Smartly Alumni Network is Live!

Today, we’re proud to introduce Network, a new feature of the Smartly platform built to connect students and alumni around the world.

Today, we’re proud to introduce Network, a new feature of the Smartly platform built to connect Smartly students and alumni around the world. Network is exclusively available to current students and alumni of the Smartly MBA and Executive MBA programs, and we’ve made a special preview available to prospective students.

With Network, students can explore a global map of students and alumni, search by industry and interests, and contact peers safely and easily.

We created Network to enable students to forge real-world connections and discover inspiring peers in the Smartly community. Smartly students work in today’s most exciting industries and at top companies, giving them access to an impressive ecosystem of experienced professionals.

If you’re an aspiring Smartly student, you can sign up for a Smartly account at https://smart.ly and access a preview. We’re excited to hear your reactions to Network!

Meet Linda, one of Smartly’s experts in probability and statistics

Who says statistics isn’t exciting? Through fun scenarios and images, like the above from Smartly’s Advanced Statistics Inference course, Linda Richard is helping to re-brand statistics for thousands of learners! Linda, one of Smartly’s content creators in the field of probability and statistics, has a background in business and education and currently resides in the Netherlands. She believes that statistics is an important subject to understand because it touches so many disciplines including business, medicine, and foreign policy.

In this post, we catch up with Linda to learn what she’s working on and why she decided to join Smartly.

1. What’s your name, and where are you based?

Linda Richard.

Currently I live in the Netherlands due to my husband’s work. Before that, I lived in Seattle, and before that, New York, North Carolina, and Minnesota!

2. How long have you been writing for Smartly?

About 2 years.

3. What’s your professional and educational background?

I have a Bachelor’s in Math, a Master’s in Operations Research (a field of applied math), and a Master’s in Teaching. I worked in business for almost 10 years before changing careers to teaching. Then I taught high school math in Seattle for 6 years before moving abroad. I keep my fingers in the public education sphere through projects with Washington State and other high school curriculum organizations.

4. How and why did you start writing for Smartly?

When we moved to Europe, I wanted to find work that would allow flexible hours for traveling and other fun living-abroad-activities, but still be part of the education world. Pedago was looking for math content developers, which was right in my wheelhouse.

5. What are some of the courses and subjects that you’ve written about in Smartly?

I’ve written lots of statistics and probability lessons, as well as Excel lessons. Recently I’ve started writing lessons on coding with Python, which is a whole ‘nother challenge!

6. Why do you think it’s important for students to understand statistics?

Statistics is probably the most important field of math that most people will interact with after they finish their schooling. Statistics are used to make decisions on health, education, foreign policy, and of course in business. Stats can so easily be mis-used, intentionally or not, so having a solid knowledge base to question and understand this topic is really critical for workers and citizens.

7. What’s the hardest concept you’ve had to communicate (so far), and what was it like to try and distill it for the Smartly platform?

The probability concepts of Bayes’ Rule and the Law of Total Probability were challenging to communicate. Visual illustrations, concrete real-world examples, and spending prep time building up learners’ intuition on these concepts were the strategies. We focused on conceptual understanding rather than on formula memorization – a formula can always be looked up, but if the foundational understanding isn’t there, no formula can help you! The Law of Total Probability, for example, looks like a fairly incomprehensible, complicated formula at first glance, but it’s really just a weighted average.

8. What do you admire about Smartly learners?

With people’s busy lives, it can be hard to find the motivation and the time to take on education projects. People taking Smartly classes are doing so on their own initiative, to advance their learning and their careers.

9. What do you do to keep your learners in mind?

With my background in teaching, I’ve learned how to monitor my own thinking. When you’re teaching content that you know well, you have to be alert for concepts that seem “obvious,” but only feel that way because you’ve been working with them for a long time. Especially in math–there are a lot of embedded concepts that need to be carefully unpacked for people unfamiliar with the topics.

I also try to incorporate visuals and concrete examples wherever possible, knowing that people have different learning styles. The interactive nature of the Smartly platform of course helps with this too!

10. What’s one of your favorite storylines (or characters) used in one of your courses in Smartly?

For the Advanced Statistical Inference courses, we created a fictional winter sports equipment company. It allowed a lot of room for examples with testing equipment, sampling customer preferences, and analyzing market schemes. Plus, my editor, Ellie, found great images with gorgeous snow-covered mountains, and we were able to have some fun putting our characters in situations involving competitive snowball tournaments!

11. What’s your favorite whimsical or snarky answer message you’ve written in Smartly?

Definitely it’s the Monty Python references in the Python lessons. Some are obvious but some are hidden a bit more deeply! Spam and eggs; hovercrafts full of eels; dead parrots; the possibilities are endless.

12. What’s one of your favorite images used in one of your courses in Smartly?

Two come to mind from the Advanced Statistical Inference course. In this capstone lesson, the scenario is that all the experts on statistics at a company, except for the learner, are out of the office with the flu. All the junior analysts are panicked and looking for help. My editor, Ellie, found/created images which put a smile on my face and hopefully the learner’s too!

6 Steps to a Professional Resume [Free Template!]

An essential list of resume questions we developed to help you showcase your experience, skills, and potential to employers. Plus, a resume template you can download!

Creating a great resume can be daunting: What format looks best? How long should it be? What information should you include?

Below is an essential list of questions we developed for Smartly students and candidates in our career network to help them showcase their experience, skills, and potential to employers. And to make the process even easier, we created this simple, one-page Word template (download here) that follows these recommendations. Copy your information into this template to put your best foot forward in your job search!

1. Is my resume easy to read?
  • Font:
    Use Times New Roman or Arial.
  • Size:
    Use 11 or 12 point font.
  • Margins:
    Use 0.5-1 inch margins on each side.
2. Does my resume tell a clear story and showcase my strengths?
  • Reverse order:
    List experiences in reverse chronological order (most recent position first).
  • Highlight growth:
    List multiple positions for the same employer as individual entries to highlight your progression.
  • Focus on achievements, not descriptions:
    Write concisely and focus on problems you solved, actions you took, and results that followed. Do not describe overall duties. Consider using the following framework: Action verb  + Project (what you did) + Result (what you accomplished).
  • One page per 10 years of work experience:
    For most people, a good rule of thumb is one page per decade of work experience.
3. Do I stand out?
  • Make it personal:
    Include a small “Personal” or “Additional Information” section at the end of your resume. Include language proficiencies, citizenship, service activities, society memberships, or current hobbies. If including interests, be as specific as possible (e.g. “avid Caribbean scuba diver” or “die hard Philly Eagles fan”). Do not repeat information from other sections.
  • Be action-oriented:
    Start each bullet with an action verb, and lead with the most important point.
  • Emphasize outcomes:
    State the outcomes of your work and quantify them when possible.
4. Is my resume error-free and consistent?
  • Format:
    Companies, universities, job titles, and dates should all be formatted the same way. We recommend bolding companies and universities, using italics for titles, and utilizing MMM YYYY–MMM YYYY (e.g. Jun 2015–Jul 2016) for dates.
  • Alignment:
    Spacing between experiences and at the end of bullets should be consistent.
  • Things to avoid:
    Avoid jargon, personal pronouns, objectives or personal statements, photos, and listing “references upon request.”  These just take up space without adding value.
5. Have I proofread my resume?
  • It helps to have a friend or two proofread your resume for you. You can also read your resume backwards to help catch spelling mistakes—start at the last word and use your finger to guide you from one word to the previous. This forces you to isolate each word from its sentence.
6. Is my resume formatted as a PDF?
  • Formatting in Word is variable, so always save your resume as a PDF. This way, the recipient of the resume (your potential employer) will more likely see the resume the way you intended.

Note: This is a general guide that works across many industries and job functions. However, we know that it may not be appropriate for all fields (e.g. design, where the layout also serves as an example of abilities in the field) or experience levels. We hope you find it useful and wish you luck in your job search!

Attachment: Resume Template

Meet our Newest Content Developer

John Riehl, one of Smartly’s newest content creators, is a former Air Force officer and current sailing instructor who knows a thing or two about computers.

John Riehl, one of Smartly’s newest content creators, is a former Air Force officer and current sailing instructor who knows a thing or two about computers. He’s writing a new computer science curriculum for Smartly, scheduled for release in 2018.

In this post, we catch up with John to learn what he’s working on and why he decided to join Smartly. Find out why he believes developers should go back to basics and what distinguishes the Smartly computer science curriculum from others on the market.

1. What’s your name, and where are you based?

John Riehl, and I’m based in Port Charlotte, Florida. It’s about 90 miles south of Tampa, on the Gulf Coast.

2. How long have you been writing for Smartly?

I started in August of 2017. I’m coming up on four months, so I’m still a newbie!

3. What’s your professional and educational background?

I graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a BS in Computer Engineering in 1989. I went to school on an ROTC scholarship, so I went on active duty in the Air Force after graduation. I stayed in 26 years, working in a variety of jobs closely related to computer technology—but nothing actually hands-on in terms of building or programming computers. During my time in the Air Force I picked up a Master’s in Computer Engineering along with Master’s Degrees in Air and Space Studies and National Resource Management.

4. How and why did you start writing for Smartly?

After I retired from the Air Force I wanted to get back to my technical roots in computer science. I came across Smartly, and it seemed like the perfect fit—share my knowledge and with the next generation of IT professionals while working from home on a flexible schedule. I appreciated Smartly’s innovative approach to education and was (and am) excited to play a small part in equipping the workforce of tomorrow with the skills they’ll need to succeed.

5. What are some of the subjects that you’ve written about in Smartly?

I’m working on a new curriculum for Smartly—Computer Science. What’s interesting about the course is that we’re striking what I think is a great balance between theoretical underpinnings and practical application. There are a lot of online courses for computer programming, but most of them focus just on the practical aspects—how to arrange instructions in a particular programming language to get a program to run. When it comes time for the learner to expand in a new direction or handle a novel situation they’re not as well-equipped as they would be without some fundamentals under their belt. On the other end of the spectrum is a typical four-year computer science program, which builds an extensive theoretical foundation at the expense of time (and money) getting the student to market, as it were.

6. Why do you think it’s important for students to understand computer science?

It’s not an overstatement to say that IT has fundamentally changed the world we live in. Given its impact, it’s important for those involved with building IT capabilities to get things right. A programmer without the right fundamentals is like a chef who doesn’t know what his or her ingredients taste like. Both can follow a recipe and put something together, but the result might not be very good. In the case of computer programs, it could be very bad indeed. Here’s a story about how not knowing the fundamentals created an unintended result. Imagine if that counter had been for something related to scheduled maintenance on a nuclear reactor.

7. What’s the hardest concept you’ve had to communicate (so far), and what was it like to try and distill it for the Smartly platform?

In general, the toughest part for me has been figuring out what the right level of detail is for a concept. For example, when you talk about digital videos you can range from “a video is a series of still images” to “here are the technical details of each of the over 100 different video compression formats in use today.” Finding what the learner needs to know, narrowing the scope down to the most important elements, and presenting it in a way that doesn’t make it a rote memorization exercise is always a challenge.

8. What do you admire about Smartly learners?

It seems to me that Smartly learners are self-starters who are willing to break with convention to improve their knowledge and marketability. They could “play it safe” by getting the standard college degree. Instead, they see an opportunity to be part of a new approach. Those kinds of people will take that same spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship with them into the marketplace, making things better for all of us.

9. What do you do to keep your learners in mind?

I must confess that I’m still working on this. Too often I’ll assume that a concept is obvious—after all, it’s obvious to me! I rely extensively on the Smartly review process to identify when I’ve leapt too far. I do my best to keep the lessons interesting. Having taken many online courses myself, I’m well aware that it’s very easy to get distracted with email, Facebook, etc. if the material is dry.

10. Anything else you’d like to mention?

I can’t speak for other content developers, but one great side benefit for writing educational content is the learning I do along the way. The process of articulating concepts that I have in my mind forces me to think through them in greater detail than I did when initially learning them. There have been a few times when things I thought I knew turned out to be based on bad assumptions and mental short-cuts that I shouldn’t have been taking. Bottom line—the work is fun and fulfilling from a personal perspective, and rewarding from the perspective of doing something that will have greater benefits down the road.

Two Smartly MBA Students Make the 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 List

Congratulations to two Smartly MBA students who have been honored in the 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 List.

Smartly is proud to announce that two Smartly MBA students have been honored in the 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 List. The annual list by Forbes magazine recognizes young leaders who are making outstanding contributions to business and industry.

Kaitlyn Yang is being recognized in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Hollywood & Entertainment category. She is the founder of her own Los Angeles-based post-production studio, Alpha Studios, and has over 40 credits to her name, including the five-time Emmy award-winning Robot Chicken. Kaitlyn is a Smartly MBA 2016 graduate and also a graduate of University of Southern California’s Animation and Digital Arts Program. You can find Kaitlyn’s profile on Forbes here.

Mary Iafelice is being recognized in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs category. Mary is the co-founder of the Washington, DC-based humble ventures, which supports entrepreneurs from underserved communities, including veterans, women, and people of color. In the company’s first year, they’ve helped 25 startups raise over $4 million in funding and achieve nearly $1 million in revenue. Mary is a Smartly MBA 2017 candidate and also a graduate of College of the Holy Cross. You can find Mary’s profile on Forbes here.

“Having not just one but two Forbes 30 Under 30 winners in the first year of our MBA program is a testament to the quality of the Smartly community. Kaitlyn and Mary are two high impact entrepreneurs that we’re proud to support,” said Tom Adams, Smartly’s CEO. “We look forward to seeing them continue to grow their respective companies.”

Congrats to Kaitlyn and Mary, and may they have continued success with their companies!

The Smart Way to Recruit for your Company

Smartly is on a mission to connect learning and skill attainment to positive career outcomes for candidates.

Our Mission:

The team behind Smartly set out to alter the status quo in higher and professional education. We realized there was a larger issue at hand that needed to be addressed – it’s common for students to spend upwards of and often over $100,000 on a graduate degree without clear career advancement. On the other end of the spectrum, employers are at a loss on how to reach out and acquire talented candidates. Our career network, Smartly Talent, makes the process of hiring and vetting more streamlined and efficient for our partners – leading companies and organizations. We are on a mission to connect learning and skill attainment to positive career outcomes for our candidates.

Sign up. Once you have signed up and been accepted into Smartly Talent, you will be able to quickly view and connect with our candidates. You’ll be able to put in Preferences to find candidates that match your openings. Plus, our machine learning algorithms also suggest suitable profiles to you. We’re using technology to connect companies to talent, and strengthening the workforce with more efficient employment matches. You’ll be: joining a range of companies in our network including:

– Multinational Financial Institutions

– Premier and Boutique Consulting Firms

– VC-Backed Startups

– Publicly Traded Consumer Packaged Goods Companies

– Global PE Funds

– Digital Marketing Agencies

– Market Research Firms

…and more…

Our Candidates. In Smartly Talent, you will find high-caliber candidates looking for new opportunities. They have studied at elite universities and achieved results at innovative companies. These candidates join our career network, Smartly Talent, when they are admitted into one of our learning programs – world’s first, elite free MBA (2-10 years of work experience), executive MBA (10+ years of experience), and the Smartly Business Certificate (0-2 years of experience). 

Browse Top Talent: In the “Browse” view, you can filter candidates by office location, role, years of experience, and keywords. When you see a candidate that you are interested in, you can Invite to Connect and send a message to the candidate letting them know what position(s) you are recruiting for. You can also just Like a candidate to request a connection without sending a message. We also give you the option to Share a candidate with a teammate via email or Pass on a candidate that you don’t want to connect with at the moment.

smartly browse our candidatesFeatured Candidates: Our matching algorithm and personalized curation are used to suggest candidates that might be of interest to you.

Smartly Featured Candidates

Track Your Candidates: In your Tracker, your interactions with candidates are centralized. You’ll be able to see candidates you’ve connected with, your pending connections, and candidates passed on.

Save for Later: You can use our newly introduced “Save for Later” feature to revisit candidate profiles when you’re ready to make a decision.

Invite to Connect: When you’re ready to move forward with a candidate, you can use our “Invite to Connect” feature to start the interview process.

Hire!: Your first hire is free while we’re still in beta! So sign up or head back to Smartly Talent today to browse our candidates!

Head Back to Smartly Talent

Hire for Potential – Smartly Talent

As your business grows, how can you hire with the same mentality as your upper management?

As companies scale, upper management begins to focus more on business operations and the macro management of the organization. Recruiting decisions shift to hiring managers and recruiters. As a recruiter, you aim to hire candidates that uphold the company’s values and culture. Before you reach out to candidates, everyone on the hiring team should have a clear sense of your company’s core values and markers you’re looking for during the interviewing process. Now the question becomes, how can you hire with the same mentality as your upper management?

Ask behavioral interview questions

Technical questions are an important part of any interview process but it’s important to remember that they are only one piece of the puzzle. Asking behavioral questions during an interview is a great way to test emotional intelligence, temperament, and the candidate’s stress response. The unconventional nature of behavioral questions tests candidates’ authenticity and problem-solving skills

Look beyond the resume

The difference between skill and competency is hard to gauge by quickly scanning a CV. It’s especially hard to vet candidates early in their careers based on resume alone. Inc. Magazine argues,  “excellent candidates are being overlooked, not because they lack ability, but because they have a blank resume.” For inexperienced candidates, it’s important to look at aptitude and whether they could learn the necessary skills, and then quiz their skills and competencies. You want to hire for the future–you want to hire people that are not afraid to take initiative and have great work ethic. Sometimes the best candidate is not the one who has the most relevant experience but the one with the most potential. Here are two suggestions to consider. First, you can ask candidates to solve a problem during the interview or submit a writing sample with 24 hours. Second, to gauge passion, you can ask candidates to speak about any personal projects that they may have started or are working on.

Hire for the “IT” factor

Soft skills and non-technical skills can be hard to quantify. Understanding how a person works with others or their leadership potential isn’t something that any resume or even quick interview will uncover. But, these skills are important to the “IT” factor. Google believes that “Technical ability will only carry you so far. Employers also want to see a skill that can’t be taught.” That’s why asking behavioral interview questions are so important. Behavioral interview questions help identify intangible skills.Teamwork, communication, work ethic, adaptability, problem-solving, and intellectual humility are some of the important qualities to look for when hiring and vetting candidates. As you make your next hire, keep asking yourself–does this candidate have the “IT” factor to be successful at your company? 

We know that building your team can be challenging and time-consuming. That’s why we designed Smartly Talent, our hiring platform where you can efficiently browse and connect with high caliber candidates for your open positions. We have amazing software engineers, data scientists, marketing managers, account executives, product managers and more who are active in our career network and are taking advantage of our learning platform to gain the business skills they need to get ahead in their careers.

Sign up or head back to Smartly Talent to browse our candidates today! And, while we are in beta, your first hire is free.

Head Back to Smartly Talent