Dr Manjinder Kainth
MSci Theoretical Physics, 2016; PhD Theoretical Physics, 2020
Co-Founder and CEO, Graide (6 Bit Education Ltd)
I am the CEO and co-founder of 6 Bit Education, and have created a platform that reduces educators’ grading workload, called Graide (www.graide.co.uk). My colleagues and I built Graide while working as teaching assistants at the University of Birmingham and combined this with our problem solving and coding experiences from studying physics to create the product.
We now work with engineering and physical science departments of universities across Europe. We aim to give students higher quality feedback while ensuring consistency, timeliness and workload reduction. By reducing educator’s workload and increasing the amount of feedback students receive, we can liberate teachers and make quality education more accessible to all. It's proven successful so far, and the University have just written an article about our start-up.
What does this mean on a day-to-day basis?
- Frontend development using react native for the Graide platform
- Project Management
- Using Monday.com to organise the work that needs to be done by the team, deadlines, etc
- Designing the website, platform, user interface and user experience
- Marketing, social media, adverts, email marketing
- Sales, talking to prospective customers
- Customer Success, making sure the new customers are fully set up with the platform
- Admin, emails, meetings, accounting
What is the best thing about what you are doing now?
I love that I wear many hats and do lots of things. The variety means I get to do a lot of problem solving in many different areas. I also get to see how everything connects together.
What made you interested in creating your own company?
I realised the way universities were giving feedback on student work had many issues with timeliness, consistency, and quality because I had experienced it being part of that process. Out of chance, I found out that my Co-Founder had been working on AI algorithms to reduce that workload at scale. Luckily the founding team's skills complemented one another's and we could build something that would help.
How has your career developed since graduating?
I finished my MSci at Birmingham, started a PhD at Birmingham where I was teaching, marking, and tutoring, and directly transitioned into this Co-Founder role.
What motivates you?
I want to make an impact. I want to be helpful to my friends, family, and the wider world.
Why did you originally apply to Birmingham?
The culture was just right. Birmingham cares about the academic position but also the student experience. You get world-class research in an environment that is relaxed, fun and engaging. Most of the staff at Birmingham had an open-door policy and the students that showed us around expressed interest outside of just physics. It was a nurturing environment to grow.
What are your fondest memories of the University?
My fondest memories at the University revolve around the people. It was incredible being around like-minded people who had the same passion and interests as yourself. You could be yourself and make friends around the things you enjoyed. If there were difficult courses you were there with one another, helping each other to learn, and when there was downtime, you could try out new things because there was a society to join for nearly every activity you could think of.
What advice would you give to current students studying on your degree programme?
For those studying on the undergraduate masters course (the MSci): the foundation of your course is built on the first few years. They might seem not that difficult, but future courses require proficiency in the skills gained in the previous courses, not just competency. Putting the time in early pays off in the long term.
For those on the PhD programme: the PhD can be a long, gruelling, intense process. Until now you've been in a position where every problem you tackle can be solved. When you start a PhD you're embarking on problems that often do not have solutions, and it is difficult to know whether a problem can be solved or not at the outset. Therefore, understand that failures are part of the process. You're an explorer in your field. Some things might not work, some will, but all the time you're learning and becoming a better researcher. Treat it as play and don't put any self-worth in the success or failure of your projects. Writing and communicating now become more important skills than they were before. Present any chance you get, whether it's to other students, staff, conferences etc. Write up short snippets of explanations (no longer than a paragraph) of things that you have learned. Edit and iterate until your peers can understand it. Those paragraphs will be the foundation of any papers and the thesis you write.
Wise words from Manjinder
“Being at university meant that I found my Co-Founders. I experienced pains that I endeavoured to solve, and learned from. I developed my people skills. I built a problem-solving mindset, and I became better at perseverance of long-term goals.”