About Avanti

Avanti Fellows is a not-for-profit organization founded in December 2009 in Mumbai India. In June 2010, the first Avanti Fellows (Grade X students at coaching classes and current students at IIT Bombay) will be paired with mentors and provided necessary financial aid. Over the next year, Avanti will study the progress our fellows make and work to refine and improve the student mentor interactions. Over the next two years, we aim to expand the reach of the Avanti Fellows program across the IITs and beyond.

Avanti's mission is to ensure that every bright and motivated high-school student in India should have access to a top quality undergraduate education and the means to leverage this education to its greatest potential

At the beginning of Grade XI, each Avanti Fellow is paired with a dedicated mentor and enrolled in a partnering coaching class. Avanti Mentors guide fellows through entrance exam preparation, help coordinate financial aid and act as guides and sounding boards through the student’s transition from high school to professional life. A mentor-fellow relationship can last up to six years. Mentors play an important role in measuring student performance and assessing educational, emotional and financial needs. Mentors also help provide continual feedback, helping the program improve each year.

Student mentor interactions are facilitated by Avanti’s online mentorship platform. The platform records student-mentor conversations, logs reports and helps track academic performance. The platform is critical to monitoring the quality and frequency of mentor-fellow interactions. Additionally, the platform allows Avanti Fellows to reach out to a larger network of advisors that include alumni and prominent members of the industry and academia.

Avanti Mentor programs are student run. Avanti fellows are assigned to Avanti Core Teams (ACTs) at the closest participating undergraduate institute. ACTs are volunteer organizations at each institute involving professors, students and alumni. Avanti works with the ACTs to manage alumni outreach, mentor recruitment and fundraising for all associated fellows. ACTs work with the institute alumni organization to cover the financial expenses of fellows through a combination of alumni funded fellowships and low-interest loans.

The ACT operating model allows Avanti to minimize overheads and create a sense of belonging and ownership among current students directed towards improving the lives of those less privileged than them. ACTs make Avanti’s business model scalable and sustainable.

Founding Team

Vaibhav Devanathan,
Undergraduate Student, IIT Bombay
vaibhav[at]avantifellows.org
Vaibhav served as the General Secretary Academic Affairs and was editor of the college paper InsIghT. He has also served as a Student Mentor for two years focusing on improving the academic mentorship available to weak students within a particular Academic Department. He is currently working full time on making Avanti possible.

Akshay Saxena,
Graduate Student, Harvard Business School
akshay[at]avantifellows.org
Before HBS, Akshay worked as a consultant with the Boston Consulting Group in India and on project implementation with the United Nations World Food Programme. Most recently, he worked with The International Save the Children Alliance as part of the International fundraising team at the Secretariat in London. Akshay graduated from IIT Bombay in 2006 with a degree in Chemical Engineering.

Rohit Singh,
Undergraduate Student, IIT Bombay
rohit[at]avantifellows.org
Rohit is a student of Computer Science and Engineering at IIT Bombay. He's currently involved in research in Algorithms and Discrete mathematics. Rohit is a member of the Special Academic Task Force at IIT Bombay, a group of students that seeks to bring about long-lasting systemic improvements. He serves as the CIO for Avanti.

Krishna Ramkumar,
Associate, The Boston Consulting Group
krishna[at]avantifellows.org
Krishna is an Associate with the Boston Consulting Group in Mumbai, India. At IIT Bombay, Krishna was the head of the Institute Student Mentor Program and editor of InsIght, the student newspaper. Krishna graduated from IIT Bombay in 2008 with a degree in Chemistry.