EdTech: Burcin Advani of Best Parents On How Their Technology Will Make An Important Positive Impact On Education

Authority Magazine Editorial Staff
Authority Magazine
Published in
9 min readJun 12, 2024

There will always be bugs, so you will need hugs: Creating a new technology does not happen overnight; it requires patience, passion, and dedication. Make sure you have a supportive team behind you.

In recent years, Big Tech has gotten a bad rep. But of course, many tech companies are doing important work making monumental positive changes to society, health, and the environment. To highlight these, we started a new interview series about “Technology Making An Important Positive Social Impact”. We are interviewing leaders of tech companies who are creating or have created a tech product that is helping to make a positive change in people’s lives or the environment. In this particular installment, we are talking to leaders of Education Technology companies, who share how their tech is helping to improve our educational system. As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Burçin Advani.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) from Uludag University, Burçin Advani studied in London, gaining an international certificate in English teaching. She then spent time as an English teacher in Bursa, Turkey. In 2014, Burçin founded York Education Solutions, a premier study abroad consultancy and IELTS-TOEFL coaching center based in Istanbul. Her passion for innovation also led her to co-found Good Parents, offering local short courses in Istanbul via an app. After moving to the United States in 2020, she launched Best Parents in California. This visionary startup empowers students through summer school programs and personalized consultancy, significantly impacting the educational field.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory and how you grew up?

As a child, I lived in a beautiful, cozy, close-knit community called Karamursel in Turkey. However, after a devastating earthquake in 1999, the town was shattered and largely destroyed, and as a result, my high school years became extremely difficult. Unfortunately, I lost some of my friends due to the tragedy, and my teachers often struggled to bring positive energy to the classroom as they were also suffering similar losses.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

My ultimate goal is to do what I can to improve children’s futures, help them become as prepared as possible for college, and allow them to realize where their strengths are. One of the most impactful moments of my career was receiving a thank you note from a student who thought their passion was to pursue a career in medicine but, after attending a biology camp, realized it wasn’t truly what he wanted. Instead, the student decided to pursue a career in business, which ultimately brought him a great deal of satisfaction and success. Knowing I played a small role in helping him find his path in life makes all the hard work I undertake every day absolutely worth it.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My cousin, Ozkan, a successful CEO of a restaurant chain, supported me by signing up to take lessons from me when I opened my English-language tutoring business in Turkey, despite the fact that he actually knew the language well and really did not need the lessons. Ozkan was there to help me grow my business, and for that I will be forever grateful. Additionally, Ozkan gave me tremendous insights on how to run a successful business and also taught me web development. I often think back to Ozkan’s kindness and the countless hours he spent mentoring me over the years, which has enabled me to become the successful business owner that I am today.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Every day is a new day.” When I launched my first business, an English-language tutoring company, I waited every day for nearly six weeks with the same excitement for students to sign up for lessons, but no one came. I was beginning to doubt my ability to be successful, but then a student arrived and purchased 100 hours of private lessons after explaining his struggle to learn English. Six months later, this student passed his English exam, thanks to our tutoring sessions. This led to numerous referrals and was the catalyst for us to expand our business and help hundreds of students further their education.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

I had several wonderful role models growing up that I still look up to today. They all taught me the importance of passion, pushing yourself, and hard work.

Passion: My mom was a leader at a non-profit organization geared toward women and children. I saw the motivation she had, and her passion truly shined through her work. She taught me the importance of loving what you do in order to be successful.

Pushing yourself: My English-language teachers at high schools taught us to educate ourselves by listening to tapes in English or watching English television shows. They encouraged female students to look past their small-town lives, step out of their comfort zones, and attend universities, something that was not common where and when I was growing up.

Hard work and dedication: My grandfather opened his fabric shop at 7:30 a.m. every morning for many years. He taught me the importance of hard work in order to be a successful business owner. When I was seven years old, I visited his store and watched him interact with customers. He gave each of them his undivided attention, treated them with respect, and as a result, developed an extremely loyal clientele.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about the tech tools that you are helping to create that can make a positive social impact on our educational systems. To begin, what problems are you aiming to solve?

Before Best Parents was launched two years ago, there was no easy way to match high school students with the program that best fits their extracurricular needs. In fact, over 12 million parents worldwide often spend up to five weeks painstakingly searching for the best camp or academic program for their teenagers to attend. I am proud to say that Best Parents has changed all that!

How do you think your technology can address this?

Now, with the help of artificial intelligence (AI), parents can search by location, field of interest, and age of their child to find the best program for their child. Additionally, Best Parents offers parents access to expert counselors who provide individualized attention and guidance to find the right camp or program for their child. Since its inception, Best Parents has been helping more than 300 families in nearly 70 countries to find the most elite resume-building programs that enable their teens to compete in today’s highly competitive college admissions process.

How do you think your technology might change the world?

The competition to get into top colleges today is becoming increasingly difficult every year. In most cases, students need much more than just a 4.0 GPA to get accepted to elite universities; they also need impressive extracurricular programs and experiences.

Our technology is changing the world of education by helping students become as prepared as possible for their higher education experience and their future careers. Users have access to some of the top summer camps and programs in the world, such as Le Rosey Summer Camp, Institut Rosenberg International, The American School located in Switzerland, Maxer Education Academic Summer Camps and Research Programs at Cambridge University in England, and Immerse Education, which has locations at universities such as Columbia University, Cambridge University, and Oxford when using our platform. They are introduced to opportunities they might not otherwise know about. These diverse programs prepare students for their college journey, including preparation for campus life and the opportunity to receive letters of recommendation from world-renowned professors. These experiences can literally make the difference between being accepted at a top-tier college or not.

Keeping the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

With any technology, it’s impersonal and is making decisions based on data. However, luckily, Best Parents has already prepared for that. We have consultants available 24/7 for that important human touch and expertise, augmenting the impersonal nature of technology, and ultimately ensuring a more tailored and interactive experience for both parents and children.

How do you envision the landscape of education evolving over the next decade, and how does your technology fit into that future?

As I mentioned, the competition for attending elite universities only increases yearly, with colleges receiving more and more applications with the same limited amount of spaces. As this happens, we expect the demand and use of our platform to grow in use. There are so many programs out there, no matter how much research you do — you likely won’t come across them all or necessarily be able to find the best match. With Best Parents, we’ll continue to be able to find the best program(s) for teenagers’ interests and skill sets and even, perhaps, help them realize early on that the path they initially wanted to focus on isn’t the best fit.

Based on your experience and success, can you please share “Five things you need to know to successfully create technology that can make a positive social impact”?

  1. Add the human touch to the technology: Technology, engineering, and automation can be amazing, but it’s important not to neglect the soft skills associated with compassion, ethics and insights.
  2. Solve your users’ problems with automation: After learning that parents spend five weeks searching for the best educational program(s) for their children, we created our platform that uses the perfect blend of AI technology and expert counselors to speed up the booking and decision-making process.
  3. Stay in touch with fellow AI executives: It’s important to remain an active member involved in the technology community. Our team attends hackathons every week in San Francisco, where leaders in AI are roaring to understand the future and understand the latest technology.
  4. Hire the best talent: In this fast-growing tech world, time is your company’s most important asset, and hiring the best can help you maintain quality and adapt faster.
  5. There will always be bugs, so you will need hugs: Creating a new technology does not happen overnight; it requires patience, passion, and dedication. Make sure you have a supportive team behind you.

In the realm of EdTech, there’s often data collection involved. How do you ensure the ethical handling of user data, especially when it concerns students?

At Best Parents, we collect sensitive information, including health records, family backgrounds, and travel plans, solely to ensure we meet each individual family’s needs. Our clients, no matter how well-known the family’s name may be, remain confidential and are treated with respect. We use this data exclusively to identify educational programs for students. We have strict data privacy policies to ensure that this information is never shared externally.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

Embracing change and directing your energy toward positivity will impact both you and those around you. The joy and peace you experience when you see someone smile because of your actions is incredibly fulfilling. For example, I find great happiness in hearing teenagers share their positive experiences from the summer camps and enrichment programs we will match them with.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)

I would love to share a meal with Michelle Obama. She has remained poised, elegant, and a leader through all of the public spotlight and scrutiny she and her family have faced over the years. Michelle is an example that “diamonds are made under pressure”. If you haven’t read her book, Becoming, I highly recommend it.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

You can visit our website, https://www.bestparents.com/, or find me on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/burcinonal/.

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success in your important work.

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