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Beyond The Balance Sheet Podcast

Nov 23, 2022

In this week’s revisited episode of Beyond the Balance Sheet, we are joined by Jay Bacrania, CEO and Co-Founder of Signet Education LLC, and Sheila Akbar, Signet's President and COO. Signet helps students and parents develop skills they will need to overcome challenges and empower students to make successful decisions in college. Jay and Sheila explain how parents can navigate engagement with their child who has difficulty with executive functioning challenges. In addition, they discuss the importance of having healthy boundaries during the college admissions process. Tune in as Jay and Sheila give their thoughts on the challenges of working with affluent families and the massive need for executive function support and structure during the pandemic.




  • [01:30] About Jay Bacrania and Sheila Akbar. They speak about the inspiration for Signet and how their vision has evolved.
  • [09:10] How to engage a student who is having difficulty with executive functioning challenges. 
  • [15:50] Parents need to have healthy boundaries when it comes to the college admissions process. 
  • [20:50] There is a tremendous rise in mental health issues during the pandemic. Executive function support and structure are needed now more than ever. 
  • [30:00] The challenges of working with affluent families. 




  • Students should create a habit of reflection and self-understanding that will allow them to build a foundation for academic success. 
  • Parents should create the space for students to feel safe in exploring some solutions for their academic challenges. 
  • Students don’t need to know what to do; instead, they need to know how to think. 
  • Parents and students shouldn't be worried about the reputation of a college. Instead, they need to consider which college will allow students to become the person they want to become. 















Jay Bacrania

Jay is the CEO and Co-Founder of Signet Education LLC. His passion for education began in high school and continued throughout college, during which time he ran three different tutoring and mentoring organizations. After graduating from Harvard in 2005, Jay began tutoring privately, and eventually co-founded Signet Education with a friend, with the idea that they could build a company that was focused less on jumping through hoops, and more on genuine education.  


Signet Education is built on the premise that each student is on a unique educational journey. That journey is external -- doing well in school, finding the right college, and getting in; but it’s also internal -- understanding oneself better, building skills to be effective in the classroom and in life, developing a love of learning, and using education to navigate to a place in the world where one can define and build a meaningful and successful life. 


Over the last 15 years, Jay and Sheila have worked together to build a world-class organization that works with students in a highly personalized way to help them define their academic path--both external and internal--and achieve their goals, setting themselves up for a successful and meaningful life.


Sheila Akbar

Sheila is Signet's President and COO and our resident admissions and test prep expert. She joined the Signet team in 2010, bringing with her a wealth of experience teaching SAT, ACT, GRE, literature, and composition in both one-on-one and classroom settings. Sheila loves both teaching and learning, and finds nothing more rewarding than working closely with students to overcome the challenges they face. 


After graduating from Harvard in 2002, she spent two years working in financial services before continuing her academic career, which culminated in two doctorates. She brings her significant business and academic experience to bear on her current role at Signet, which includes managing the administrative team, speaking to every incoming client to match them with the right tutors and services, and providing educational thought leadership for the company. Sheila holds a bachelor's degree and master's degree from Harvard University and two doctoral degrees from Indiana University.