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Q&A with Andrew Nimmich, Co-Founder of Tutor the People

Created November 30, 2017 by The Student Doctor Network

Tell us about yourself
Hi SDN! My name’s Andrew. I am a fourth-year medical student at Boston University School of Medicine. I am currently on the interview trail for residency. My wife Eliza and I started a tutoring company called Tutor the People after I took the MCAT and was applying for medical
school. We are now working to launch Nerdly, an online tutoring platform. I am interested in all things education, technology, and medicine related.

What drew you towards medicine?
What drives me is solving complex problems. There are no problems more complex than what is encountered in the field of medicine. I am also fascinated by the future of emerging technologies. My favorite movie when I was a kid was Back to the Future II. Ever since I saw that movie, I have always been interested in what lies ahead for us as a society technologically. Innovation in medicine happens at lightning speed, and there are ample opportunities to take part in upcoming technologies that will change people’s lives.

Tell us about Tutor the People in a nutshell.
Tutor the People is an online and in-person tutoring and test-preparation company that specializes in taking a customized approach to learning with each student.

How did you come up with the idea for Tutor the People?
Eliza and I started Tutor the People right after I had taken the MCAT. When I was studying, I had taken a more traditional, classroom-setting MCAT class. My learning experience felt formulaic and non-personalized. I realized that I would have benefited from working with a tutor one-on-one, focusing in on my specific areas of strength and weakness, which, at the time, happened to be physics and verbal (yes, this was pre-CARS!). Eliza had tutored throughout her life, so we combined her experiences tutoring with my test-prep desires, and thus created Tutor the People.

What is Tutor the People’s ultimate goal?
Tutor the People’s ultimate goal is to transform to the test prep department of our sister platform, Nerdly: a marketplace for students and tutors to connect and learn instantly. We hope to be leaders in providing innovative yet personalized educational technology that gives students an advantage in the classroom and in life.

How do you balance your work on Tutor the People with your medical studies?
Balance is a challenge to be sure. I utilize a range of online tools, like Slack, that optimize my productivity and streamline communication with my team. I couldn’t do these things without an exceptional team of people who work well together. Additionally, medicine has taught me a great deal about how to streamline tasks in business and business has taught me how to manage the complex interdisciplinary work environment and patient relationships in medicine. I tend to run our companies like a patient list. We run down each department as if it were a patient and talk about the important, time-sensitive to-dos to keep the department thriving. Being a leader in our businesses before being able to take full-on leadership in my medical career as a practicing physician has given me experience with managing people in different departments and with the complex issues that arise from a modern work environment. This has made it easier to transition to working in the modern medical workplace.

What do you like to do for fun?
During my free time, I like to be in nature. While in Boston, I frequently travel up to New Hampshire’s White Mountains, or anywhere in Maine. I find these places not only relaxing but inspiring. Some of my best ideas have come from walks in nature. My wife and I like to go hiking and explore new areas. I also am very interested in budding technology, so I spend some time researching this as well. I’m currently doing an elective research project at BUSM on blockchain technology.

Has your work on Tutor the People changed the way you approach your future as a physician?
Definitely. The word doctor comes from the Latin word docere, to teach. Being a doctor goes hand in hand with teaching- whether you’re teaching trainees, patients, or students. It’s very important that you can teach patients on a basic level what is going on with them so they can understand their condition and treatment options. My work on Tutor the People consists primarily of mentoring and teaching premeds about the application process for medical school. This has given me the privilege of honing my teaching skills which will undoubtedly benefit my patients.

What was the most challenging part of medical school for you?
I think if medical school is taken in a vacuum, it really would not be all that difficult. But it can be demanding and at the same time, you’re trying to balance family, extracurriculars, other interests, etc. When a family member gets ill, or something catastrophic happens, it can be
difficult for a medical student who has not been in the medical field for a while to adapt. What I would say for any student reading this is that it’s important to get the right study methods for you and to personalize your learning. Because how you’re learning might be working for you right this moment, but if your family member gets sick, or if something catastrophic happens, the first thing you want to do is reach out to the resources at your school to see if they can help. But you also want to ensure that the study methods you are using will sustain during difficult times.

Has anything surprised you about your work on Tutor the People?
I think what has surprised me the most about my work is how much students benefit from a mentor when it comes to applying to graduate school and navigating entrance exams. Mentors can provide you with strategies that will allow you to get far more out of your studies. They can tell you what materials to use, can find ways to give you additional time to study for the MCAT by working on your timeline, and can make you more efficient and confident in completing all of the tasks you need to achieve in order to confidently submit your application to medical school and attend interviews.

Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
I see myself practicing surgery and contributing to research in healthcare and technology. I would like to combine my business and healthcare experience to impact patient outcomes on a large scale.

What do you think will be the next big thing in medicine / healthcare will be?
The most potentially game-changing technology in healthcare and medicine right now is artificial intelligence. Both the data processing and diagnostic capabilities of AI will reduce healthcare costs and lead to better patient outcomes.

What’s your favorite premed or med school memory?
Climbing Mount Washington with friends on my 30th birthday. Mount Washington is the highest peak in the Northeastern United States. I was sore for months!

What lasting impact do you hope Tutor the People will have?
Tutor the People and our new company, Nerdly, are both young companies. I believe right now we provide a really great value to our students, and that’s what is most important. But we want to do more than that. We want to change the pace at which people learn and make a meaningful impact to the field of education. We have some exciting ideas in the pipeline that should be launched within the next few years.

Anything else you want to share with SDN members?
For those interested in medicine, the career path is a marathon, not a sprint. Celebrate minor victories and maintain focus on the big picture!

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