In a world where people aim to live with no regrets, Misstudy Founder, Yasiara Ortiz, is here to make sure your choice in undergraduate and/or graduate school is not one of them. By providing extensive guidance through the admissions process of countless institutions across the world, more students are successfully seeking out programs that fit their needs.
What is Misstudy?
Misstudy helps students get into the best undergrad and graduate programs around the world. Whether you are interested in science, business, design, or another area of focus, we help students understand what options they have all over the world. We then help them with the entire application process. A lot of people don't know how many options they have, including abroad programs. It's really interesting because it allows families with different budgets and interests to explore the world.
We have created an online platform that helps thousands of students reach their goals.
We have developed an online course that is available in different languages, including a Spanish version that recently launched. The course helps students differentiate themselves in their applications. Once students match with the right opportunity, they develop an immense professional network and reach opportunities they didn't even know existed.
I think any entrepreneur who hasn't been through a dark stage is lying. A lot of entrepreneurs start out working from home and it's easy to get disconnected.
How did Misstudy come to fruition?
Like any entrepreneur, I looked at my own experiences and wondered why something like this didn’t exist yet. When I was 17 there was no internet, so my whole room was taken over by brochures from different colleges when I was going through the decision process. It was even more complicated for me because my mom is French Colombian and my dad is from Spain, but I grew up on the upper east side in New York and went to a French High School. My dad suggested I study in London where he studied, or in Spain. My mom suggested I go to France, or stay close to her. I got really good grades and was overwhelmed by all the options, but I didn’t know which school was the right fit for me.
I traveled to London for an interview at the London School of Economics and was late because the subway ticketing process was different than in New York. It was such a headache that I remember wishing I knew someone who would tell me, “because of your personality, who you are, and what you want to do, this college is the right fit for you in terms of school, city, culture, and country.” On top of all that, I didn’t even know what I wanted to study. My parents are diplomats and work for the UN. From the outside it looked glamorous, so I thought that's what I wanted to do, but quickly realized it wasn’t for me.
After college, I graduated and started working in Finance on Wall Street. But that wasn’t the right fit for me at all. I ended up falling in love with an Italian guy and moved to Italy where I got into the fashion business. While I was having a lot of fun, I knew it wasn’t the right industry for me. One day I got a call from a University and they said they were opening an international department and liked my background. They asked me to come in for an interview and I fell in love with the opportunity. I started traveling the world and educating people on different opportunities. When I realized people were coming to me for answers on what was out there, I put two and two together and that is how Misstudy began.
What has been the most rewarding part of leading your own company?
As an entrepreneur you're on this constant roller coaster. The experience of getting to know yourself in different situations, both the pretty and the ugly, is really interesting. There is a lot of introspection. I also love the impact we're having on these kids and young adults applying to undergraduate and graduate school, respectively. For example, I had this kid graduate from MIT and he's now working with African countries to source clean water. We have another student who is now a professional magician and did a show in Las Vegas with David Copperfield and was working in the LA with Daddy Yankee. Seeing the stories of our students unfold is incredibly rewarding. I can't wait to see the impact these students have on the world.
As a solo founder, things can get lonely. Do you have any strategies to help with that?
I think any entrepreneur who hasn't been through a dark stage is lying. A lot of entrepreneurs start out working from home and it's easy to get disconnected. It's so important that you reconnect to the real world. That is why I started working at WeWork. It's really refreshing to hear other people's stories and learn about what they're going through. They might be working on something completely different, but they too have both good days and bad days.
Did you have expectations about what it would be like starting a company that varied from your experience so far?
You don't really think about it initially because suddenly you're starting your company and you're just going through your daily routine and there's so many things that are coming at you. You're just trying to keep it together and survive. One great thing in my life is being married to an entrepreneur, so he's been through this and it's been wonderful to have his support. I am not a patient person at all, and he taught me something so important; that there is never a finish line.
Do you have recommendations on resources that people can utilize if they're thinking about starting a company?
There are two podcasts that have saved my life. One of them is the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast by Amy Porterfield. She's like your ideal teacher. She's so kind and she goes step by step so it's easy and pleasant to listen to her. She's so real. Another one I really enjoy is Mind Your Business Podcast by James Wetmore. It is a little bit out there and it's not for everyone. He talks about the spiritual stuff and I actually really believe in that. I really believe that if you’re out there to help people, things will come back to you in business. He talks a lot about that mindset of the entrepreneur and the spiritual side. So, if you're feeling a little bit uncertain or doubtful and you just want to listen to something that makes you feel invigorated and positive, listen to him!