Critical Mass – OpenBook

An online mentorship platform for new grads

Year

2020

Industry

Internal

Live site

1

When Covid started having an impact on our daily life in March 2020 – college grads were one of the groups most affected by the disruption. Critical Mass (CM) normally receives hundreds of applications a year to join our internship program. This program is a critical part of CM’s talent strategy and interns that transition into full-time roles account for about 10% of new hires in any given year. 

As Covid restrictions kicked in traditional internship recruiting channels were closed off. Grad shows, networking events and employer showcase events were all cancelled. Overall, the entire industry pretty much put internships on hold in the face of huge economic uncertainty.

With grads facing uncertain job prospects we wanted to do something to help.

Idea

Create a digital mentorship platform as a substitute for the development experience grads missed out on due to Covid keeping them prepared for future opportunities.

I worked with a group of my colleagues to pitch the idea to CM’s global leadership team and they were keen to implement it locally in Toronto and then roll it out globally as an official program

Solution

1

Creating a truly minimum viable product

2

Small but mighty team

3

Focus on mentorship

1

Creating a truly minimum viable product

I worked closely with senior leadership and our talent department to shape our MVP. At first – booking time in a calendar seemed really important to us. As we distilled what the product vision for this project was – we realized the booking didn’t have to take place digitally. Our resulting MVP was easier to implement and the experience felt more focused. 

Initial experience
Cut list​
  • Dashboard to see feedback and manage sessions

  • Calendar booking

  • Feedback integration

  • Login for CM employees to manage their appointments with new grads

Our MVP
MVP Experience
  • Linkedin connection

  • Discipline

  • Objective of mentorship session

  • Success and what to do next

  • Booking and feedback handled through email

2

Small but mighty team

Despite having leadership support, this was still non-billable work, meaning we could only work on it outside of billable project work.

 

This also meant that we had an extremely lean team, requiring us to wear multiple hats. I managed the project, wrote copy and served as the connective tissue between development and design.

To help with collaboration between ux and design – we would leverage open slack calls and working sessions. We would call each other and leave the line open for an hour or two at a time so we could ask questions and generally simulate sitting in a physical open workspace.

 

This resulted in a strong working relationship where we could openly communicate with each other.

Homepage designs

3

Focus on mentorship

We wanted to create an experience where recent grads felt supported not only during the mentorship session, but throughout the session. We included helpful information and tips to help students navigate the process.

Why you should have a linkedin account

Why having a portfolio makes sense for creatives

How to prepare for the session

Results

Over 88 applications in 2 months from Toronto

and having an impact

"

As a marketing student highly interested in an agency-style career, this is an amazing way for a student like myself to learn more about the company, culture, and roles on a personal level.

– Recent grad and OpenBook user

"

I just had my meeting with James, and it’s probably the most insightful meeting I’ve had in a while. I appreciate that this program was set up and that I had the opportunity to take advantage of it!

– Recent grad and OpenBook user

"

Thank you very much for reaching out and arranging this meeting. I just finished my meetup with Joe. We took up the full hour, and I learned a lot from him in terms of strategy, Critical Mass’s culture, and practical tips to become a great strategist. It really means a lot to me to be able to have this opportunity and chat with a senior strategist from Critical Mass. Thank you for making this program happen.

– Recent grad and OpenBook user

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