Five years ago, UChicago alumnus Kurt Kimmerling would never have expected to be where he is today, the founder of Dressometry, a shopping start-up that helps consumers navigate the online marketplace with a robust search engine specifically for dresses. Some may recognize the Kimmerling name in association with Eckhart Consulting, the strategy and management consulting RSO on campus that Kurt, his brother, and a close friend founded as undergraduates.
Graduating from the University of Chicago in 2002 with a major in Mathematics with a Specialization in Economics, Kurt later returned to Hyde Park in 2008 to earn a Masters of Science in Financial Mathematics. In his professional career, Kurt has been a quantitative management associate and fixed income trader at Bank of America, a consultant with Oliver Wyman, a market risk manager for Swiss Re, and now, the founder of Dressometry. According to Kurt, “Making the jump from finance to fashion was a big change. Even though it has been a challenge, it’s given me the confidence to not feel pigeon holed into one particular industry.”
Kurt attributes much of his professional success to the College and its many resources, including Career Advancement. Kurt is impressed with the new offerings students have access to with the UChicago Careers In pre-professional programs, which prepares students for the professional world through experiences and specialized advising. When reflecting on the resources he personally utilized, Kurt said, “On-campus recruiting is the key to finding a job after undergrad or graduate school. I wouldn’t have found my jobs with Bank of America or Oliver Wyman without [Career Advancement].”
From his various internships and coursework, Kurt developed a love and affinity for data analytics and mathematics, which are still constant tools he utilizes at Dressometry. When asked about the creation of the start-up, Kurt said, “I was working on another start-up idea, which was a movie recommender for groups (mainly because my wife and I have such a hard time picking movies together). At that time, I was working with a couple of UChicago interns, and I started to ask them questions about other industries where we could apply the same type of solutions…I didn’t realize how bad the current search capabilities were for online shopping until talking to these student.” Kurt and his company continue to work with interns at UChicago and other institutions because he believes them to be the experts in solving the problem he and the team at Dressometry are trying to solve. When asked about the future, Kurt was hesitant to commit to a long-term plan, simply stating that in the coming year, he plans to still be working on Dressometry and to be changing the online shopping experience for consumers.
Kurt has also brought current UChicago students to work on his startup giving them hands on experiences in entrepreneurship. Current third year, Joan Wang, has been working with Dressometry since her first summer consulting on the company during a project for Eckhart Consulting. Now Joan works directly for Kurt, noting, “Working with Dressometry has been a crucial part of my college experience. Kurt has been an amazing mentor, and learning about Dressometry’s philosophy has inspired me to consider working in the startup sector. I’ve learned so many transferrable skills that would help me in any career path that I could choose to pursue.
To a college student reading this article, the educational and professional paths of Kurt Kimmerling may seem like a dream achievable by only a select few. To quite the anxious souls who may need a boost of confidence, Kurt shared this advice, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint, so do the thing you enjoy doing. You’ll be happier and you’ll also be more successful.”