Growing up in India, Dr. Chandra S. Pemmasani’s initial plan wasn’t to become a CEO. He wanted to be a physician. Undeterred by his lack of financial means, Dr. Pemmasani was accepted into Osmania Medical College in Hyderabad after ranking 27th out of 60,000 on the medical school entrance examination (EAMCET), recognized as one of the most competitive examinations in India. After graduation, he was set to complete his residency in the United States. All he needed was to pass the notoriously difficult United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE).
He borrowed thousands of dollars for exam prep tools but didn’t find them to be useful in providing the kind of case-based, active learning that would ingrain concepts into his mind. Several of his fellow aspiring physicians were in the same position and were looking for help. This inspired him to write 200 pages of case-based scenarios for the USMLE. After passing the test, Dr. Pemmasani sent his guide to several publishers, but they told him to come back when he finished medical training.
Wanting to help his colleagues as soon as possible, Dr. Pemmasani instead turned to the internet. With the support of family and friends, he developed several online exam review products—all while maintaining his full residency schedule. At the age of 25, he founded his company, USMLEWorld (rebranded as UWorld in 2014), with his brother, Ravi, a software engineer, playing a key role in building the technology systems and managing company operations.
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