This week, I had the opportunity to interview recent McGill graduate Tom Zheng. Tom was a poli-sci major here at McGill and though he only left last June, this entrepreneur is already making headway and lucky for us, he is committed to improving our undergrad experience and to making #mcgillhappy (which he initiated) become a reality. One of his efforts to improve the McGill experience is through his new app, AUS Today, which you can find here. I got to know a bit more about Tom, his company, and his own experiences here at McGill.
Tom (centre) with the Kreate team.
Elisabeth Bogart for Her Campus McGill (HC): Kreate sounds like a fantastic initiative, could you tell me a bit more about it?
Tom Zheng (TZ): At Kreate, we want to make it easier for people to care about the things that matter. We work with university associations and other organizations to help them simplify and improve their digital content delivery via the adoption of an app.
HC: When did you decide to start the company, and who did you start it with?
TZ: In August 2013, with Randeep Singh – current student at McGill studying materials engineering.
HC: What’s the significance behind the name?
TZ: The full company name is Kreate Solutions, and that’s what we do. (Also because “Create” with a C is already taken by somebody else).
HC: What do you plan to do in the future with Kreate?
TZ: To make it a universally adopted platform for digital content dissemination.
HC: Any new projects on the horizon?
TZ: We want to apply the same concept with the AUS App to our other existing clients across the country and in the UK.
HC: What experiences at McGill pushed you to start Kreate and more specifically, the app for the Arts Undergraduate Society?
TZ: I wanted it to make it easier for myself and my friends to be informed and stay informed. For example, my life at McGill would have been a lot better if all McGill events, from every club and society, were accessible in one place; instead of receiving 10-15 event invitations every day on Facebook from the same three people.
HC: What clubs and societies were you involved in here at McGill?
TZ: I was President of Molson Residence, the VP Academic of Arts Undergraduate Society of McGill, and a member of the Wine & Cheese Appreciation Society of Lower Canada.
HC: I lived in Molson too! Was your experience at McGill vastly different from your previous years at school?
TZ: Yes. I found it difficult to stay on top of the information that bombarded me every day from so many organizations and people. And only at McGill, did I ever receive an email every day from the IT department when my inbox was getting full telling me that my inbox was getting full; which in my opinion is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
HC: What do you hope to improve at McGill via the implementation of your app?
TZ: I want more people to go out to the events that other students are hosting. It takes a lot of work to plan something and it is really disappointing when the only people who show up are your fellow executives. Additionally, there were a number of events I wish I attended if I was aware that those events were happening in the first place.
HC: In your opinion, why is it important to get students politically activated and invested in McGill events and news?
TZ: Because you paid for it. The more you are involved, the more value you will get from McGill.
HC: How will they benefit from this involvement?
TZ: So you don’t regret not having been involved at McGill after you graduate.
HC: Do you think all undergraduate faculties would benefit from your app? Or is this an app designed to help problems found specifically to Arts?
TZ: Even though the app is called AUS Today, we will be syncing events from non-arts related clubs and societies; therefore being on the app will benefit a student regardless of his/her faculty affiliations.
HC: How do you plan on promoting your app to Arts students?
TZ: By working with the AUS and their departments. The AUS has been tremendously helpful as they fully understand that a more informed student body will in-fact make their lives easier.
What do you miss most about McGill, having just graduated last year? Samosas.
Favourite place to study during your undergrad? Redpath RM-07A
Favourite place to go out in Montreal? Redpath RM-07A
Weirdest thing you witnessed here during your four years? When a popular, inexpensive coffee shop that provided warmth and comfort to tens of millions of stressed out students in the basement level of the McLennan was replaced…I never understood why…
Samosas or bake sale goodies? See above!