A decade-plus old education consultancy with a global presence
We are an independent education consulting company that helps applicants plan their journey at the school, college or postgraduate level. Our founders, who grew up in the US, were struck by how differences in global education systems and cultural expectations led to knowledge gaps, confusion and misconceptions among students from all over the world. They founded The Red Pen to help applicants make informed choices about global education opportunities, while providing holistic guidance to navigate complex admissions processes.
At the heart of The Red Pen is our commitment to finding the ‘best-fit’ institution for every applicant. We are committed to helping our applicants and their families by first understanding their cultural background, financial plans, long-term goals, interests, academic performance and professional expertise.
Dr. Kimberly Wright Dixit (PhD, Duke University and BA, University of California, Santa Barbara) and Namita Mehta (M.Biochem, University of Oxford) lead our 120+ member team. Our strong group of consultants come from diverse backgrounds and possess a wealth of experience from the US, UK, Canada, Europe and India. Their extensive knowledge of admissions processes, customised approach and collaborative efforts set The Red Pen apart.
At The Red Pen, we know that integrity is essential to the admissions process. Our organisation and consultants are committed to the highest ethical standards and practice respectful behaviour in interactions with our clients, their families, international institutions, admissions officers and other stakeholders. Our consultants advise within the boundaries of their expertise. We accept payment only for work contracted and do not exchange payment with university admissions offices.
Our Commitment to Diversity
Our 120+ member team at The Red Pen, known for its vast knowledge of application processes and global education opportunities, come from all over the world. We have received accolades from platforms such as JobsForHer Top 5 Companies in DivHersity (SMEs) and Top 5 DivHersity Champions (SMEs/Startups) and have been invited to exclusive group discussions on Diversity and Inclusion on platforms like LinkedIn.
We uphold international principles as a global education consultancy
Meet our Team
Our counsellors are members of prestigious international organisations like Int’ ACAC, AIGAC, IECA, IC3 and The Outreach Collective. While these memberships ensure that we adhere to the industry’s global benchmarks, they enable us to remain at the forefront of the evolving admissions landscape with updated information on university trends. This commitment to professional engagement empowers us to provide high-quality guidance that aligns seamlessly with global best practices, further enhancing our clients’ value.
What our applicants have to say
CEO & Co-founder of The Red Pen
PhD in Anthropology, Duke University;
BA in Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara
Kim has over a decade of experience as an independent education consultant. Her belief, that there is a perfect college out there for every student, guides the ethos and culture at The Red Pen. She has formerly taught anthropology and writing courses at Duke University, St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai and Stanford University. Originally from California’s Central Valley, Kim has also lived in San Francisco, New York and now calls Mumbai home.
Kim’s area of expertise is advisory services for boarding school, undergraduate and MBA applicants aspiring to study in the US, UK and Canada. She guides them on admissions strategy and application components using a structured yet flexible client-centric approach to help define and achieve personal success. She is a member of the International Association of College Admission Counseling (Int’ ACAC), Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC) and a professional member of the Independent Education Consultants Association (IECA).
Kim has co-authored the book Acing Admissions: The International Student’s Comprehensive Guide to U.S. College Admissions, the second version published in 2020. She has also been a featured writer for ET Panache, Hindustan Times, Mumbai Mirror, HT Brunch, The Mint, Indian Express and more.
If Kim weren’t an academic counsellor, she would be …
a social worker or humanitarian aid worker.
If she could invent a major, it would be …
Human Connections (an interdisciplinary subject between history, literature, psychology, anthropology).
If Kim wrote her autobiography, it would be titled …
Lessons on Blooming Where You’re Planted
M.Biochem in Biochemistry, University of Oxford;
Namita established and led the University Guidance Counseling Department at B.D. Somani International School, Mumbai. At The Red Pen, Namita assists students in planning their educational journey, while also building a talented team and evaluating quality partners to expand our reach for students. She also specialises in training applicants for the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge interview process. Namita currently resides in Mumbai and has lived in Hong Kong, the UK and Germany.
Namita believes education creates impactful change and global citizens who appreciate different cultures. While she works with plenty of Ivy League and Oxbridge admits, her goal is to guide students to find their best-fit institution so that they are happy, thrive and achieve their long-term goals.
As a thought leader, Namita has spoken on several panels, including those organised by HSBC, Ashoka University, O.P. Jindal Global University, International Career & College Counselling (IC3) Network and more. She shares her expertise through a column in the Mid-Day and has been a featured writer for ET Panache, Hindustan Times, The Mint, Mumbai Mirror, HT Brunch, Indian Express, The Tribune, Businessworld and others.
If Namita wasn’t an academic counsellor, she would be …
a biochemist, discovering the cure for COVID-19!
Namita thinks college is for …
growing, learning and forging lifelong friendships.
Namita would like to save the world by …
impacting education policy, such that the future of the country cares about the environment, is less selfish and has an increased civic sense.
Manager, MBA services
MBA, Columbia Business School;
Chartered Accountant, The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India;
BCom in Commerce and Economics, University of Mumbai
Preeti Wadekar is a certified Career, Executive & Life Coach. Before The Red Pen, Preeti had over 15 years of corporate and international business experience, working with Ernst & Young, Siemens and KPMG. She has traveled to, worked in and led teams across 25 countries including the US, Singapore, Hong Kong, UK, Germany, France, Chile, Brazil and more, enabling her to work seamlessly with a culturally diverse clientele.
Preeti’s expertise includes behavioural change management & communications, learning & development, talent management and leadership development. She brings this expertise to The Red Pen where she works with high potential entry-level executives on their MBA admissions to Top 15 programmes in the US and Europe. She has worked with over 350 clients across 40+ industries.
She is passionate about leadership development and how self-awareness, mindfulness and authenticity can impact personal productivity and performance. She encourages applicants to dig deep so that their insights can be transformed into meaningful stories that set them apart.
Students love Preeti because….
she’s invested in them.
Preeti’s is currently reading….
The Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhiani
Manager, PG services
MA in Counselling Psychology, University of Mumbai;
BA in Psychology, Sophia College
Tripti Singh is an educational psychologist with 14+ years of experience in counselling and career guidance. Tripti has extensive knowledge of the liberal arts higher education landscape within India and specialises in supporting master’s and PhD applications to leading universities globally.
Tripti has guided over 1,700 students, which has enabled her to develop some unique and invaluable insights She specialises in developing a detailed education roadmap for high school and college students. With numerous university visits over the years and a seat at IECA’s Global Committee, US, she is constantly updated with the changes in international education.
She often conducts workshops as a subject area expert, along with panel discussions. One of these was a panel of coveted social science experts from various parts of the world to discuss the future of social sciences with an engaged Mumbai audience. She has also been invited to speak on career opportunities at prestigious colleges such St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, NMIMS, Sophia College for Women and a government-run school aided by the Myna Mahila Foundation.
If Tripti could invent a major, it would be….
Parenting 101 (with a thesis required to graduate).
The question she gets the most as a counsellor…
“Will I get a job after I study XXXXX?”
Manager, UG services
Certified College Consultant & Independent Education
Consultant, UCLA Extension;
Diploma in Interior Design, Sophia Polytechnic College;
BCom in Economics and Entrepreneurship, University of Mumbai
With over a decade of experience as an entrepreneur and an interior designer, Sheetal Vora applies her problem-solving and design thinking approach to find innovative ways to help students plan their education.
Sheetal leads the undergraduate team at The Red Pen and has visited over 50 global university and boarding school campuses, while also networking with admission officers. Sheetal has worked with families from the US, UK, Canada, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Europe, Pakistan, India and more and has assisted with over 1,500 university applications globally. Even in the pandemic, she and her team experienced one of the most successful acceptance rates with over INR 50 crores in scholarships and financial aid. Additionally, as Sheetal has navigated the application process as a parent herself (her son is currently pursuing his undergraduate studies at Claremont Mckenna College), she strongly resonates with the importance of identifying the ‘best-fit’ university for her students.
Sheetal believes that every student has a unique narrative and works with them to present the best version of themselves in their university applications. She regularly connects with other counsellors and student forums to guide multiple education topics and trains new counsellors so they can inspire their students to make better choices.
Sheetal would tell her student self….
to keep experimenting, nurture your drive and develop a lifelong learning mindset.
adaptable is the new “cool.”
Manager, UG services
BS in Management Science, The University of Manchester;
A-levels, Kirby Lodge, Cambridge
Mehnaz Jaffer grew up in the United Kingdom and worked as a college counsellor for a British firm. She successfully went through the entire application process with her son, who is currently studying at Carnegie Mellon University, before joining The Red Pen. This gave her the experience required to navigate the admissions process, the ability to understand the importance of choosing the right college and the empathy to help each student with the challenges of admissions.
Under Mehnaz’s guidance at The Red Pen, more than 500 students have gained admits to some of the most prestigious colleges globally. She has also visited over 40 colleges in the US, Netherlands & UK and has successfully worked on applications to over 120 unique colleges.
Understanding each student’s journey and helping them carve the right career path gives Mehnaz a sense of fulfilment. She is committed to her students’ success; compassionate not only about their thoughts, feelings, and emotions, but also about their actions and solutions.
influenced by The Aga Khan’s teachings that focus on the importance of education.
She thinks college is for…
helping students become citizens of the world.
Manager, Institutional services
PGD in Tourism Management, IMS Ghaziabad;
PGD in Marketing Management, NMIMS;
BA in Psychology, University of Delhi;
Welham Girls’ School, Dehradun
Having studied psychology at the undergraduate level and management for her postgraduate studies, Shikha Dhar is an expert at 1-1 communication. An academic gold medalist herself, she understands the importance of creative pursuits and hobbies such as music, art, dance.
Shikha specialises in helping students apply to all majors and liberal arts universities in India and Singapore, Canada, Europe, the UK AND US. She has also served as the University Counselor for The British School Caracas (Venezuela), where in addition to helping students with their applications to countries all over the world and guiding their letters of recommendation, she worked extensively on improving the school’s processes. She is currently the Head University Counsellor at DSB International School, Mumbai. Having worked with a diverse student body comprising 20 nationalities and 200 students, Shikha has guided around 2,000+ applications, all of which have got admits from their top 5 choices.
Shikha has travelled to Doha (invited by Northwestern Qatar) and attended both virtual and in-person IACAC conferences, webinars and online sessions hosted by over 100 colleges and universities.
If Shikha wasn’t an academic counsellor, she would be…
an agony aunt.
The weirdest question she’s been asked as a college
“Will I be happy?”
Manager, Boarding School services
MBA, University of Mumbai;
BA in Economics, University of Mumbai
With over a decade of experience in career counselling, Aarti Anand draws on her background of working as a counsellor for Childline, UK and her vast experience as a corporate trainer to help applicants explore their calibre on their own terms. Aarti is also a certified trainer for psychometric tools such as MBTI and FIRO-B. Previously, she has worked as a banker at ANZ Grindlays Bank and founded a career planning venture, CompassOne.
Having navigated the UK boarding school application space with her son, who graduated from Sevenoaks School, Aarti also gained a lot of hands-on experience with the UK undergraduate admissions process when her sons applied and secured admits to The London School of Economics and Imperial College London.
Aarti truly believes that there is a ‘right fit’ boarding school for everyone and uses this philosophy to help each applicant. Her unique ability to connect with applicants and families on a personal level is what allows her to understand where they would thrive, setting her apart from the rest.
Aarti would tell her student self…
to explore and be brave!
Aarti would like to save the world by …
Manager, Pre-College Advising services
BSc in Business Management, Cass Business School
Nainika has spent most of her career at The Red Pen and has grown to head the Pre-College Advising service line. Over the last five years, Nainika has created a global network of 150+ partners and student forums ranging in programmes for coding to art, dance, skiing and even summer schools at top global colleges and boarding schools. In 2020 she introduced our flagship Summer Programs Fair, which brought together over 35 Indian and global institutions, with over 800 attendees. In 2021, the fair was virtual with 2,000+ registrations and 30+ partner institutions.
As a mentor, Nainika guides students from grade 8 onwards on building their profile in their formative years and works closely with them to understand their passions, interests and academic inclinations. She offers them a wide variety of enrichment options, allowing students to be robust applicants when applying to university. She has advised a diverse group of students from 25+ countries and has helped with applications to the US, UK, Europe and Southeast Asia.
Nainika has assisted 500+ students through The Red Pen’s exclusive mentorship programme, and all of them have been admitted to leading global universities. She actively volunteered for Akanksha and Senior Citizen Care Taker Services and completed internships at Alvarez and Marshal, and Percept.
The question Nainika is asked most often as a
“How can I build my profile to be a competitive applicant to top global universities?”
Her students love her because…
she’s accessible and listens.
Manager, Business Development
MA in English Language and Literature, Gurunanak Dev
BA in Philosophy, Lady Shri Ram College for Women;
BEd, Chaudhary Charan Singh University
Having spent over 20 years in the education sector, as a teacher, academic head and then principal, Pooja Ram Jain’s history of working with students and parents gives her a unique insight into what they are looking for in an education consultant. Pooja has worked extensively towards creating academic curriculums.
Pooja also worked as the Country Head for Swiss Education Group, where she was responsible for building brand awareness and developing a business plan that helped with direct student recruitment. In addition, she has also led a variety of academic and non-academic teams towards success.
As the Business Head, Pooja aims to impact all the service lines at The Red Pen. Her natural flair for Business Development combined with her vast experience in the education space proves to be a game-changer, enabling her to understand the changing face of education practices effectively.
If Pooja didn’t work with The Red Pen, she would be…
a journalist or someone in the media.
The title of Pooja’s autobiography would be…
I did it my way!
Chief Marketing Officer
Kavita has 20+ years of experience in marketing and communications at large companies and start-ups in the Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America. She has held leadership roles at the Royal Bank of Scotland as the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer - India, J.P. Morgan as the Country Head of Marketing, Corporate Communications & CSR Programmes, India, and most recently at HSBC as Country Head of Corporate Communications. Kavita has lived in the US, working at Silicon Valley technology companies such as Symantec, IronPort Systems, McAfee Inc., Della & James.com, and Apple Computer. She has won the Top 25 CMO award from the Global CMO Council 2014, the Global Women Leadership Award, and the World Women Leadership Congress & Awards 2014. Kavita has also co-authored and published an exclusive coffee table book with Sachin Tendulkar for the Royal Bank of Scotland. At The Red Pen, she leads the marketing team, bringing her expertise in corporate communications, media outreach, internal communications, digital marketing and growth strategy. Kavita isn't churning out marketing strategies, she is… A meditation coach, an artist and a mom of two teens. If Kavita could give one piece of advice to students, it would be… Do not give up on your passion while choosing your academic path.
Head - Sales, Marketing and BD MBA Services
Executive program in Management, Columbia Business School;
Women Entrepreneurship Development Programme, Indian School of Business;
Bcom in Commerce, Jiwaji University
Manik Bhargava is a sales, marketing and business development leader with 20 years of experience in the education sector and 10 years in global education advisory. She has managed cross-functional and cross-border teams with core competencies across Sales, Operations, Customer Retention and Loyalty, as well as Quality and Training.
Before joining The Red Pen, Manik successfully set up an ed-tech company’s global education consulting vertical and led a team of consultants and advisors across the US and Latin America, the UK, MENA and APAC. She has consulted around 500 applicants from India and around the world, helping them secure admissions into Harvard University, The Wharton Business School, Columbia Business School, MIT and Kellogg School of Management, among others.
Some of her philanthropic work includes being a mentor with the Cherie Blair Foundation and a volunteer with Teach India. She has also partnered with the National Skill Development Corporation (a Government of India initiative) to implement skill development programmes in financial literacy.
If Manik weren’t an academic consultant, she would be…
a car rally driver
Students love Manik because…
she’s candid with them
The title of Manik’s autobiography would be….