Founder Spotlight: Jonathan Deforge of scoutedby
Matchmaking in the Academe
By Emmanuel Galang
Education is an investment –– the groundwork of every person’s career. It defines just how far people go as professionals of a field. Every decision concerning it therefore is crucial and Jonathan Deforge understands that. His brainchild, scoutedBy, was engineered to aid professionals vying for better careers in being “scouted” by the best business school to enable them to reach for their goals. It’s worked so well thus far it would be no surprise if it takes the education industry by storm any time soon.
The Man Pulling the Strings
Jonathan Deforge is a man who loves spontaneity –– the life of making off-the-cuff decisions at every turn not knowing what life throws at him next. That’s not always a bad thing. Jonathan originally comes from France; a country he describes to be “not the most entrepreneurial” at his time. But things are changing. France has always had been a leading force in technology (Arianne, Airbus or the TGV are surely the most well-known symbols of it) and the excellence of its educational system is an enabler. While it was a big leap from a personal perspective, he is one of many to work on making entrepreneurship noble again.
Scoutedby is not his first venture, but it is surely the one he is the proudest of. Having worked for years in business education, he built scoutedby to overcome the archaism of the industry. LUCY, scoutedby’s smart matching algorithm, ensures users to be scouted by the top schools and to scout for the best MBA programs in less than two minutes with its 6-stage matching process. What makes it even better? The whole process guarantees the anonymity of its users.
Impressive as it is, the journey started with a single step and the path was not always easy and did not lead to entrepreneurship at first. Deforge was building a career towards diplomatic work then, having gone to Beijing to study Chinese and coming back to France to take the diplomatic exam. At this point, Deforge was caught in a deadlock between choosing to stay in France as a diplomat and be on the edge of getting or not getting into a good segmentation of diplomats or to stay in Beijing and lead the life of spontaneity he loved. “In Asia, I never know where I’ll be tomorrow but it’s fine,” Deforge said in an interview with TechShake. “If I were to do business more than diplomatic service, then it has to be here,” he added.
His stay in Asia was more strategic –– motivated by Asia’s being a good hub for tech startups –– than sentimental (that his family roots go back to China). Every move thereafter, Deforge said, was strategic. After two years in China, Deforge moved to Korea to “strengthen his profile” –– a move that marked him for the venture he was about to pursue.
Chance and Change
“Hult International Business School hired me because they wanted to go into Korea,” Deforge admitted in an interview. His work at an events agency he started there brought on the opportunity of working with Hult. It was the drastic movement of both chance and change that would bring him to his niche later on. “I didn’t just find an industry I was passionate about. I found opportunities,” Deforge noted. “All of which have become foundations of where I am today and what I’m doing now,” he added.
Two years with Hult gave him a deeper understanding of the education industry –– from how things work inside to how applicants think. At Hult, he was faced with “hundreds of applicants” and had this vision that there was a strong need for a new way to recruit students. After 2 years with Hult, he decided to focus more on validating his idea and joined Prep Zone to establish their China operations in Shanghai. For 2 years, he worked there with hundreds of MBA candidates and dozens of business schools. He tested out the scoutedBy model to help out the students through better management and streamlined and secure admission process. His work at Prep Zone was the perfect validation of the concept –– the early beginnings of effectively and efficiently matching what students want and what the school wants.
“When the model was tested and proven effective, I went to the Philippines,” Deforge said. The model zeroed in on solving the inefficiencies of schools and students finding each other. ScoutedBy is a platform that makes application processes free and easy. “I believe in education to empower people to achieve more,” Deforge said. “My job is to make it more accessible.” ScoutedBy promises a student-focused platform that gives them access to a plethora of MBA options and the privacy they so desire through the 3-layer profile that guarantees every user’s anonymity. ScoutedBy helps students find the best MBA to pivot into the industry they want to work in. It provides schools a solution to reach potential students from different regions of the world they could not have reached effectively otherwise. They connect and the users decide.
What Sets Them Apart
The entrepreneur is, by its very nature, a risk taker. To take risks is to brave the unknown paths others have not gone for. To create something new –– to innovate –– is to take the risk. It’s putting yourself on the edge of falling and reaching the top. Going his very own journey with so much vigor and enthusiasm brought him to his passion and, to the entrepreneur, passion is a raw product for an enterprise. ScoutedBy’s Jonathan is a man who struck the balance between spontaneity and strategy and he’s enabled others to make better decisions to go for their ‘x” marks or target points in life. That’s what an entrepreneur is and more.