Mihaylo College of Business and Economics recently hosted the California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) Business Plan Competition. The competition featured 18 competing groups. One of those groups was led by Brent Maxinoski and Cayman Elkin, who pitched an online platform that would pair students with peer tutors.
Maxinoski and Elkins placed fourth in the competition and were inspired to take steps to turn their pitch into a functioning entity. The business is different from other tutoring programs, because it pairs students with other students who have excelled in the class with which the client is struggling, rather than pairing them with a grad student who is not familiar with the curriculum. Maxinoski had the idea for the business while studying for an accounting exam.
“I just realized … I would much rather just pay some small or affordable amount to a peer who was either in the same class as me or had taken the same class as me, and done well in it, to help me understand the concepts and do well on the exam, rather than paying 75-80 bucks for a professional grad-degree-type tutor,” Maxinoski, the startup’s CEO, said.
There is a great deal of support for the startup, which the team is calling “Wecademi,” at CSUF. Professors believe an affordable tutoring system that involves students versed in the curriculum could decrease the considerable no-pass rates of core classes, and consequently improve graduation rates.
According to Elkin, this program is promising because it is pairing students with tutors who are familiar with the class, rubrics, and exam formats.
“Just because you get an accounting tutor who’s a CPA, that doesn’t mean they can help you in CSUF Accounting 201A, because they might not know the exact material and they might not know the curriculum. But if you have someone who just took that class last semester and got an A in that, they can convey that material,” Elkin said.
The website is currently up and running, though the team is still open to obtaining feedback and making improvements.