Elena Bajic was in the middle of a job search in her second year at Columbia Business School when she realized there were little to no job services that catered to high-caliber professionals attending top-tier universities.
This inspired her to start drafting a business plan as part of the Lang Fund Process, a program at Columbia that provides early-stage investing opportunities to students with business initiatives. By the time she graduated in May 2006, the foundations of the business were set up. The following year, in 2007, Ivy Exec was born.
A source for career information and job postings for high-level professional, Ivy Exec now provides access to over 4,200 top-tier job opportunities, granting employment to over 75 percent of its members. Basic membership is free and allows employment-seekers to browse for jobs and receive industry newsletters. All-access membership—which opens the door to more careers, newsletters, and job alerts—is also available, through an application vetted by Ivy Exec.
And it’s a tough screening process. Recruiters evaluate the educational background and work experience of prospective members—95 percent of whom have a graduate degree from a leading institution and 86 percent have an MBA from a top-tier school, Ivy Exec reports.
Still, “Ivy stands for excellence, not necessarily for Ivy League,” said vice president of marketing, Silvana Carpanelli-Hayes. Ivy Exec has already partnered with leading business schools and other graduate schools, including Tufts University and the Johnson School at Cornell University.
Bajic said the organization wants “to grow our membership and make people who are our target aware of our services.”
Meanwhile, Ivy Exec has remained tied to Columbia since Bajic graduated. The firm partnered with the School of International and Public Affairs in the first of a series of alliances that will take their partnership program beyond business schools and into many other top graduate programs.
“We have a focus in the groups of jobs that SIPA needs,” said Bajic. “[We have] non-profit jobs that are appealing to them so it is a natural fit.”
Once participants become active members, they begin receiving alerts that are directly related to the career-seeking profile they have created, and can save their job searches or forward them to their inboxes to stay on top of their search.
Carpanelli-Hayes described the process as “proactive,” explaining that “these people usually sit next to the phone waiting for an executive to call them. We give them the tools to reach out to those jobs they want to pursue.”
Ivy Exec is currently fundraising and targeting primarily fellow Columbia Business School alumni, as well as investors in the New York City community. Carpanelli-Hayes also noted that the recession has ignited the need for the services they provide.
“It’s important to keep an eye on what’s going on out there—even if you have a job you’re going to have to be more proactive to keep an eye on the market,” said Carpanelli-Hayes. “Who knows what’s going to happen tomorrow.”