Entrepreneur Profile: EiAbroad - Elite Daily

For members of Generation-Y, attaining success and establishing yourself in any industry now involves a different route than it did for generations before us. In times past, the best and most talented in the business world would rise to the top and the weak would sink to a state of inertia at the bottom.

Unfortunately, this is no longer the case as the path to get to the top has become much more complex. In fact, just to get into the environment or system necessary to chase success is incredibly challenging.

That is where EiAbroad comes in. EiAbroad understands the complexities of trying to establish yourself in 2012. And not only do they know what it takes, but they will help you get there: essentially giving you a valuable "road map" to navigate through your ambitions.

If your dream is to have that CEO plaque on the door to your Goldman Sachs office, then you already know how essential EiAbroad's services can be, since prerequisites to just get in the door of these places rely on you having a long list of personal connections and an Ivy League diploma.

But thankfully, EiAbroad has developed a proven system and service that overcomes these boundaries and can help you succeed in any industry or career. Elite Daily had the opportunity to sit down with Johnny Ayers, NYC Director of EiAbroad. Here is our interview:

What is EiAbroad?

EiAbroad is a global platform developed to improve ambitious young adults’ ability to influence without necessarily being in a position of authority while overcoming barriers to thinking innovatively. EiAbroad provides an invaluable service that not only betters your chance of success in the marketplace, but also helps you become more qualified and prepared as an individual competing with so many of your peers.

How does EiAbroad work and what services does it offer to accomplish this?

EiAbroad provides access to a panel of world leaders in a variety of industries, and a community offering domestic and international internships, study abroad and professional development programs around the world. Currently located in 7 cities globally, EiAbroad provides a soup-to-nuts service that includes a guaranteed internship placement in the field of your interest, fully furnished accommodations for the duration of the internship, visa guidance, cultural excursions, and more. Our suite of services extends to the social and professional aspect of our customer’s experience for the summer, as we offer an experience that you truly cannot make for yourself or get anywhere else. Whether its helping you prepare for a career at Goldman Sachs through our diverse network and expertise or simply providing an unforgettable experience this summer, EiAbroad is the premier destination for those looking to prepare for a success-filled professional life after college.

Who are the faces behind EiAbroad and can you tell us a little about yourselves?

We have a very talented international team of individuals. In each city there is a program director that acts as the leader of their respective professional development program. I am the New York City Director. Before I joined EiAbroad, I played football and baseball while receiving a Bachelors and Masters degree in Finance at Boston College followed by a two year stint as a Senior Financial Consultant within IBM’s Global Business Services. The Managing Director at EiAbroad is Alieu Terry. Alieu played soccer and graduated from Rutgers University before trading on the Delta One team for four years at Merrill Lynch. He decided to leave the financial sector in order to pursue a passion for developing cross-cultural experiential learning and CSR initiatives globally.

Given all your unique backgrounds, what made you choose this industry to launch your venture?

We understand the value and importance of internships in today’s stagnant global economy as employers now expect potential hires to have 3 or 4 strong internships. We want to make finding the right internship easier for students all over the world.
We strive to provide people with the opportunity to find a career path that coincides with their interests and passions while also allowing them to explore the global economy.  Through our own experiences working in an array of fields, we have discovered how crucial it is to pursue something you really enjoy.  We hope to extend this belief on today’s generation and use our internship program to help them reach their larger career goals.

Entrepreneurship has become critical to the economy in 2012, and it seems as though there has never been such a prime opportunity for it. What made you guys leave the comfort of the corporate world for a risky venture such as this?

Looking at the internship programs that have been developed at the world’s best and most innovative financial and technological institutions, we saw a major shift in how talent was perceived, recruited and developed. As such, we hoped to create an international professional development program that gave everyone the opportunity to find their personal passion while also beginning to develop the global skills needed to succeed in today’s economy. In the last fifteen years study abroad has grown from around 50,000 students to 300,000 students per year and with only 30,000 students interning abroad per year we see this industry ripe for staggering growth.  There have been a number of companies in our industry that have emerged over the last seven or eight years but we feel that the industry is ripe for disruption by a team of young professionals like ourselves.

Again, given your unique backgrounds, EiAbroad’s management is very multi-talented. How does this add value to the company?

As any strong team is being assembled, there should be a very diverse set of skills, strengths, and weaknesses that will complement and support each other.  With experience in finance, technology, human resources, and operational efficiency, the EiAbroad team is able to attack any given problem from multiple angles because of our varying degrees of expertise. Also, living in New York City has afforded us the unique opportunity to befriend and work with some of the smartest people in the world. We have been very fortunate and blessed to have mentors and advisors like Brad Leinhardt of SOCURE and Scott Belsky of Behance.net that have selflessly lent their invaluable expertise and sound advice to the EiAbroad team.

With any startup, there are naturally some tough obstacles and boundaries that need to be overcome. Was this the case for EiAbroad, and if so, what were they and how did EiAbroad persevere?

A big hurdle with any startup is the age-old debate of when to raise money and how much.   We were fortunate enough to have been able to grow organically to date.  One of the largest challenges that we have had to overcome is in regards to cash flow management. With any small business, cash flow is key and its even more key in such a seasonally cyclical business as ours.  We evolved to offer six month programs, discounts, rewards, and scholarships to ensure that our business continues to grow effectively and operate smoothly.

Can you give some advice to our ambitious readers about those imperative first steps that need to be taken initially to launch a successful venture of any kind?

Don’t be afraid to fail.  If you truly believe in something just begin to build it.  A business plan is obsolete the minute that you press print.  Understand the market that you are going after, be able to describe what problem it is you are solving and then just go do it! Pick your head up in six months and you’ll be amazed with what you have been able to create.

 

In general, what do you think are the top 3 tips for success for an entrepreneur?

1.  Great ideas are worthless.  Don’t worry about anyone stealing your billion dollar idea as there have probably been hundreds of people with that same idea. If anything you should talk about your ideas as much as possible with your potential customers and friends, as their feedback will most likely be the best consulting advice you can find, free of charge. 2.  Stop messing around, stop deliberating an idea, get out there and go make a name for yourself. 3.  The name of the game is execution. Great ideas are worthless without proper execution.

 

What steps need to be taken to reach EiAbroad's goals for the future?

We want to continue to offer students and young professionals internationally the opportunity to step outside of their comfort zone in a new city, explore a career goal and pursue their passion in a particular industry. To reach a larger university audience, we will continue to develop partnerships and affiliate relationships with universities around the world and serve as the resident career and professional development expert for sites and news sources like Elite Daily.

Why should a success-driven college student or reader from Elite Daily use EiAbroad’s services?

Most importantly, you will undoubtedly be closer to reaching for goals of success and establishment after a summer with EiAbroad.  We look for the most talented individuals from all over the world that are seeking to gain a leg up on their peers by working at organizations like Louis Vuitton, Bottega Veneta, Bank of America, and the International Chamber of Commerce. By offering an industry-leading professional development program - in conjunction with the internship - we are able to ensure that each individual in our program maximizes their experience while also appreciating life in some of the greatest cities in the world. If you are highly motivated and have ambitious goals that you have set for yourself, EiAbroad will aid you in achieving that more than anyone or any other service can.

 

Who or what company would you like to see EiAbroad collaborate with in the future?

EiAbroad has developed and is currently working on a number of tremendous collaborations both inside our industry and out.  We currently have collaborations with the charities Falling Whistles and 100Cameras, social media security company SOCURE and numerous artists through our EiAbroad gallery. High on the list at the moment would certainly have to be Lauren Berger from Intern Queen and the geniuses at Elite Daily!

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