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Rule The School

Membership-based college student discount program

This story appears in the March 2000 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

Picture the scenario: You've been mulling over a superb business plan for the past several months, when you read an article profiling someone who's already left the gate with the very same concept. "%&$*!" is right. So you retreat, defeated, back to your gloomy day job, or you go through with it anyway--the latter of which only truly zealous entrepreneurs, like Ray Sozzi, 31, choose to tackle.

Nearing graduation from the University of Massachusetts at North Dartmouth, Sozzi had almost fleshed out his idea for a membership-based college student discount program dubbed Student Advantage, but he took a cushy job at a management consulting firm anyway. He then discovered that The Princeton Review, one of the nation's largest test-prep companies, had launched an exact replica of his student discount idea, eerily named Student Access. "The only difference was the second word!" Sozzi remembers.

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