Many of the MBA students remember the journey of spending months if not years preparing for the applications of their dream schools – the numerous classroom visits, the endless nights of studying for the GMAT/GRE, the agony of interview prep, the multiple re-writes of application essays filled with comments from their trusted circle. Now, imagine that but in a language that is not in your native tongue, and information often passed to you in a second-handed manner while sitting behind a firewall. This was the experience of Danqing, founder of Beecoming, and the experience of many international students when they apply to graduate schools in the U.S. According to International Education, more than 1 million international students were hosted by the U.S in the 2019-2020 academic year, and it remains the top global destination for studying abroad. However, the process is far from easy, now exacerbated with COVID19.
Beecoming uses artificial intelligence and massive computer data model training to provide personalized and customized study abroad application services for oversea applicants, greatly decreasing the opaqueness of the process. Currently, the MVP product covers the top 16 business schools in the U.S. and is targeted at the Chinese applicant pool – the largest segment of international students studying in the U.S. The application includes features such as data-generated personal matching, competitiveness analysis, school visual comparisons and one click apply. The users get a chance to input personal preferences such as weather, opportunity to stay in the U.S., or maturity of post-MBA industries. After entering some basic academic information, the platform provides an analysis of how competitive the individual ranks against historical data, and once the gap is identified, an action plan to close the gap. It also offers a platform to organize the application process, from application schedule and time management to allowing multiple people to easily collaborate on the same essay. Additionally, Beecoming also organizes events where users can receive coaching from current students and hear directly from the admissions offices.
Danqing reflects on the story of a friend whose dream was to become a pilot. Here we will call him, John. John passed a rigorous physical exam at a year where only 5% of the 2,000 applicants were able to. However, he did not get into the pilot university because of a low score on a single exam he took. He shared with Danqing that this will be a dream forever as it would never come true. He understood to have a second shot, he would need a higher degree at a better university. Many years passed, and John never revisited the idea until Danqing encouraged him to network and find more information on various airlines. He eventually received a pilot job offer from a small airline, and his incumbent company made an exception to hire him as a pilot despite his lower degree and years after, he became a captain. Beecoming is on a mission to help others achieve their potential by democratizing information so individuals can take the next step in their life through education. Although John was able to achieve his dream without the traditional education, Danqing shared other stories of international students who thought they were too old, didn’t have the financial means, or didn’t have the confidence to navigate the complex application process.
In order to continuously provide more value to its users, Beecoming understands the critical role universities play early in its startup journey. COVID has provided new opportunities to disrupt the existing partnerships in the industry it is trying to break into. Universities are often reluctant to accept new partnerships and have robust relationships with their original partners. However, the traditional agencies are now slow to adapt to the new COVID environment.
At the core of Beecoming is providing the needed information to empower individuals to make sound decisions and it does so through an aggregation of elusive data and giving structure to the daunting application process. Beecoming believes that this model is highly replicable. Currently, it partners closely with a handful of top universities with expansion plans into additional universities, and eventually to entities outside of the U.S. Beecoming was accepted into Amazon’s AWS EdStart Accelerator and UC Launch Spring Cohort 2021. Some recent tractions includes a potential partnership with the leading forum in China for study abroad students with more than 1 million members, a partnership with Berkeley Haas School of Business and a feature on the Berkeley Haas Newsroom - it recently hosted 3 events where more than a hundred students attended.