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Are You Experienced?

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If Jennifer Floren wasn't voted "Most Likely To Succeed" in high school, she was robbed. She didn't just graduate from Dartmouth College and secure a management consulting job--she left it to start Ivy Productions Inc., an online career resource. Her leap of faith has resulted in 20 valued employees (average age: 251¦2), one snazzy magazine and expected sales of nearly $2 million this year. More impressive is that in her third year of running the Boston company, she remains unjaded, without a hint of Amanda Woodward-esqe cockiness.

"I knew what I was doing wasn't right for me, but I didn't know what was because I [lacked] perspective," says Floren, 27, of her foray into corporate life. Further dispelling that "degree-equals-destiny" myth, the psych major ("It's funny how relevant a major in psychology can be") found much-needed stimulation in a start-up.

Floren's revelation didn't thrill her parents, but optimism prevailed: "My attitude was, I'll give it a year and see how it goes." She raised start-up capital from private investors (nearly $2 million since Ivy's inception) and worked out of her apartment the first four months with a printer/fax/copier "that practically cooked dinner" for her before finding office space.

Ivy's site (http://experienceonline.com) contains extensive information on job hunting, training and professional development, relocation and financial management. More than 140 universities have signed up for "experience on campus," a program giving university students access to Ivy's "insider research" online. Online services include Company Profiles (20 companies of your choice for $20), Career Explorer (assess 20 of today's most popular careers for $20) and Inside Track (insider contacts and info about a company for $20). And now there's experience magazine, to be tested on regional newsstands beginning with the November issue.

Floren believes everyone entering the working world should possess a certain sense of entrepreneurship. "There are so many different ways to find your niche," she says, "you shouldn't ever feel trapped."

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