The company was founded tutoring students in the graduate school of management in their quantitative subjects. This remains the core segment, although other segments have been developing and show potential to provide the bulk of future income. Graduate students can be divided into three groups: quantitative subjects/students, non-quantitative, and international students.
Undergraduate students will also be served, however Bryan's Tutoring has a less intimate relationship with the various undergraduate schools and professors. There are several colleges, public, private, and community-based that will provide Bryan's Tutoring with a steady flow of students. Bryan's Tutoring will offer tutoring in the courses offered to graduate and undergraduate students. Please review the following section which provides additional detail regarding the different target segments.
The company was founded tutoring students in the graduate school of management in their quantitative subjects. This remains the core segment, although other segments have been developing and show potential to provide the bulk of future income. Graduate students can be divided into three groups:
This is a new and exciting area that is bound to become the main revenue generating segment (or group of segments) for the company. As graduate students attended tutoring sessions, they spoke with some of their undergraduate friends and acquaintances. Some of these undergraduate students began seeking help with their respective classes. At first it was mostly for the quantitative courses they were in. As that market began to establish itself, the company began investing time in building a database of old exams, class notes, etc., for the quantitative courses being taught on the main campus to undergraduate students. These students, then began seeking help with their other courses as well. The same segments of quantitative, non-quantitative, and international exist for students at the undergraduate level.
While the graduate quantitative segment will remain the core focus of the company, much time will be dedicated to developing the undergraduate quantitative segment. This is a mere matter of population dynamics.
The graduate management students (as well as an occasional law student who has chosen to take a management class) are limited to a total of only 150-200 students at any given time, only half of which are in the core of the program taking the required quantitative courses. Generally, those students in the elective quantitative courses in grad school are those who enjoy the math or for whom it comes easily (as well as an increasing number who have gone through the tutoring and developed the skills they need to survive). The potential market among grad students is therefore quite finite.
The undergraduate campus, on the other hand, consists of 1,600 students, so the potential market is ten times larger. The international student population makes up a large percentage of the graduate school of management. The undergraduate non-quantitative segment is difficult and expensive to service because of the variety of courses students could need help with. For now, only the core classes required for graduation are being handled. So, the goal is to maintain the current levels among graduate student segments while over time expanding the undergraduate quantitative segment.
Tutoring has been around as long as students. And as long as students get in over their head, they will need tutors to help them catch up and keep up with their classmates. Some materials just need to be explained in different ways for them to make sense.
However, while the need for tutoring exists, the bulk of tutoring taking place in the market is very limited and unorganized. What sets this company apart is its experience and the attention paid to individual needs of students.
Tutors tend to be individuals with a little extra time and specific expertise in a given topic. However, few have the resources to provide a comprehensive tutoring program covering every possible aspect of a course from understanding the material, to getting the best grade possible from a given professor. The majority of competition comes from one-on-one tutoring conducted by friends of the student. There is no organized tutoring service available to students that really covers their specific course from soup to nuts.
As the company looks to expand beyond the walls of Willamette University to cover community colleges and potentially franchise out to other colleges in other states, there appear to be few organized competitors. Companies like Sylvan Learning Center are mostly geared for handling the needs of younger students, K-12.
Now, while one-on-one tutoring from a friend may be a cheaper way for a student to go, there really is an advantage to paying for tutoring. The tutoring sessions include examples that have been tried and tested previously with prior students. Over time, Bryan has developed a repertoire of examples and approaches to help students with nearly all of the challenges that prevent them from getting the most out of the experience.
As an example, in accounting and finance classes the professors like to use examples that are complicated for some students to grasp. Often the principle is shown using a huge corporation with millions of dollars in revenue, multiple divisions, and decades of history. The principle being taught may be quite simple, but having to wade through the complicated organizational structure and many other accounting principles can be very confusing to some students.
Bryan's approach is different. Students are better able to see these principles when isolated temporarily in a very simplified manner before placing them back into context. So, students are introduced to a very simplistic business model - Billy Bob's Lemonade stand. It is shown that each of the accounting or finance principles being taught can apply to a lemonade stand. The advantages of this approach are:
This is just one technique that has been developed successfully over several years that sets Bryan's tutoring sessions apart from other options.
After each exam, students are encouraged to bring in their exams to be reviewed. The collection of exams over the years provides the tutoring service with a number of examples for use in tutoring session and to better prepare students for upcoming tests.
Similarly, over the years, certain handouts have been prepared to help teach students particular principles. These are accumulated and updated occassionally as needed. Students who are enrolled in tutoring sessions have full access to several years worth of materials. The cost to the company to provide these materials is very low because they have been developed from time to time over the years when a need arose. Although some investment of time was required to produce them, it is an overhead cost and can be spread out over several years for as long as the handout remains current or useful.
One challenge that the tutoring company faces is the cyclical nature of demand. Students tend to seek tutoring more when an exam is looming. Because of its experience in the school and its understanding of when exams will be coming up, topics of discussion for tutoring classes can be planned and students can be encouraged to keep their studies on a more even track. The focus is on prevention of problems so that last-minute cramming is kept to a minimum.
Finally, the services offered by the company are differentiated from competitors by the quality of Bryan's teaching. He is fun, energetic, and has a certain stage presence that makes it interesting to attend his tutoring sessions. Moreover, his personalized attention focuses on the specific needs of individual students.
Bryan understands that different people learn in different ways, so classes are taught on various levels. Board displays and other visual aids are employed whenever possible to reach those who learn visually. Explanations are thorough for the audio learners. A training model is employed that gives students a good deal of hands-on time during the session so they can learn by doing. And an analysis of each student helps determine which of these approaches will be the most useful for each individual.