certain ethnicity because those source countries have large populations. But we want to offer alternatives and broaden their reach so they can find amazing students from places they hadn’t considered before, like Cambodia or Nigeria.
What’s the most exciting part about working for a tech company that’s disrupting an industry?
Being part of a team that’s always open to new ideas is really exciting. Because we're not trying to go down the same road – we’re trying to be more efficient – we're blazing our own trail. It’s visionary and more powerful because people are always looking for new, more grounded, and sustainable solutions.
It's my first time being part of a company that's disrupting an industry with such intensity and doing it strategically, which is exciting to see where this takes us. In every team I’ve seen so far, everyone is strong in their area of expertise, which makes collaboration so much easier. I’m inspired by the work that’s been done so far and am excited to be part of the future we’re building now.