Student Tutoring Company Grows
February 10, 2017
Hoya Staff Writer
Outcome Tutoring, a company founded by Kevin Fleishman (MSB ’18) and Alejandro Ernst (MSB ’18), has expanded its service to Duke University, Emory University and The George Washington University, since its launch in February 2016.
Outcome Tutoring was founded to help facilitate the process of finding a tutor. Through its website, students can select the university they attend and view the subjects offered within their campus. They can then select a tutor and schedule a session at a convenient time and location.
Despite facing initial difficulties in advertising and spreading the word around campus about the service, Fleishman and Ernst succeeded in establishing Outcome Tutoring at Georgetown, currently managing 30 tutors in 19 different subjects.
In the summer of 2016 with a semester abroad at Barcelona right around the corner, the founders began planning the company’s future.
They approached Alec Ludwig, an undergraduate student at GWU whom they had met as freshmen and proposed expanding the service to this institution.
Ludwig accepted the proposal and learned how to use the software to establish the company at GWU, where he currently manages 18 tutors.
Ludwig said despite Fleishman and Ernst’s help, he had to adapt the business model to GWU’s environment to ensure the success of the company.
“I realized that it was a different school and there’s different baby steps to get it off the ground because it’s a totally different population of students. It’s very, very different,” Ludwig said.
For instance, Ludwig said despite attempting to market the service through flyers and word-of-mouth, he ultimately turned to social media, as students in GWU were more responsive to this form of advertising.
“I tried to copy the same steps they took but realized that it wasn’t the same people at GW, it was a totally different type of student,” Ludwig said. “The way we got it to take off was through social media.”
Despite the initial struggles, Ludwig said the service offered an enticing alternative to other tutoring services provided by the university.
“There is free tutoring, but it’s not a good system,” Ludwig said. “They’ll email you like ten minutes before you’re supposed to meet, every kid who we’ve had who’d also used the free tutoring has been unsatisfied with their tutors.”
According to Fleishman, the two founders continued considering further plans for expansion while in Barcelona. They identified Duke University and Emory University as ideal markets.
“So we started thinking about what the ideal school is, and, in Duke and in Emory, we saw a lot of the demographics matched up with the school work,” Fleischman said. “So we chose those schools based on a few criteria, according to the demographics there’s a similar population.”
Ernst added that they made friends at both institutions, all of whom helped them identify people who could conduct the service. Duke and Emory currently have 12 tutors each.
“When abroad, we made friends at Duke and Emory, and they connected us with sophomores that we hired,” Ernst said.
In order to ensure proper oversight of the company during their time abroad, Ernst and Fleischman hired Thomas Pescatore (COL ’17) as head of internal affairs and Matteson Beckis (MSB ’20) as director of marketing.
Pescatore, who became involved halfway through Outcome Tutoring’s first semester as a tutor, said that they plan to continue hiring representatives in order to expand to schools with similar demographics as Georgetown’s within the next two years.
“Ultimately, our goal in the short term or maybe next year or two is to find representatives and start growing into all the schools that represent a similar demographic to Georgetown,” Pescatore said.
Beckis, who became involved in the company through the Georgetown Advertising and Marketing Association, said that expanding promotion through creative methods is crucial to raising awareness.
“My whole thing has been just trying very hard to get in front of people in the most creative ways,” Beckis said. “We’re not just a tutoring company; we’re the best tutoring company, because you’re not just getting tutored in a subject. You’re getting tutored in a specific class.”
Fleishman said that they hope to further improve their technology and streamline their marketing in order to continue expanding.
“We’d definitely like to expand to more universities and then continue to improve our technology to make it easier for clients and tutors to streamline our marketing operation techniques, make it easier to expand, make it easier to operate the business on other campuses.”
Pescatore considered that the time and effort invested in the company have been reflected in its successful expansion.
“To see us now go from one school to two schools to four schools means a lot to me. I felt like I put a lot of time in last semester, and now it’s starting to pay off,” Pescatore said.
Fleishman noted that the process of constructing the business has taught him valuable lessons.
“There’s things you don’t necessarily think about, like the opening of a bank account and how the money circulates around the business, when the tutors got paid and when the managers got paid and all these technical things in just operating a business,” Fleishman said. “That’s why it’s been such an education. It’s not just tutoring.”