2021 College graduate Stefan Tzvetanov and 2021 Engineering graduate Anushrut Shah began building the platform at the beginning of this year. It currently features seven mentors, each with an individualized video series where they share insights into different industries based on their personal experiences.
The mentors on the platform range from Nick Hamburger — founder and CEO of Quevos, who was featured on Shark Tank and Forbes’ 30 Under 30 — to recent college graduates working in tech and investment banking.
The videos cover various topics, including recruiting insights, interviewing advice, and personal stories about struggling with certain classes or even dropping out of college to work on a startup.
Tzvetanov and Shah said that they saw a need for this platform during their own time in college, as they constantly found themselves learning from people much older than them. They said while they learned a lot from these people, it was difficult to relate to them due to the age difference.
“In a lot of our classes, the TAs were actually better at explaining the material than the professor — not to say they're smarter than the professor or anything like that — but they were able to package the information that the professor was trying to convey in a more digestible way to students," Shah said.
Tzvetanov explained that it can be difficult to find the same kinds of informative videos on platforms like Youtube and TikTok. Orpheus Learning content, he added, is formatted most similarly to the Masterclass video series, but is free, unlike Masterclass.
In addition, Tzvetanov said that students can sometimes be restricted to specific networks — for example, Penn students often connect with Penn alumni — but Orpheus Learning expands this network while also providing more advice through the video series, which is often longer than a typical conversation with someone.
“I really identify with the mission because especially being at Penn, you're very much directed to certain career paths, and I think it's important for people to know what's out there and learn from other students [who] went through what we went through and can show really valuable perspectives,” College sophomore and ambassador for Orpheus Learning Camila Paranhos said.
Paranhos explained that they recruited people to make the video series from a diverse range of backgrounds — people who took non-traditional paths in their careers and dealt with multiple failures and setbacks in their journeys as well.
Tzvetanov and Shah have an in-depth process for choosing people to work with Orpheus Learning as mentors, spending hours speaking with them and providing a specific framework for the videos.
Tzvetanov said that although people are typically advised to learn from experts or seasoned professionals, he would like learning from young people to become the norm.
“Maybe they were in our position two, three years ago, maybe they just graduated, maybe they're slightly older, but they know how we feel, and they almost speak the same language as us,” he said.
College junior Jack Williams, who is studying math and economics, has used Orpheus Learning and said the videos provided him with a look into different industries.
“It allowed me to connect with some people in industries that I wanted to maybe break into or at least hear more about,” Williams said. “[It] allowed me to have a point of contact that I could reach out to and easily hear back from just because of that connection.”
Tzvetanov explained that in the future, they may add a social aspect to the platform to enable users with similar interests to interact more with each other, but the main focus at the moment is to educate students at Penn about all that Orpheus Learning has to offer.
“When we were at Penn, a lot of the talk was about the holy trinity of investment banking, consulting, and tech — and obviously, we do have a few people from there, but we also have people from different walks of life that will be doing non-traditional things,” Shah said. “It's definitely worth talking about.”