Late last year, Columbia MBA candidates Jean Meyer and Balazs Alexa noticed something-- that their classmates may be the business leaders of tomorrow, but they're all alone. The guys wanted to help but it wasn't as simple as merely encouraging their friends to get drunk at a bar and talk to a girl or boy because there was the very real possibility that said warm bodies might be attractive and charming but not so impressive once asked to whip out a resume. The solution?
"A highly selective shortcut to love for students" looking for a little assurance re: the relative impressiveness of their potential mate, called DateMySchool.com. The website, which just received $500,000 from private investors, went up in November for Columbia and NYU and now includes Standford and Berkeley, with plans for those universities in Cambridge in April (FIT was added because a friend of Meyer "convinced him that there were a lot of attractive women there — women who specifically wanted to date guys at Columbia"). Does it sound exactly like the early, exclusive version of Facebook? Yes, but Meyer doesn't mind. “I don’t care when people call me ‘The French Zuckerberg’ in the hallways,” he told the Times. “Mark Zuckerberg is successful.”
And the exclusivity is exactly what users love. “The site is elitist, and all the better for it,” said Teresa Finney, who is interested in dating people who "won't be threatened" by her schedule. “Date My School is doing exactly what Facebook did in its early years.” Columbia student Jonathan Fainberg agrees, noting that he likes the security of knowing any girls with whom he interfaces are going to impress him. “If you are in grad school at N.Y.U. or Columbia, I have to assume you are smart, ambitious and motivated — at least one of the three,” he said. “So far, everyone I have met through Date My School has been an impressive individual, even if they weren’t dateable for me.” And Dominique Lefebrye and her girlfriends like it because it's an easy way to eliminate scrubs and target guys on a more lucrative life journey.
Through the search function one can specify religion and body type. The enhanced privacy is part of what persuaded Dominique Lefebvre, 24, a film student at Columbia, to sign up in November; her profile is visible to all graduate programs except her own.
Still, she said: “The selectivity can sound a bit shallow. I have a friend who is visible only to law, business, engineering and med students at Columbia. One could say she wants to meet men who have a solid, lucrative future ahead of them, but I also think she wants to meet men who are responsible, men who have a plan, know themselves and know what they want from life.”