This article is part of a series covering the most exciting start-ups featured at the most recent TechBUZZ conference, held at AOL Fishbowl Labs. To read the rest of the articles in the series, click here.
You may think that finding a good job after graduation is the biggest challenge an MBA student faces, but you'd be wrong. In fact, they're generally much more worried about how to deal with the deluge of corporate recruiters trying to lure them to various Fortune 500 companies. I know -- talk about a first-world problem. But it's a real problem nonetheless, and Sarah Rumbaugh of RelishMBA wants to solve this process by making the recruiting process easier, less expensive, and more enjoyable for everyone involved.
According to Rumbaugh, corporate recruiters spend an average of $15,000 to attract new MBA hires -- more than four times the average talent-acquisition cost of $3,500. Rumbaugh says the average MBA student is being wooed by upward of 80 companies before they even start taking classes! Rumbaugh estimates that students spend as much time on this "sales and marketing process" as they do on the academics of their programs.
Match.com for MBAs
Somewhere in the middle of this courtship is a university career service officer who is doing their best to play chaperone for the students and the recruiters. Unfortunately, the average student-to-advisor ratio is 100-to-1, which makes it very difficult to give each student the attention they need and to track all of the activity. Universities want as much information as possible about how their students are being recruited, who is interviewing at which companies, and where all of their graduates end up.
RelishMBA, one of a series of start-ups coming out of the University of Virginia's i.Lab, provides an online recruiting platform that Rumbaugh describes as a cross between LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD), Salesforce, and Google Analytics that's currently used only for MBA students. The tools are free for both students and university administrators. The business model relies on corporate recruiters paying annual licensing fees to RelishMBA in exchange for a more efficient and low-cost way to acquire new talent.
In exchange for their licensing fees, the companies get four things, according to Rumbaugh:
1. Branding. Each company, depending on the school where it's recruiting, will position its brand a little differently. In the past, they have done this by sending particular recruiters, usually alums, who would tailor their pitch to that group of students. This approach gets expensive. However, RelishMBA makes it easy and inexpensive for a company to create custom content on its landing pages, tailored to the school in question.
2. Relationship management. RelishMBA uses customer relationship management (CRM) tools to help companies keep track of all of their correspondences with students. Often, many people at a company will be involved in the hiring of a single student. These CRM tools allow the company to see who is involved in these interactions at every step of the recruiting process.
3. Easy access to students. It's not always easy for companies to know exactly which students are interested in joining their workforce. RelishMBA makes it easy for students to indicate interest in companies and for the companies to view a student's profile and contact them directly. Rumbaugh says RelishMBA also provides a matching algorithm, similar to eHarmony's, that will help match student profiles to different companies.
4. Analytics. RelishMBA shares all of the data relevant to how a company's recruiting process is going, enabling the company to develop best practices and lower its costs to acquire top talent.
RelishMBA's 2014 pilot program at Darden included the majority of all students and 30 different corporate partners. Currently, the company is out of beta and has more than $350,000 in its sales pipeline from 50 major corporate partners. RelishMBA is signing up major business schools as quickly as possible, and Rumbaugh hopes to eventually dovetail RelishMBA into RelishCareers, a leading marketplace for specialized talent-acquisition.
Rumbaugh gave a presentation on RelishMBA at the recent TechBUZZ conference. Check out the video below: