College, Communities & Careers
Home From College is where companies access and connect with students for all of their recruiting & marketing needs.
Julia Haber is the Founder and CEO of Home From College: “ the new career home-base built for Gen Z.” A former team member at Snapchat and Spotify, she thrives in the world of technology and communication, more importantly how we as humans interact with the ever changing digital world.
This is more true now than ever before, with Gen Z or college students looking to land their first big job. This comes only 2 years after a pandemic has resulted in a world of networking and connections in career development to take a big shift. It was hard enough to be seen in a pool of applications, now with less human connection and networking, the game has changed! Here steps in Julia and Home From College platform!
We very much look forward to connecting with Julia and giving our ambassador community direct, exclusive access to one of the brains behind a new age of career building platforms for current and graduating college students
Eve #wealthwednesday Highlight 56:Julia Haber, Founder & CEO of Home From College
Can you share a bit about yourself?
My background was in building brands and communities for college students, particularly Gen Z. I spent some time at Spotify and Snapchat on sales and marketing earlier in my career. My first business is an experiential agency focused on college students. Currently, I’m running my business called Home from College, a career development platform built specifically for Gen Z that serves as a connector between students and companies. We call ourselves “GAAS” which means Gen Z Access as a Service. It's a combination of supporting big and small businesses, connecting to Gen Z and college students, and a hybrid of marketing and recruiting.
What was your first investment?
I was always passionate about the fashion industry. I love design and retail. I worked in fashion PR but realized I’m not cut out for that world. I spent some time working at Spotify and ended up saving money for the first time in a real substantial way. There was this expensive YSL bag that I had spotted for a long time and I finally bought it. It was my first investment as it was the first time I put money towards something I could tangibly see the results in quickly. That experience was important to me in that younger instinct gratification phase. My family doesn’t agree with my choice in terms of where and how I spent the money but it was a great token and moment from an earlier point in my career.
How/why did you get into your space?
I was in Snapchat and witnessed key monetization. Companies were spending so much to reach the younger demographic. This was a large question mark and the numbers that I would see were astronomical but I always believed that nothing is more important than human connections and relationships. I saw an opportunity to take the ethos of companies and bring them to campuses in markets in the third and fourth tier. We created wave as an access point for companies to directly market to Gen Z through these physical 40-foot trailer activations. We built relationships with over a hundred college campuses across the country. Brands like Shopify, Refinery 29, and Google could come to campus and activate. It is tailored to be a student first and educational driven. It was an interesting differentiator but married the needs of companies wanting to demo and provide value to the consumer.
The company grew, and we had taken out capital-intensive and physical approaches to in-person activations. We were building physical spaces on college campuses and had a number of leases signed across the country. March 15th, when the world completely turned. I said to my Co-Founder and team,” There’s no way everything we just spent will ever exist, let's get out everything” but then I suddenly thought that every student just went home from college. I saw an opportunity to be a home for a career for Gen Z and college students. We threw up a landing page homefromcollege.com and it exploded. The resonance in terms of being a place to start your career and having a home for where you belong in a time where everyone was displaced really resonated, particularly with people who are going to college to start something new and start a new experience. And here they are home in their childhood beds. Again. So it was a moment that we were able to really lean in and take this pain point first approach to serve them.
What role do you play in the wealth space and why is it important?
The concept of wealth has evolved over the last three years. In terms of transparency to salaries, how internships are not compensated, and federal legality that Gen Z is advocating for what they financially deserve.
We’re seeing huge hiring freezes and firing sprints but then a need for new talents. It’s an evolving ecosystem. Wealth is where people have multiple streams of income, Gen Z must be paid for their services, and transparency to the process must be present.
One of our core products in HomeFromCollege is a gig in which companies and students connect through different opportunities. Our platform is student-first and we are transparent about where a student stands in the applicant pool. It will show the number of work hours and its compensation upfront. That resonates so much because people need to plan for their lives financially. That is the theme for Gen Z that I think companies will begin to adopt.
We’re doing a series right now called Female Futures, it’s a scalable mentor program where we combine groups of five to seven students with successful leaders with big platforms like Rebecca Minkoff, Heidi Zak, and Aija Mayrock.
One of the most common questions we ever get from students is impostor syndrome. “What if I don’t have the skills?”, “I got placed in a gig but I don’t think I’m capable of doing it.”. 90% of college students graduate without having an internship. These micro experiences are the foundation of teaching how to build relationships in the first format you've ever done professionally, showing a student what they like and don't like by making it accessible and scaleable. We want to give that foundational level of confidence and relationship access that doesn’t typically exist. We’re hoping to make that start earlier in people’s careers.
What do you believe is the most exciting thing you’ve learned and want others to know?
Every company is better off by having their target audience sitting at the table with them as they’re making critical decisions. Recently, It hasn’t been scaleable to get access to your audience and bring them to the table. Our whole thesis is to make it affordable and scalable in a SAAS capacity. I want to reach surfers in Southern California who are passionate about sustainability and are finance majors. You can sit in a room virtually for 45 minutes and test your campaign. That will be a game changer.
The way we built our platform is to be a student-first experience. We want students to feel like they’re talking to their cool older sister or brother instead of a parent telling them to get a job or a university with a high negative authority figure. We want to embody this cool older sister or brother persona as someone that you will trust, spend time with, and could help you but not be overbearing.
We have groups between 50 to hundred students that we meet bi-weekly to talk about new product features that we’re launching to get their opinion. Companies can do this on our platform through gigs, they can list an advisory gig or a product testing role and then meet with hundreds of students that are their exact archetype by going through the backend of our platform and finding them.
Is there a person or a company that’s really inspired you?
I am inspired by different CPG Brands that have built strong communities, particularly brands that have cracked TikTok. We can learn a lot from them in terms of listening to their audiences, being on the main stage of potential access, and doing anything they can to figure it out. The way that they collaborate with other organizations is powerful and harnessing your community and audience and taking your perspective and applying it to other brands.
What advice would you give to someone getting started or to Brands and Founders that want to engage with their audience?
Ambassador programs are number one. We have done it personally and cracked the code and now we’ve taken that framework to help guide other businesses to approach the same strategy. Consider thinking about what your actual goals are in terms of engaging with college students. The BS meter is high and giving them incentives for sales commission is not going to fly. One reason a program is successful and does well is that students feel like an extension of their team.
Whenever we build programs to support companies, we do them in a three-pronged approach.
One is starting with an advisory group of 15 to 20 students that help you build a playbook for what it means to take your brand and bring it to a student audience.
The second will be building out what we call Campus Team Lead. We establish 50 or so of those leaders who have real leadership capabilities and have confidence in management. These leaders represent all different campuses.
Lastly, we build out the growth side of it. Around 300 students from different regions must report to those leaders.
There have to be touchpoints monthly or bi-weekly because that allows them to see their impact translating to companies and brands. Whether it’s sales, strategy, and content. Students will know that what they’re working on is making an impact, companies are getting their value, and they would feel included as an extension of the companies. That is the best way to empower young people to be your consumers while mobilizing your community.
How can we stay in touch?
Personally, I’m Julia Haber pretty much everywhere.
We are spending time investing in LinkedIn and TikTok to make those tangible pieces of advice. You can check us out at homefromcollege.com. It’s super easy to get started, our team works closely with companies that build these campaigns. We’re happy to be a resource.