When entrepreneur Fredrik Maro was a sophomore at UPenn, he thought himself to be very unsuccessful.
Hailing from Norway, Maro was frustrated when his American classmates all landed wonderful internships with well-known companies, while he was still looking hard for his next internship opportunity.
“I thought they [his classmates] weren’t necessarily any hardworking or smarter than I was,” he said. “But they all got those great internships. I just couldn’t figure out why.”
It wasn’t until junior year that Maro began to nail things down. Networking was the key, he said.
Almost a decade later, now, Maro doesn’t have to worry about applying for jobs anymore. Since 2010, he has been his own boss as the CEO of Evisors, an online platform connecting students with experienced professionals with mentorship opportunities.
What is Evisors?
Maro pointed out that during a process of job searching, getting to know whom to talk to or send a resume to, and what to say during an interview could be very tricky. A talk with the person who has worked with the company you’re looking for might not give you the job directly, but will certainly increase your chance of getting hired. That’s what Evisors wants to do–to connect career-seeking students with professionals who’ve had relevant experiences in a relevant field.
According to CrunchBase, Evisors has up till now raised $2.6 million in four rounds. In addition to offering a public platform where advisors and students can meet and talk, Evisors has also attracted over 100 college clients, for whom Evisors develops customized alum databases. Students at partnered colleges can access the system for free and get mentorship directly from the alum.
For those whose schools aren’t partners with Evisors, they can still access the public platform to search and schedule advising sessions with the advisors.
Maro said that one significant advantage Evisors has over LinkedIn is that, the platform enables student users to see which advisors are available and if they are willing to offer the help. For example, on an advisor’s profile page, student can see the availability of the advisor, his/her specialty, past working experience and themes of advising sessions (resume critique, career conversation or mock interview).
In other words, students are not sending blind emails as they usually do on LinkedIn, where you’ve no idea if the person you just emailed is willing to offer help or mentorship.
On the other end of the spectrum, Evisors also outperforms school career centers with its large base of advisors.
“No matter what career office that is, you’ll never be able to have staff that can cover every single industry, function, geography, and company the student is looking for,” Maro said.
Who are on Evisors?
According to Evisors website, to become an advisor, you need to submit an application where you identify your contact info, education and employment background, expertise and pricing requirement. One advisor on Evisors told us that he didn’t experience a phone or in-person interview during the process of the screening.
“I would hope that Evisors could have stricter screening of the advisors though,” said Mario, a Lisbon-based entrepreneur offering advice on Evisors.
Maro told IntroAmerica that although some advisors make their own living by offering advice on Evisors, but the majority joined Evisors to “give back.”
“People working in consulting or tech who are advisors on Evisors, they may be making $200 per hour,” said Maro. “But they are offering mentorship on Evisors for $100 or less per hour. So they are not looking to maximize their earning per se. They really want to give back.”
Many of those advisors, however, do filter the students to make sure they’re a really serious advice-seeker. That’s also why few advisors offer advice for free. “Because when it’s free, people simply don’t show up,” said Maro.
On Evisors, advisors can be filtered according to job function, industry, employer, service, location, price, university and language. Levels of experience vary largely from current MBA students to professionals with decades of experiences.
Students can visit Evisors.com to find advisors they are interested in talking to. Signing up is not required.
This is the first part of a three-part story on Evisors. Part two features Fredrik Maro’s advice to international students and student entrepreneurs. Part three is a review of the Evisors platform.