College dating 101
Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
With the new age of technology and advancement of the online community, everything can be done on the Internet. Time is a very large concern for college students as they balance classes, work and participating in clubs. Most college students are always scraping for more time for activities.
One of them is dating.
An undergraduate UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences student was having trouble finding a suitable significant other – until he signed up for DateMySchool, where he goes by “Alexandropz.”
DateMySchool is a new way for single college students – who don’t have the time to go out and look for dates – to meet new people, according to Alexandropz. Instead, DateMySchool.com brings the dates to the students.
Alexandropz said the website is extremely timesaving and helpful.
“I started using it last May after I broke up with my girlfriend,” Alexandropz said. “I wanted to try to find a pretty, smart girl who was actually going to college. All of the girls presumably go to college and that already puts them up several notches, as opposed to girls who don’t. Also, girls get a chance to meet guys that are very likely to be successful in their lives.”
Balazs Alexa and Jean Meyer, both Columbia Business School graduates, founded DateMySchool.com in Nov. 2010. It started as a dating site exclusively for Columbia University students. It was recently featured as about.com’s 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards’ Best College Dating Site and Best Free Dating Site. The website even beat OkCupid, according to Melanie Wallner, a New York University graduate and DateMySchool’s public relations director.
“Jean and I met at Columbia and we knew we wanted to build a startup,” Alexa said. “We wanted freedom.”
They wanted freedom to make their own decisions without restriction from others, according to Alexa.
After a student in Columbia’s nursing school complained about the hassle of meeting guys outside her department – which according to Alexa, was 90 percent female – Alexa and Meyer knew they had to find a solution to the problem.
That’s when DateMySchool was created.
Within the first week of the site’s launch, 5 percent of Columbia’s student body opened an account. This lead to the spread of DateMySchool to other Ivy League campuses and over 50 other campuses in New York – including UB, Buffalo Sate and Canisius.
“My mom sent me The New York Times article on DateMySchool,” Wallner said. “[She] said, ‘Melanie, this sounds interesting. Maybe you should try this to find a straight guy and get a job.’”
After having no luck finding dates, Wallner gave DateMySchool a shot to find her the perfect guy. She has been a member of DateMySchool since March 2011 and is constantly meeting new potential boyfriends.
As the director of public relations, Wallner leads on-campus marketing initiatives and campus tours to increase the awareness of DateMySchool nationwide. In every new company, tough obstacles are bound to arise, according to Alexa, and with the competitive online dating platform, succeeding is one of the greatest challenges.
“The toughest obstacle is what every startup faces: how to be the 1 percent of startups to succeed,” Alexa said. “Ninety-nine percent fail, so the odds are not good, but so far, I think we’re the 1 percent.”
Since the duo are close friends and co-partners in running the site, both Alexa and Meyer work together constantly to improve DateMySchool and keep up with their success.
Neither gentleman is new to the entrepreneur scene. Alexa was a strategy consultant for McKinsey & Company and co-founded a media venture similar to Hulu, back in his hometown in Hungary.
To Alexa, having the freedom and uncertaint, and not knowing what’s going to happen is one of the most enjoyable parts of working with DateMySchool.
Meyer on the other hand, who Alexa describes as a “tech genius,” launched Bankexam, which is one of the top three French education sites.
“Jean and I are very different people, and that helps us to see the same opportunities, achievements and issues through unique perspectives,” Alexa said. “Our refusal to settle or blindly agree on anything has made our product the safest, most private and efficient social platform out there.”
Since Nov. 2010, DateMySchool has expanded to over 1,000 schools nationwide, and increased its users to more than 125,000 – all while enhancing DateMySchool’s safety, privacy and efficiency.
Though some members haven’t has as much luck as Wallner has with finding dates, the search continues, and as the members increase, so do the chances of meeting “the one.”
“I’ve messaged girls who go to UB, but the conversations rarely went further than a few messages, if I got a response at all,” Alexandropz said. “The trend seems that girls are afraid to actually meet people that go to their school, so conversations with girls from far away usually came pretty easy. I’m good looking but I haven’t met anyone yet.”
As DateMySchool continues to make strides toward success with future plans of expanding internationally in the fall of 2013, building something worthy and prolific is the main objective in trying to make the site a self-sustained company.
“Right now, we’re focused on building the safest, most private and efficient dating platform out there, not our net worth,” Alexa said.
Although running DateMySchool takes up a lot of Alexa’s time, he still enjoys watching Sci-Fi movies and playing sports. As for those aspiring to build a site or dream of becoming an entrepreneur in general, his only advice is to, “stick with Nike’s advice and just do it.”