Though LinkedIn, Facebook and Carmen already allow students to connect with one another, as well as professors and potential employers, a few current and former Ohio State students have started a website they think fills a different void.
BuckeyesConnect is a website that aims to allow students to collaborate on assignments, showcase their projects and talents and develop closer relationships with their professors, said Bunty Mistry, a recent OSU graduate in logistics and one of the founders of BuckeyesConnect.
“As college students … in the end what it comes down to is this little piece of paper called a résumé that you present to employers,” Mistry said. “We want to utilize social media and use it as a platform to showcase what students did in their classes and in college.”
Karan Kareer, a third-year in management information systems and a founder of BuckeyesConnect said the website aims to fill an empty niche.
“At the moment, there is not any sort of websites or any sort of platform that exists exclusively for university students trying to look for jobs, internships and still have academic stuff at the same time,” Kareer said. “It has a lot of features that include e-résumés and students tutoring other students online which will help to raise the GPA of students.”
The beta version of the BuckeyesConnect website is set to be made public in January and will only be open to those with OSU email addresses, said Sid Agrawal, a third-year in finance and a founder of BuckeyesConnect.
The founders, though, did not initially receive a positive reaction from the professors they approached, Agrawal said.
“When we ran it by professors initially, they thought our idea was sort of another Carmen,” Agrawal said. “That is actually not what we are trying to go for.”
Agrawal said BuckeyesConnect intends to put an emphasis on students working together to get help with assignments.
There has been some investment interest generated by the idea, Kareer said, adding the founders think they will later use advertisements as a means of making a profit.
“I don’t want to give out too many details, but … basically we have two investors, one of them is confirmed and the other one we are still talking to,” Kareer said.
Mistry said the founders are currently more focused on making the website available to students, than attracting investors.
“What we really want to do is get the website up first and have a really good presentable website and business plan and get everything organized,” Mistry said. “When we are ready to take it the next step forward, that’s going to be when we need money. As of now, funding has not been a big issue.”
The founders of BuckeyesConnect have talked to some employers, including Coca-Cola, that said that they would be open to looking at the site to learn more about students, Kareer said.
Minstry said the website aims to show off different strengths of a student.
“We should not be tied to this number 4.0 (GPA),” Mistry said. “A student with a 3.2 (GPA) probably is just a bad test taker, but they work their butts off on projects and are an amazing team player. All of that stuff sort of gets put in the shadows and no one really gets to find out about that.”
Some students said how effective the website is will depend on the users it draws.
“When you meet someone in class and set up a time to study with them, you know the person and who they are,” said Andrew Mendel, a first-year in mechanical engineering. “If you ask a physics question on this site, a person that is not even in physics could be answering your question as a joke. It could end up hurting you more than helping you.”
Mendel added that he believes students learn more effectively when they are working directly with others rather than through a website.
“You don’t learn as much over the Internet,” Mendel said. “You learn more from a personal interaction with students so that you are able to better see your mistakes and how to fix them.”
Michael Wilkinson, a first-year in civil engineering, disagreed and said students can learn regardless of the setting.
“Anytime you work with other people on an assignment, you can bring up your GPA,” Wilkinson said. “It just depends on how and how often a student uses the website.”
Mistry said the founders hope to expand to other campuses later on.
“Five or 10 years from now, the ideal situation would be that campuses across the nation are connected,” Mistry said. “You can collaborate with students so students in Ohio and students in California that are working on the same thing can showcase and collaborate on their ideas across campuses.”