Celebrating International Women’s Day: Meet The B-School Female Founders

Altyn Bolat earned her MBA from Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Business and created an education startup

Altyn Bolat, Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Business, Bridge

 Hometown: Taldykorgan, Kazakhstan
Business Degree: MBA from Nazarbayev University Graduate School of Business (NU GSB)
Why did you choose to study your course at NU GSB?:
I chose to study at NU GSB, because immediately after graduating with my Bachelor’s degree, I conceived my own educational project. However, I needed a stronger foundation to work through the details of the project. In addition, I wanted to cultivate a network so that I could develop my business more quickly in the future

Tell us more about your company/organization and what you do:
Bridge is an educational company with a large number of products. We have developed more and more products and, as a result, about 20,000 students have worked with us, and the profitability for the last year was $1 million. In more detail, we offer:

  • Bridge School, which is a product for the preparation of applicants to international universities. We provide full training from the SAT to IELTS to help with application submission. The success rate at this school is about 90%.
  • Bridge Kids – from kindergarten to Harvard. We prepare children for Ivy League universities from an early age. It is a comprehensive preparation of children for world universities (Harvard, Stanford, MIT, Yale) from early grades in the “Super Brain” and “MBA kids” programmes.
    The programme includes three stages:
    1. Foundation – pre-training: (6 months)
    Development of the child’s intellectual abilities in the Superbrain technique and personal qualities in the MBA Kids program. Teaching English and the basics of all school mathematics.
    2. High school exams preparationpreparation for entrance exams of the best schools in the country as NIS, RFMSH, KTL (6 months)
    Deep and detailed mastering of the subject. Study exam strategies and techniques to save time. Honing the format of each exam.
    3. Coaching – mentoring. (4 years old)
    Support during school. Assistance in Project Management, subject Olympiads, international conferences, volunteering.
  • Easy English – we run online General English courses for the wider community. 4,000 people participated in the last stream.

Was it always your goal to found a company?:
I would say yes. My father runs an agricultural business, he owns quite a lot of land and his own machinery. That is, I have been told since I was a child that any good career has a certain ceiling on earnings, while you can grow as much as you like if you have a business. The question was only in which area I would choose to start a business. 

What advice would you have for other entrepreneurial women that want to found a company?:
I would advise not to focus too much on public opinion. Society needs women, first and foremost, to lead by example by showing that women are perfectly capable of getting an education and building a business.

How did your experience at business school help you with your venture?:
In fact, the education was not initially as practical as I had expected it to be. That is, most of the tools we have been taught are well suited to be implemented in a business that is already in operation. How to start the journey – probably very few people will be able to give good advice. Every situation is unique, there are always unique problems. Still, I have grown a lot in my thinking during my MBA. I studied a huge number of cases, how businesses got started, and realised that there are many niches and special features in the market, and that it is always possible to succeed. You have to start boldly, not to be afraid of taking bold decisions. In my case, these bold decisions have ended up being the most significant decisions I have made, although they are never easy to make.

What are your hopes for the future of women in business?
I don’t like to make predictions, but the trend is clear – more and more women are starting businesses, more and more women are becoming successful. I think the number of women in business is only going to increase. 

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