Baruch students develop P2P recruitment preparation service



Every year, tens of thousands of well-qualified candidates apply for some of the most coveted roles in finance: venture capital, private equity and investment banking. They are notoriously difficult fields to get into.

With some of the biggest financial firms slowing down the rate at which they hire new employees, the competition for positions in the field has never been greater.

According to an article published by Fortune, applicants have a better chance of receiving an acceptance letter from Harvard University than securing a job at Goldman Sachs. In 2015, the Ivy League school reported an acceptance rate of 5.3 percent compared to only 3 percent from the investment bank.

While balancing his competitive internship at Credit Suisse this past summer, Anthony Olaniyi, a current student at Baruch college, got together with Armin Mohammadi and Irfan Sheikh to create a mobile platform that could revolutionize the way students prepare and network in preparation for internships and full-time jobs.

Preplyst is a peer-to-peer marketplace for recruitment preparation services on college campuses. Users can connect in-person or virtually with other undergraduate and MBA students—or what the app refers to as preps—who have completed internships or received full-time offers from top accounting, consulting and finance firms. Users can book 30-minute sessions with preps of his or her choice to go through services ranging from resume critiques to informational interviews. In return, preps can charge a small fee for their services.

Currently, Baruch College, Harvard University and University of Pennsylvania are the only schools listed on the app. However, other major universities have showed interest in having access to the platform.

Kyle Cayemittes, a finance student at Baruch and head of business development at Preplyst, shared that the goal of the company is to give students an equal opportunity in the job market.

“Minorities, international students [and] transfer students are often left out of the loop when it comes to recruiting for financial services and across all other industries,” Cayemittes said.

He later added that Preplyst is also useful for students who have no direct access to these resources. He hopes that the new service provided by Preplyst will help “democratize resources so that everybody gets a shot.”

A new user who wishes to utilize Preplyst is only required to create a profile using his or her email and the name of his or her school. Upon registration, users can view a list of preps from their own school as well as other colleges.

“Maybe they are looking for an insight from somebody who is at a consulting shop, like McKinsey, that Baruch students usually don’t go to,” said Cayemittes. “Now they have [undergraduate and MBA] students at other schools that represent McKinsey who they can hop on a phone call with and get the advice they are looking for.”

The cross-campus network not only gives users a wider array of preps to choose from, but it also gives them access to industry professionals who may not be available at their local campus.

“In order to build a community, we opened it up so that now Baruch students can see Harvard students or hop on a call with somebody that is a representative at a company that they are shooting for that’s not on campus,” said Cayemittes.

In addition, every prep is vetted to make sure that he or she is capable of providing the best service to other users. Once approved, preps can create a profile with a short description of their previous work experience and specialties. Users can leave reviews for their preps, which can be seen by other users on the platform.

When asked about how the team members fit their new business into their work schedules, Cayemittes added, “We have group huddles in our living room and we just brainstorm about the next direction … It’s a lot more effective when you’re in the same space as your team because it always serves as a meeting ground when you get home.”

Moving forward, the team wants to bring Preplyst to more campuses in the United States, though the app has not ruled out working with international institutions in the future. In order to accommodate these aspirations, the next build will give users the opportunity to easily facilitate the phone call feature, the video call through Skype and other messaging systems. The team is also expected to include preps from industries such as technology, law, and medical, as more students join the platform.





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