An Online Career Platform Seeks B-School Partnerships For New Alumni-Focused Program

Whomi CEO John Gordon speaks at the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee. Courtesy photo

For better or worse, the average person spends nearly 90,000 hours of their life working. And for this reason alone, former IBM executive John Gordon asks: Why not be intentional about considering all your career options?

Gordon, an MBA grad from the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business, left the corporate world to launch the online career planning service Whomi (which Poets&Quants previously wrote about here). Gordon says the self-guided platform works similarly to how TurboTax helps you think through your taxes; among Whomi’s various features is a prompt of simple questions helping professionals break down their career goals.

“I love that example; I mean, the last thing you want is to feel like you’re doing your taxes, but unfortunately, you know, building your career is probably equally complex with a lot of areas, so it helps,” Gordon tells Poets&Quants in an interview.


“We see the value for business schools as being lifetime career support,” says Whomi CEO and Founder John Gordon

The idea behind Whomi, which was launched in 2022, is that while most business schools offer vast resources for students to find jobs while at school or immediately after graduation, universities need help bringing career services at scale to alumni. In its second year of operating, Whomi is launching its university partnership program where the premium version offers schools more branding features on Whomi, as well as a way to customize the users’ experience around the career opportunities and resources schools offer.

A regular Whomi user joins free, and career planning is accessible to anyone after signing-up with an email. Whomi previously monetized as a free platform that offered paid upgrades and features, but now, according to Gordon, it uses a “pay what you can” model that has since changed to accommodate workers in tech who may have been laid off. The platform allows users to explore different career options or roles. It guides you in this process by helping create resumes that are specific to a certain kind of role you want, rather than a notation of personal history.

This month EdTech Breakthrough named Whomi the “Career Development Solution of the Year,” calling it unique for enabling alumni to pursue or target multiple career options while “keeping the universities and their existing alumni networks front and center.”

The partnership program, announced last month, has both a free and premium option for universities. Paying $1,999 a year enables universities to set a custom landing page, link to their alumni portal or promote events through Whomi. Some partners secured so far include the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, Mays School of Business at Texas A&M University, College of the Holy Cross and Quantic School of Business and Technology. The service also offers a free tier that essentially teaches alumni and students how to use the self-guided platform.

“Our goal now since we’ve launched this is, we’d love to help especially MBA programs, because graduates tend to be some of the most ambitious while also having the most variety in their career paths,” Gordon says.


Whomi’s mission is to help professionals define their options in the career world. Ryan Retartha, director of alumni relations at the Mendoza College, says this goal has never been more pertinent with the advent of flexible and remote work that’s completely changed what’s possible.

From a webinar, John Gordon, left, and Ryan Retartha, director of Alumni Relations at Mendoza, right, hosted jointly on the Whomi and Mendoza partnership

“This opportunity radically changes the number of potential companies to work for, so it makes you think about what kind of work you want to do. We want to help our alumni given this changing workplace,” he tells P&Qs.

Mendoza has a network of nearly 50,000 male and female alumni, and on a logistical note, Retartha points out that much of the community is global. Connecting in varied time zones or providing career services to all parts of the world can be logistically tricky, he says, which is a why an online platform like Whomi is useful. Plus, the flexibility in the model really resonates with alums, he says.

“For alumni, [career planning] has to happen off campus, it’s the kind of thing where you need to be very self-motivated, because you are working, you have a busy life. So, we certainty do Zoom workshops, but the idea is having a platform that allows our alumni to career plan on their time,” he says.


Gordon also worked as an executive at General Electric, Bose Corporation and Lenovo. He originally started Whomi when he couldn’t find the time to meet with all the people asking for help with their careers. He created something intending to bring career planning services to a larger scale in its programmatic form.

There are essentially three parts to the self-guided process. When you enter the site, it’s all about establishing you have more than one career path. Through a list of multiple-choice questions, Whomi helps you define what roles suit you. (For example, Gordon has at least six different resume profiles, including ones for board member, general manager, and chief strategy officer.) Part two is about setting yourself apart from competition and telling a story about why you’re a good fit for a job. As Gordon puts it: “It’s so important to think about your resume and your story as your qualifications for a role … but it’s not your personal history. So we want people to put their best foot forward for all the different things they can do.”

The last section engages the Whomi users in networking skills to teach them how to reach out to their peers.

“We fully believe that, especially as you get more senior, jobs come from a network and a lot of people that we’re helping are finding jobs that aren’t even posted yet by learning how to engage their network,” Gordon says.

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