Students at the NYU Stern Undergraduate College often come to campus with impressive plans for the future, or use their Stern experience to realize their goals. Erik Kimel (BS ’08) was no exception -- he had already laid the groundwork for his own businesses when he arrived at Stern.
As a seventeen-year-old high school senior, Kimel founded Peer2Peer Tutors in 2003 with $50 he earned serving pizza at a local restaurant. His business, based in the Washington D.C. area, connected teenage tutors with struggling middle-school students looking for help in school at an affordable rate. Over the course of the next nine years, including during his time at Stern, Kimel’s startup expanded nationally and was featured by media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and CNN.
Kimel spoke about his experiences as an entrepreneur, his Stern experience, and his current professional ventures during a recent Dean’s Leadership Roundtable discussion with students.
“Everything I learned in class applied directly to running my business — financial accounting, presentations, all of it,” says Kimel, whose concentrations at Stern included finance and management. “What I learned in class translated into what I did out of class.”
Kimel further honed his skills outside of the classroom – he served as the president of the Entrepreneurial Exchange Group (EEG), participated in the Stern Business Plan Competition, and co-founded The Little Café, a snack and coffee shop located on the third floor of Tisch Hall in the heart of Stern’s student study lounges. He also took advantage of the professional opportunities available at Stern and in New York City, taking on internships to improve his skillset.
“I did an internship in human resources at Barclays to learn how to manage people and work with people more effectively,” says Kimel.
By 2012, Peer2Peer was acquired by a larger college admissions and test prep company. At the time, Kimel’s business had created over 5,000 youth jobs and 5,000 customer relationships, and the acquisition led to the rapid expansion of the business from 12 to 27 sites nationwide. After the 14-month integration period, he made the decision to step away from the project he founded to take a break, and look for a new challenge.
Today, Kimel is the Director of Brand Activations for Harry's, an innovative direct-to-consumer men's grooming brand, dedicated to delivering a better shaving experience. Harry's offers affordable, high quality, German razor blades, shave cream, shave gel, and after shave moisturizer.
Kimel closed his remarks to the room of eager undergraduate students attending the Dean’s Leadership Roundtable by emphasizing the importance of investing time and energy into Stern after graduation.
“It’s important to me to spend time here at Stern, because I learned so much and grew so much in this building and through this experience,” says Kimel.
Harry’s also runs the H’university program, which aims to help college students get ready for the real world by teaching them valuable skills they can't learn in class while connecting them to internship opportunities at like-minded companies that value those skills. H’university participants have discussions with top-tier entrepreneurs during weekly hour-long webinars, and the program also connects students with internship opportunities. It’s all completely free for students, and run as part of Harry’s social mission to help get people ready for what’s next.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014