In a casual gossip after dinner with his friend Mamun, Siam expressed him dream of creating a website about higher studies dedicated to help Bangladeshi students. Mamun's suggestion was to buy a .com domain before it became unavailable. After looking for two hours there was no two-word domain found of suitable name. Fortunately higherstudyabroad.com was found whereas ironically .net and .org were sold out.
GRE Classes in Garage
Next month Siam rented the garage in his building, renovated it and started taking GRE classes. Just within one week he attained 50 students through word-of-mouth. His unique teaching style with related words with mnemonics was the main attraction of the course. As a course material he used his personal reference called 'My Inchoate Ducky Thesaurus', or in short, MIDT.
Mail from Student
That year fall he had to come to US for pursuing his MS and leave everything behind. One of his students Arif Ul Alam (Opu) has enanced MIDT to a 500 page document. With day and night hard work for the next two months, they were able to shape the doc as a book.
Although the book was supposed to be released in Ekushey Boimela 2010, it finally made it to the market on March 8th. The book was very well received and was a success.
GRE Classes on Youtube
With all course materials in hand and previous experience, Siam decided to take free online GRE classes on Youtube. It was huge. In 2010, the classes had more than 150 students in total.
In wish of launching the website, Siam started having meeting with his professional developer friends - Bulbul, Supal, Bahalul and his book's co-author Opu. The collaborations didn't go well since Siam decided to go entirely nonprofit. This was the initial logo made by Bahalul Kabir which is still used as the offical one.
With no technical support in hand, he learnt wordpress to launch the site himself and the alpha version was released after long 19 months from the date the domain was bought.
Nationwide Nonprofit Seminars
With success on the online GRE classes, Siam decided to do countrywide higher study awareness seminar for the first time in Bangladesh, in his upcoming vacation home. He propagated his idea through the online students and the website, and it was very well received. Volunteers from all universities took the responsibility to arrange the seminar and 7 seminars were scheduled in 4 cities in his 25 days visit.
HigherStudyAbroad™ Bangladesh Chapter
The seminars throughout the entire month of January were eyeopeners for him. Finding many enthusiast organizers motivated him to do something big. Just after coming back to US, he opened a facebook group named 'GRE® Guide by HigherStudyAbroad™' and added the organizers to it. Among all, three of the organizers looked most promising and were made admins to moderate the group. Mahmudul Hoque. Mostafa Kamal Abir. Shamima Jahan (Shamme). The group name was soon changed to reflect its focus group.
Within few months, these three admins managed to organize the whole group very efficiently through hard work, dedication and above all- passion. Soon they became inseparable Core Members of HigherStudyAbroad. This team of three tackled every difficult situation HSA faced in absence of Siam, and they are the reason HSA survived and is what it is today. On July 6th, 2011 Rashidul Hasan (Russel) joined the core members. The group reached its first milestone of 1000 members on July 9th. Many admins came and left but this core team is permanent till date.
Soon the group garnered 5000 members. The one single factor which kept HSA running was the active participation of members from all over the world and their patience in relentlessly helping each other through information and inspiration. Altruists are still the heart of HSA. http://www.higherstudyabroad.com/altruists/ This logo was also designed by Bahalul Kabir and was used as a group logo that time.
On April 30 the group reached 10000 members. The core members, the organizing of other admins and hard work of altruists was keeping the group alive. Although there was one guy, whose contribution to HSA was incomparable, who many times took all the burden to himself to save HSA like James Bond. His name is Mahmudul Hoque. The core members adores him and calls him 007. 🙂
Higher Study Seminars
Core members Mahmud along with Abir, kept organizing nationwide seminars in different universities Bangladesh. The most notable speakers in 2011 were chronologically Mamoon Rashid in BUET (Jun), Raihan Masud in KUET (Jun), Ayaz Chowdhury and Aasim Ullah Nabil in IIUC (Jul). Followed by in 2012- Syeed Shihav in DU (Apr), Mahmudul Hoque in RUET and SUST(Jun), Anupam Aich, Yafee Muntasir, Abdul Moin Shajib and Mohiuddin Ahmed in DU (Jun).
Higher Study Societies
In these seminars, HSA distributed free Test Prep materials DVDs, wristbands, T-shirts for Volunteers, and even food. Through all these effort, HSA managed to create Higher Study Societies in several universities. Along with these offline seminars, HSA arranged online Webinars as well from speakers across the globe.
Loved by 15000
With great products and constant service, HSA kept growing bigger and bigger, making it the largest educated Bangladeshi community worldwide. It invented and popularized quotes like 'All Hail Altruism' and inspired and helped many similar groups to come into existence and flourish.
To make the information more accesible and fun for aspirants HSA launched its next big pillar, called Project Videofy. These slick as well as informative videos were much appreciated by students. The videos were translated in Bangla and got bigger exposure by collaborating with Shikkhok.com, an online Bangla educative site.
After a long time of going through many trial and error, the final version of the website was released with many features added to it.
TargetTracker & 20000
HSA launched its most pillars of the year, called- 'TargetTracker'. The unique feature utilises all the experience HSA has gathered in last several years. This was the same day, when the group reached 20,000 members milestone.