In April, 2005, Eric Bahn (a Stanford undergrad at the time) started Beat The Gmat as a blog about his efforts to study for the GMAT. It morphed into a general test-prep site attracting about 2 million student visitors a month. Today, it is launching MBA Watch, which finally gives some teeth to its claim to be the “Social Network For MBAs.”
MBA Watch tries to pull together all the information about business schools and applicants in one place. MBA hopefuls can follow different schools like Harvard, Stanford, or Wharton (the site launches with 20 top business schools today). It creates the equivalent of a Facebook Wall for each school, pulling in official blog posts, Facebook Fan page updates, and Tweets about the school. You can toggle the stream between official sources and everyone talking about the school. The site also pulls together general stats like number of applicants, range of GMAT scores, and student demographics, as well as rankings and articles.
On the applicant side, MBA Watch encourages members to share their own stats so that everyone can see who they are competing against. For each school, it will show a snapshot of average GMAT scores, average age, average years of work experience, and breakdowns by industry and college major. While not everyone applying for an MBA will feel comfortable sharing this kind of information, many already do on Beat The GMAT’s active forums. With MBA Watch, it is simply structuring that data and showing aggregate scores.
Beat the GMAT already attracts an active community of pre-MBAs, and makes most of its money from sending students to formal test prep courses. With only four employees, it is on track to make between 700,000 to $1 million in revenues this year, up from $500,000 last year. And it’s completely bootstrapped. “I’ve only put $4 into the business to buy the Beat the GMAT domain name for 6 months,” says Bahn. He teamed up with David Park, a former McKinsey consultant with a computer science degree from MIT and a Harvard Law degree, who is now CEO. “Neither of us ever went to business school,” says Park.