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NuGrad launched by college students to match fellow students with recruiters

NuGrad tackles the common problem of what to do after college, helps students get matched with their best career path, then with actual recruiters. Genius!



Helping new graduates to find their way

As a soon-to-be-graduating senior, I am currently trying to determine the next best step in my life. It is difficult to make the transition from the world of academics to the “real” world; especially if you are unsure of what you want to do career-wise.

I recently attended a meeting for an entrepreneurial club at my school. While there, I met Illinois State University business majors Brett Gilbert and Kenny Papke. We soon got on the topic of deciding what to do after graduation, and it seems these students are way ahead of the game.

Gilbert, Papke, and fellow student Jack Sutherland, have developed a startup known as NuGrad. The idea is that students go through an interview process with the developers so that they can eventually be introduced to recruiters. However, what sets this apart from other forms of recruitment is that the NuGrad developers are looking to match a student’s personality to a job that would be perfect for them.

GPA is a poor metric for success in the workforce

Sutherland, who is the CEO of NuGrad, explained that the concept came about because he, Gilbert, and Papke have an understanding of the problems with higher education and the transition into the job market. He states that the biggest issue with recruiting is that GPA is too highly valued and does not necessarily reflect the qualifications of the applicant. They predict that, if the tide changes in the NuGrad direction, emphasis on GPA will be obsolete in five years.

From talking to students on campus, the developers have found that the overall feeling towards job searching is confusion. Therefore, they are taking their different vision of the job market and are using their skills to give students the confidence to find a job they truly want.

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Their goal is to change the recruitment style that has been in the works for many years

The team explains that students are changing, therefore, recruitment needs to change with them. “It is no longer the case of having a college degree equals a job offer,” said Gilbert. “Students often just take the first job offer they get and wind up hating it.”

They want to use these personality tests to find the top 25 or 30 students that would best fit a recruiter’s needs. But, the biggest challenge they face is changing the outlook of recruitment by doing something so against the grain.

“We are taking this head on and are not being delicate,” explains Sutherland. “Some recruiters don’t like change. But that creates adversity that just adds fuel to the fire. We want to change that adversity into positivity.”

They stress the importance of innovation in entrepreneurship but state that corporate does not have the best grasp on that innovation. This is why a development such as NuGrad can be beneficial for both job seekers and recruiters.

Within weeks of launch, they’re already spreading widely

The developers have taken a very organic approach to creating this website. They hit the ground running by making cold calls to recruiters and by spreading the concept to students through word of mouth and social media.

NuGrad is fairly new but has made strides during its weeks-old lifespan. The company has already spread to eight different schools and at least 14 students are set up for interviews with recruiters.

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They hope to be at 50 schools by May and want to have 15 – 30 pre-qualified students from each school to present to recruiters.

“With every person we introduce to a company, we are creating a pipeline from the school to the company,” said Sutherland. The hope is that, if companies get great employees from the schools associated with NuGrad, it will create a domino effect that will keep the recruiters coming back to said school.

Putting students on the correct career path

Overall, the idea is to meet with students and find out what they truly want out of a career. So many students are stuck in the idea that their decided major is the end-all-be-all for their career. NuGrad is turning that misconception on its head and is giving students the confidence to go after what they truly want.

As a student who sees the struggle of the future day in and day out, I appreciate the innovation of the NuGrads of the world. With the way students, and the world, are changing, it is important to have new and interesting ways to create interest and excitement for the workforce.


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Staff Writer, Taylor Leddin is a publicist and freelance writer for a number of national outlets. She was featured on Thrive Global as a successful woman in journalism, and is the editor-in-chief of The Tidbit. Taylor resides in Chicago and has a Bachelor in Communication Studies from Illinois State University.

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