Student Voices: Akhilesh Khakhar Wants to Teach the World How to Study
Akhilesh Khakhar has a planner with his entire day scheduled. Not unusual for a high school senior, but absolutely necessary for anyone balancing school and spearheading a thriving app. Akhilesh is a Babson Summer Study ’16 alum and we are blown away by everything he has accomplished including creating PrepUP, an SAT and ACT preparation app that gamifies studying through head-to-head matches with peers. We had a chance to catch up with him about life as a teenage entrepreneur.
An idea that needed to be shouted from the rooftop.
It was a cold winter morning. Akhilesh Khakhar was walking to high school when he slipped on ice and was knocked out by a blow to the head. He was diagnosed with a severe concussion. He returned to school, but something was different:
“When I started school again, I realized that my concussion heavily impacted how I studied and learned. Homework took much longer. Determined to study effectively again, I extensively researched the behavioral science behind learning.”
Through his personal experience of recovery, Ahkilesh realized that by combining competition and learning collaboratively, he was able to recall, remember, and learn. “Knowing that exam preparation is a problem that challenges millions of students worldwide led me to apply this experience to develop PrepUP: The New SAT and ACT Prep Platform.”
Launching a business in high school.
When it comes to bringing his A-game to the classroom and the boardroom, how does Akhilesh manage to find time for both?
“I love managing and growing my business, so it doesn’t seem like work,” shares Ahkilesh, “I’m just doing what I love; that is the beauty of entrepreneurship.” Akhilesh’s biggest piece of advice for starting a business is to educate yourself. He’s clocked over 130 hours of online courses on app development, marketing, and the educational tech app market.
Oh, and never let age hold you back. “Your age can actually help—people want to help young entrepreneurs,” says Akhilesh. “There are so many resources available to students looking to start their own business. Just get started, create a minimum viable product, and run with it.”
A day in the life of Summer Study.
Akhilesh attended Babson College’s Summer Study for High School Students in 2016. Surrounded by young, entrepreneurial-minded high school students from around the globe, there were a lot of takeaways for him. “Summer Study taught me disciplined entrepreneurship,” says Akhilesh, a mindset beyond learning the basic principles of business. “I learned how to work effectively with and be a leader in a team. I use this valuable skill every day because almost all projects and business decisions involve teamwork and leadership.”
Beyond classes, the residential life of Summer Study held favorite memories: “I still miss ordering Dominoes and staying up almost all night constantly iterating the business model alongside my team,” recalls Akhilesh. If it all had to be summed up in three words: “Eye-opening, passionate, stimulating.”
Taking the Babson Boston Cup to New York.
PrepUP has been listed in the Top 5 Education Apps in several countries, and Akhilesh recently landed the i.Invest National Youth Entrepreneur of the Year and was recognized in Crain’s New York Business 20 Under 20. In April, Akhilesh returned to Babson College to compete in the Babson Boston Cup, and for the first time in the Cup’s history, the trophy left the state to reside in Fort Green, Brooklyn.
Doing good is good for business.
This past summer, Akhilesh created the online PrepUP: The New SAT and ACT Prep Platform, which works alongside the iOS app and uses artificial intelligence to create personalized practice tests and lesson plans for users to focus study efforts and eliminate weaknesses.
And what’s next for Akhilesh? “I am partnering with the biggest test preparation company in Southern Florida to create the ultimate SAT and ACT prep service, combining the iOS app, online platform, and a team of virtual tutors.” He then added, “for each student we tutor with this new service, we’ll provide free tutoring to a student who cannot afford high end private tutoring.”
Akhilesh strives to eliminate the educational disparity with test preparation materials through this new hybrid strategy: “Overcoming the concussion stimulated within me the fire to immerse myself fully into the business world. My greatest ambition is to make impactful change and to solve societal problems through entrepreneurship. This is how I choose to define myself.”
To learn more about PrepUp: The New SAT and ACT Prep Platform, visit: www.PrepUpApp.com
Check out the PrepUp App in iTunes (Link to app: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/prepup-the-new-sat-act-app/id1210613323?mt=8)