Neha Gupta, an Entrepreneur That is Helping Students Achieve Their Dreams

Neha Gupta is a two time best-selling author, top 100 teen expert, speaker, and minority female business owner. Over the last 12 years she has built both Elite Private Tutors and College Shortcuts, both with a mission to serve families and make parents’ lives easier every day. Gupta’s businesses serve families globally with an audience of over 1.1 million parents worldwide listening and reading her work. She has spoken on corporate and school stages such as UCLA, KPMG, Rice University, and has impacted over 77,000 students in the last 12 years through her passion to inspire the youth.

We spoke to Gupta about her entrepreneurial journey, from changing the education system from the inside out,to the incredible achievement of building a school in Kenya. 

Her Campus: How did College Shortcuts start out – as a social entrepreneur, what was the “ground zero” you were building from?

Neha Gupta: I was fifteen years old and my school had a program where we volunteered at a lower income school to tutor elementary students. I remember going to the school and tutoring students in dance and art and realizing how much I enjoyed it. While the focus primarily was to help the students, I felt like I was receiving so much in return. Years later, I decided as a part-time job in college to start tutoring, and it all started with one student. I ended up working with her on time management, motivation, finding her passion, and ultimately being a mentor. I couldn’t believe I was getting paid to do this, because it was so much fun and I was creating an impact. It definitely didn’t follow the doctor, lawyer, engineer formula most South Asian females are force-fed. From there, College Shortcuts was born and over the last 12 years, it has turned into a global educational firm that now pairs mentors and consultants with teenagers all over the world.

HC: How would you define College Shortcuts’ mission?

NG: College Shortcuts’ mission is to help make parents' lives easier by turning students from super achievers to super human beings through tutoring, test prep, mentorship, and college admissions. We help students get into the college of their dreams. 

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Neha Gupta representing College Shortcuts

HC: How did your own personal experience inform your motivation to create College Shortcuts?

NG: When I was in high school, I had an experience with my high school guidance counselor that was extremely frustrating. I was a top student, did tons of extracurriculars, and had a lot to offer at the ripe age of 17. At the time, I felt like a complete and utter failure. I decided to take matters into my own hands, and ended up getting into all the schools I wanted, tons of scholarships, and eventually spoke at my high school graduation - all of my goals and dreams came true. Today, there are 3.3 million students that need this type of help because guidance counselors do not spend the time they need with students. The education system is broken.

HC: Something we were interested in was your activism in Kenya. How would you say your international aid work is connected to your work in the college consulting field?

NG: Not only are we helping teenagers get into their dream colleges, just in the last year, I recently built a school in Africa with Village Impact in Nicaru, Kenya. I traveled to Africa in August this year and it was life changing. I now have the vision of taking teenagers and getting them involved in contribution at a deeper level and building over 100 schools in the next 10 years.

HC: What advice would you have for other minority women in the social entrepreneurship field? 

NG: Entrepreneurship is a marathon not a sprint.

Early on in my entrepreneurship journey, all I did was sleep, eat, breathe my company — and yes, there are still times I do this even today. I have realized that entrepreneurship is a marathon not a sprint. It is much more powerful if you ENJOY yourself during this journey and realize that you will learn as you go.

HC: Do you have any advice for minority women in college? What do you think makes their experiences different from other women or from white men?

NG: This quote is highly relevant to what I believe for all of us.

“If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always gotten.” –Tony Robbins

This quote is highly relevant every time I am dissatisfied in any area of my life. I start to look closely and see what are the patterns, who do I need to get involved to help me take it to the next level. I always believe I am 2 millimeters off from my goal, and if that is the case, I have to change my behavior to get the success I want in any area of my life — and many times, it involves a coach. I think their experience is absolutely different because they are having to work twice as hard. Trust me, I am living proof.

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Neha Gupta proving that entrepreneurship can look fabulous. 

HC: What’s one of your proudest moments from your professional experience? 

NG: Building my school in Kenya.

HC: In turn, what was one of hardest moments from your professional experience?

NG: Remember daily why you became an entrepreneur.

It is easy to lose sight of why you became an entrepreneur. I focus heavily on this on a daily basis: I grew up with two entrepreneurs that worked all the time. And, I do believe it is EASY to get stuck in the workaholic trap of entrepreneurship because no one is there to tell you to stop working, especially if you work from home. Instead, I have learned to set boundaries with myself, because one of my main reasons was to enjoy life more and have a flexible schedule. And so, it is so pertinent for me to take a moment and enjoy. I recently wrote about this in my TEDx talk, “Is Achievement Killing Us?” that launches in December.

HC: We’ll end on a fun one. If you could tell your younger self one thing, let’s say your self from college, what would it be? 

NG: Slow down and enjoy the stillness of life.

To read more about Neha Gupta's entrepreneurial check out her site: collegeshortcuts.com