Daniel Mullaney’s family joked that he would wind up pondering the mysteries of life on a mountaintop. He’d opted to double major in philosophy and premed for his undergraduate degree at Georgetown University.
While Mullaney didn’t exactly end up on the slopes of the Himalayas, his penchant for seeking answers led him back to Georgetown – this time to the McDonough School of Business – and eventually to the steel and glass peaks of Dubai for a class project. Here, Mullaney experienced his mountaintop revelation – a website connecting MBAs to employment opportunities worldwide.
As part of Georgetown’s required international consulting project, he’d teamed up with four other students to draft a business plan for United Arab Emirates communications provider Mobily, which was looking to expand into the business-to-business sector. Mullaney was struck by the expertise the MBA students brought to the table. His team researched the market, outlined opportunities and drafted recommendations for the company.
He recalled his own startup venture in 2005, an automated mortgage qualification service that never took off. Maybe if he’d had a team of MBA students pitch in, the business could have succeeded. “I saw the type of work that was delivered from the projects, and I thought back to my own shortcomings in the previous startup,” he says. “I could have used the type of invaluable output that was provided by the students.”
ALIGNING PROJECTS AND JOBS WITH MBA STUDENTS AND GRADS
On the flip side, freelance gigs could provide MBAs with invaluable experience and extra cash. “I felt like there was an opportunity to align a startup with an MBA student base – there’s just goal alignment there,” he says. “MBAs are able to provide the expertise required and startups need that, and they also need it at a fraction of the cost.”
Voila! MBA Project Search was born.
Mullaney, 34, envisioned a site similar to Monster.com or Careerbuilder.com – but strictly for MBA students. It would reach businesses and business savvy registrants worldwide. Employers would post opportunities, from freelance projects and internships to full-time jobs. MBAs would apply for them, and the employer would select the best fit.
Mullaney wrapped up his studies at Georgetown in May 2012 and then “jumped right in.” He recruited four other Georgetown graduates, including his older brother. Surprisingly, he’s the only MBA among them. “We wanted a multidisciplinary approach,” he says.
The team first launched the site in August 2012 as a bidding platform – employers posted projects and their budgets, and students attempted to underbid each other. But the bidding concept caused too much confusion so the team went back to the drawing board. They launched the second iteration only a month later. “We made some pretty dramatic changes, and at this point the site functions as a typical job site with a quality control element,” Mullaney says.
SOME 1,100 FREELANCE ASSIGNMENTS, INTERNSHIPS AND JOBS FOR MBAS
On a recent visit, MBA Project Search boasted more than 1100 opportunities—a mix of freelance jobs, internships and full-time employment. Postings range from a business partner opportunity at Superfoodium, a startup that produces vegan health bars, to an accountant opening at The Siegfried Group. The vast majority are paid. Mullaney estimates the site is growing by roughly a dozen new registrants per day. A recent freelance project to work remotely for a business consulting firm attracted more than 300 applicants, many from among the top business schools, he says.