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Savvy business grads market themselves, products

Gone are the days of red circles around want ads in a newspaper. Technology has introduced creative ways to solicit and apply for jobs; companies list interview opportunities on websites, expanding the possibilities for employment by advertising nationwide. Now landing a job comes down to being able to stand out from the crowd and catch the eye of employers. In an increasingly competitive job market, students fresh out of college are finding it necessary to approach job-hunting in unconventional ways.

Innovative eBay item…

UM graduate Jason Kobrin completed a degree in Business Administration in May of 2003. Instead of mulling through openings for an appealing job, Kobrin took a novel approach by listing himself on eBay. The bidding started at $65,000 for one year of his work in any type of marketing or risk-assessment company.

Kobrin felt his creative initiative would give him a competitive edge that employers would translate to an ability to be inventive in his profession, making him an asset to any business.

“I saw that a guy sold the rights to his forehead for $37,000 for 30 days. After seeing that, I realized I have more to offer than just my forehead,” Kobrin said. “I understand that the best jobs in the industry are generally not at career fairs or even posted on websites.”

Despite having 1,901 hits during the ten-day listing, no serious bidders surfaced. However, Kobrin received several emails that acknowledged his creativity and boldness. He even caught the attention of eBay President Bill Cobb, whose assistant informed Kobrin he was welcome to a job in their company.

Kobrin is finishing his MBA at Nova Southeastern University and is still looking for an enticing job; he may even re-list on eBay.

College Junktion: student produced

Others bypass the hiring process with innovative ideas and launch their own companies.

Just four months ago, five current UM students got an early start by launching their own business. MiamiMerchants.com is a web-based company that focuses on the needs of college students, including its auction website, College Junktion.

The company is made up of President and CEO Jason Baptiste, sophomore; Vice President Joel Glenn, junior; CFO Benjamin Horwitz, freshman; Head of Public and Media Relations Margaret Scott, freshman; and Director of Collegiate Relations Urie Norris, freshman.

EBay’s newest competitor, open only to college students with an “edu” email address, debuted the same day eBay upped listing prices. Listing prices on College Junktion are often free and never exceed $3. Allowing only student sellers could mean the possibility of transferring goods without shipping costs since items purchased can be picked up in person.

College Junktion is just the start for the young entrepreneurs of MiamiMerchants.com. Future plans include social networking features, a partnership with StormPay, and a non-auction e-commerce website.

“Always be confident in your professional abilities and trust your intuition,” Scott said. “Your career should be on your terms.”

Stacey Arnold can be contacted at s.arnold@umiami.edu.

March 1, 2005

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.