“Figuring out what you want to do and pursuing it, that’s what it’s all about.”
On the Road to Success, HigherEdJobs Connects Job Seekers and Academic Employers
Since John Ikenberry and his partners founded HigherEdJobs in 1996 while employed at Penn State, it’s seen steady growth each and every year.
When they founded their company in 1996, John and his two business partners were working for the development office at Penn State. In their search for career next steps, they recognized that the web would be a much easier way to communicate job openings to potential applicants.
“We identified a need,” said John. “Instead of flipping through hundreds of pages of leafy ads, you could go through quickly [on the web] and find what you’re looking for.”
They decided to give the company a try as a side job, got incorporated, and created an initial prototype. After a few years of providing free service, they started selling banner ads to corporate advertisers to help support the site.
Once the company started to take off, John and his partners left jobs at Penn State to pursue their business venture full time. In the spring of 2000, they moved to Penn State’s Innovation Park business incubator. They started in what was then called the Innova Zone: a group of small, individual units with shared resources.
The company has steadily grown since then. HigherEdJobs now boasts over a million unique visitors to its website each month, and just last year posted almost 160,000 jobs for over 2,000 college universities.
While John recognizes the company is in a competitive industry, he’s confident in their future. “It’s really about continuing to refine and better our business,” John said. His team is always asking questions: “Is there a change we can make to the website to make the company better? Is there a new product that we can come up with to help serve our audiences?”
“One of the aspects that I love about what I do for a living and what we do as a company is that we are helping people move on in their careers, making their lives better,” John continued. “We’re also helping colleges and universities find the talent that they need to help them fulfill their missions, whether it’s educating their students, advancing research, social benefits, you name it.”
— Adapted from a story by Leah Grubb