Resident Spotlight: VersionTwo

Nov 9, 2018

Resumes, interviews, jobs, oh my!Career search processes can often feel daunting and complicated. VersionTwo is a new startup that focuses on giving young people access to comprehensive and affordable career coaching.The Garage sat down with founder Sruti Bharat (Kellogg ’19) to get the scoop.The following interview has been condensed for length and clarity.What is VersionTwo’s goal? My vision is that young people have a resource at the most pivotal career moments. When you graduate, it’s a very lonely time. You don’t have a career center anymore. As for the goal for this year, I really see this as a small business. I see this as something I want to test and learn from. If I could scale this to be a platform that I could keep as a side-hustle, I would see that as a huge success for this year.How does the career coaching process work?Right now we have three different models. One of them is modules of content that are very structured, like a curriculum you go through to get prepared for the job hunt. We have exercises [and] tools—very practical things that we’ve used ourselves in our MBA programs. The next level of access is if you want to interact with a coach. The last offering, which we haven’t done yet, is a bootcamp. The moment I sense that people who are unemployed and really need this help are open to a bootcamp, we’ll do it.What differentiates VersionTwo from other career advancement resources? Once you are working, you can pay hundreds of dollars an hour, if you have it, for a career coach, but most young people don’t. They actually just need to talk to someone that’s in their field. A lot of the mentor coaches that we have are MBA students or young professionals who are a few years ahead of the people looking. We’re trying to build that relationship, which I would say is a bit different from anything else I’ve seen.What inspired VersionTwo?I’m at Kellogg right now, and I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur. I always thought I would work for a big company. But then at Kellogg I took the New Venture series and I really liked it. I TA’d for the professor and I supported 11 startups as they developed their business model. I want to do something for my own idea because the investment of time and resources is so much that you want to be passionate about the mission. I’ve always been really interested in coaching and have helped a lot of people younger than myself think about their careers.How has The Garage impacted your journey with VersionTwo? The Garage has been huge. As an individual entrepreneur, I really needed an ecosystem to plug into and a community of people [who] are also hustling in the same way. Being here around people who are working on their ideas is inspiring. I think the second thing is the access to mentors and resources. I’ve found the family dinners just by themselves to be something I look forward to every week.What has been the most enjoyable part of the process?I am doing this because it’s a passion of mine. For me, the impact is talking to these young people who are trying to change their careers and then hearing them say things like, “This wasn’t just a resume review. You helped me discover my passion.” That is the most rewarding part of it. And it’s just fun to build something from scratch that’s my own.Who is an entrepreneur that inspires you? My professor really lit the fire for being an entrepreneur. It was Rick Desai. He teaches at Kellogg. I’ve never had someone who trusted my ideas so much and said, “Of course you have it in you to be an entrepreneur.” I had never thought of myself that way. The fact that someone else could see that and suggest it was pretty awesome.Is there anything else you want to add?I’m really glad that The Garage has more women this year. There are so many systemic barriers for women entrepreneurs. I've really been trying to challenge any mental barriers within myself, but I'm glad to see that the systemic ones are being tackled by The Garage.Megan Lebowitz is a freshman majoring in journalism. She is a reporter for Northwestern News Network and loves storytelling in all forms. She is from Cleveland, Ohio.

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