Anyone who has worked at an accounting firm will tell you that finding qualified students for internships and entry-level positions is a major challenge. Not only do firms have their own in-house recruiters, but they also heavily rely on their already-busy professionals for recruiting. Meanwhile, there are 80,000 new accounting students sitting for the CPA exam each year. So what happens when a bunch of large recruiting teams descend on college campuses to recruit a massive number of students? A lot of confusion, and qualified students are often lost in the shuffle… that is until RocketGrad entered the scene.
RocketGrad is the only online platform that exclusively connects accounting students and firms. No longer will students miss out on the perfect job because they didn’t get the chance to meet the right person at the right firm.
We recently caught up with co-founder Brad Hughes to get the full scoop:
April 29, 2014
Number of Employees:
2 (two co-founders)
Funding or bootstrapped?
How’d You Get The Idea For It?
As students, we went to the career fair and shared our academic status and career preferences with each firm and watched them furiously jot notes on our resumes.
As professionals, we then saw all of this information being input and tracked in Excel, much of which became outdated following the career fair as students changed their minds, passed sections of the CPA exam, or accepted offers at competing firms.
We felt if students had a platform to share this information once and keep it up to date, it would alleviate a major pain point in the recruiting process for both sides. Not to mention firms would be able to identify qualified students that they may not have had a chance to meet at an on-campus event.
We also noticed students were only being exposed to opportunities in markets that were closest in proximity to their university. For example, if a student goes to school in New York but wants to move to Atlanta, we wanted to be able to help create direct relationships between the student and Atlanta firms.
We charge professional firms an annual subscription to our website. A subscription gets them access to our student database, allows them to create a firm marketing page for their office, provides them with direct candidate matching services, and gives them many other benefits to help manage the recruiting process. Currently we have sold subscriptions to 3 of the Big 4 accounting firms, and we are working on partnerships with several of the largest regional firms in Atlanta.
Who are your competitors and how do you stand out?
AccountingFly (formerly CollegeFrog) is probably our primary competitor, though they have a different business model than we do. We focus exclusively on campus recruiting (no experienced recruiting), and our sole focus right now is the Atlanta market. We want to nail down the process in one market before expanding geographically.
How does ATL weave into your story?
Josh grew up in Atlanta. Prior to founding RocketGrad, Josh and Brad were college roommates in Athens, and then were co-workers at PwC, Atlanta.
Atlanta is the largest market for professional services in the region. We’ve connected with accountants, entrepreneurs and college faculty solely in and around Atlanta to help build and validate our concept. If we can succeed in Atlanta, we think we can succeed throughout the region, and hopefully nationally.
If you could have one mulligan (do-over) in the process of launching this startup what would it be?
It’s hard to say because we’ve made several mistakes along the way, but each one has been a valuable learning experience that we don’t regret. We’re ashamed to admit this as we’re both accountants, but we could have done a better job of holding onto all of our receipts in the early days to help track business expenses for tax purposes.
Is there anything else you need (that money can’t buy)?
We need universities to continue to be receptive to our idea and to keep giving us access to their students, whether it be in-class presentations or career-focused events on campus. We’re hoping that when we expand outside of Georgia, universities will see that our mission is to present their students with more options along with the information they need to make the best career decision.
RocketGrad is completely free for students and universities. The official launch date for firms is today, September 10th & it is already available to students!