Harshit Singhal is a graduate of Genesis Global School in Noida, India and the founder and CEO of Nail IB, an EdTech organization that provides resources for IB students. We sat down with Harshit for this Q&A to find out how his IB experience and interest in data technology inspired him to venture into the education industry while he was a university student.
There is a tradition of IB alumni who choose to dedicate their careers to the EdTech sector. This post is not intended to be an endorsement of any product or service, but we are proud to continue to highlight the stories of alumni who dedicate their careers to education. Read other stories like this here.
Tell us a little about yourself! What are your aspirations, hobbies and interests?
Harshit Singhal: I am excited by the impact that tech can have on this world. Not only can it reduce the use of paper and push us towards sustainable living, but it can also help those in need by making education more accessible. Therefore, I aspire to develop high quality tech products in the field of education that would ultimately ease the life of many.
I am immensely interested in machine learning and am one of those who think that data is the new oil. Thus, I am always working towards honing my data science skills. Lately, the role of artificial intelligence in the modern society has caught my attention, so I am also dedicating a significant amount of time into incorporating AI in my projects. When I am tired of looking at my screen, I like to go on solo trips and travel any place possible.
What inspired your entrepreneurial ventures?
“My main motivation was seeing an exponential growth of people finding value in my tools”.
I took the IGCSE in year nine & 10, wherein I enrolled myself into a subject called enterprise and ran a t-shirt customization business. We sold over 120 custom designed t-shirts and generated over $800 in profits over a span of four months. The money was later donated to developing an in-house sanitary napkin making machine as our school’s Round Square initiative. While I was going through the rigorous IB curriculum, I always intended to invest a couple of hours of my day learning and practicing some or the other high-level computer science related skills. I wanted to develop a technology that would ultimately impact the lives of people all across the world. To do so, I ended up enrolling myself into the University of Sydney to further develop my skill set as a Full Stack Software Engineer. Having these skill sets allowed me to work on Nail IB and develop a platform for IB students to prepare better for their IB diploma.
How were you able to turn an idea into a fully-fleshed business?
It is always one step at a time. What started as a, ‘side hustle’, quickly took shape of a full-time business. I think it is all about your intention. I always intended to become a better version of myself. Every skill that I learned needed practice. In my opinion, the best way to practice is implementation. That is exactly how Nail IB was born. Once I realized that my project can actually help people, I was determined to make it work.
While I was enrolled in the IB Diploma Programme (DP), I always felt a lack of study material and practice papers, as my cohort was the first IB batch at our school, we didn’t have access to the right study material at the right time. I had a lot of difficulty preparing for my theory of knowledge (TOK) presentation and writing a good extended essay. This was the motivation behind Nail IB, which is now known for providing quality study material to IB students all across the world.
This project demanded a lot of scarifies and commitment. My main motivation was seeing an exponential growth of people finding value in my tools. Nail IB’s ‘Take A Test’ module makes it stand out from other IB resource websites. Take A Test is a customized question bank, which helps student evaluate their knowledge. Their results are stored online and allows them to track their progress each time they take a test.
Lastly, Nail IB has a very strong presence on various social media platforms (especially on Instagram). This allows students to seek help even when they are not really studying. On an average, we have over 100 students interact with Nail IB’s Instagram handle and clarify their doubts. The casual tone of social media allows students to initiate a conversation and ask us something as simple as if a certain topic for a particular assignment is, “IB worthy”. You can find more information about our resources for the extended essay, TOK and course specific materials here.
Nail IB’s vision is to support the IB Community, where students from all across the world can help each other out by exchanging their notes, ideas and solving their doubts together.
What key challenges or obstacles did you face when starting up your venture?
“IB helped me lay a foundation for my start-up”.
Initially, it was also hard to find industry mentors. I tried asking for help, but it was difficult for me to get the support I needed, so I decided to take my own initiative. Overcoming these challenges took persistence and patience. Once I started putting the effort, things started to align on its own. I started networking and sharing my idea in start-up events and Hackathons. This helped me create a community that was able to support me on my journey.
What skills from your IB education have supported the work in your start-up venture and in your career?
IB helped me lay a foundation for my start-up. The DP taught me how to break down and achieve my most ambitious goals. It also made me a holistic thinker, which allowed me to weigh all the aspects of my new venture. Time management is one essential thing that is required to maintain a side business while pursuing your bachelor’s degree and having a part-time job. Thanks to the DP, I learned this skill at such a young age. Lastly, as a global scholar through the IB, I was urged to look at the bigger picture and do something on a global platform.
What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?
Every entrepreneur has his or her own story. However, I believe that one should start as early as possible. Often, when we over discuss a new venture, we have to filter out the opinions of the people who cannot see the big picture. By keeping your idea in a limited circle of your stakeholders, you can be assured that you will get the right support. The reason for this is not secrecy, rather it is to give your idea the right energy.
Harshit Singhal is the founder & CEO at Nail IB. Having earned a B.Sc. in computer science from The University of Sydney in 2020, Harshit wanted to use his skills to help the IB Community. Ergo, he started Nail IB, which is an EdTech company giving better resources for IB Students all across the world.
To hear more from Diploma Programme (DP) graduates check out these IB programme stories. If you are an IB grad and want to share your story, write to us at email@example.com. We appreciate your support in sharing IB stories and invite you to connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter Instagram and YouTube!