Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Alumni Startup Collegefeed Launches Beta Program at CMU-SV, Provides a Social Network to Kickstart Careers
With today’s proliferation of users engaged in Facebook, Twitter and social networks for seemingly every function, it is safe to say that social media has become a way of life. Many of these users are college students and new graduates, or those in the market for “early careers.” Can these early career seekers benefit from a use of social networks specifically geared toward the job search? The team behind collegefeed hopes to situate itself apart from other career sites and job boards by addressing this specific audience using today’s technology to revolutionize early career building.
The early career marketplace operates in much the same way it did before the Web, mobile and social network boom – college students and fresh graduates without meaningful professional experience or connections are still left to search blindly for career opportunities while employers rely solely on meet-and-greets and short interviews at career fairs and campus visits to recruit talent.
collegefeed, which has launched a beta at Carnegie Mellon University Silicon Valley, is building a platform to address the needs of students and young grads, which include how to showcase potential to employers, receive the coaching and guidance to successfully network and the knowledge to understand and explore a full range of career options beyond simply the one of two “big” names in a given industry. The platform also benefits employers by creating a way for recruiters to attract student attention, make themselves relevant to the newest talent and reach scalably across campuses by “pushing” relevant content and awards to interested students. The collegefeed platform, a social network-of-sorts for career building, makes a profound difference in the quality, speed, cost and efficiency of connecting college students, employers, alumni and industry insiders.
“By making a connection between employers who want to hire from college and students who are eager to get financial and career help 10x better, stronger and cheaper, we ultimately aspire to rein in the rising cost of education for students and reduce the cost of hiring for employers,” says co-founder and CEO, Sanjeev Agrawal, previously a product marketing chief at Google.
collegefeed’s main differentiating factor is its adoption of a key social networking tool: the newsfeed. The student newsfeed encompasses the collegefeed's paradigm to “teach, tell and guide” students rather than leaving them to search for opportunities and contacts on their own. The user-friendly Facebook-like newsfeed “pushes” relevant career information based on students’ interests and top choice of companies. This personalized information includes matched jobs, internships, award and scholarship opportunities offered by employers and alumni connections. Employers and students can “follow” and communicate with each other, building a relationship that extends beyond simply a quick meeting at a career fair.
In addition to a pilot program at CMU-SV, collegefeed has also launched betas at the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University. With CMU-SV, specifically, collegefeed plans to launch and scale the service across the student community. They also plan to sponsor a number of practicums, internship-like experiences for students to work directly for an industry sponsor. In general, the beta programs will allow collegefeed to develop insight and intelligence based on usage and student feedback. They plan to expand to more schools and have a national presence by late summer 2013.
A number of successes have occurred with the UC-Berkeley pilot program, including awards sponsored by eBay and several internship and job offers for Cal students. collegefeed was also recently featured in Techcrunch, which characterized it as a service that provides what LinkedIn does not.
Co-founder, Aman Khanna, a 2003 CMU-SV graduate in MS Information Technology - Software Engineering (now MS Software Engineering) is quick to point out skills he learned during his MS degree as integral to launching collegefeed to early success. “Every day I need to manage large software projects, build and inspire teams, and design and build a scalable architecture. These were all key skills I learned from CMU-SV,” states Khanna.
Moving forward, collegefeed hopes to grow the user base and increase engagement with students.“We want to keep improving our platform so that the student newsfeed is increasingly relevant and personalized,” says Agrawal. “By helping young students kickstart their careers, we believe we’re doing something good in the world.”