Careers, Students & Careers

Smartly MBA Student Spotlight: Hafeez Dhalla

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Are you looking to hire MBA candidates like Hafeez? See them all by signing up here.

This week, we chatted with biotech expert Hafeez Dhalla, who is in currently in our Fall 2016 class and about to graduate. We learned more about his MBA experience and what’s in store for him post-Smartly. Browse, connect, and hire candidates like Hafeez on the Smartly Talent Network.

Tell us about yourself.
In 2012, I finished a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at Duke, where I researched an imaging technology that provides ophthalmology surgeons with a cross-sectional view of the tissues they are manipulating – a different vantage point than they can achieve from the top-down view through a microscope. After graduating, I initially followed an academic path as a postdoctoral fellow at MIT.  I then had an opportunity to join my Ph.D. advisor’s startup, Bioptigen, which was trying to commercialize a technology similar to the intraoperative imaging technology I worked on in graduate school. At Bioptigen, I saw this product from the research phase, through product development and ultimately into commercialization. Bioptigen was then acquired by Leica Microsystems, and I moved from an engineering role to a commercial one. Now, as a product manager, I work directly with surgeons in an upstream marketing capacity, gathering feedback and defining requirements to improve the product. I am also still the resident technology expert, and so I still perform a fair amount of technical work as well. I had wanted to do an MBA to support my new commercial role, but it was difficult to find the time or the funding to do it. That’s when I found Smartly. It seemed like a natural fit – the classes were the right size and could fit it into my schedule whenever I had time. It gives me the knowledge I need for my new commercial role without the rigid structure of a traditional MBA.

How has the Smartly curriculum helped you?
I use it all the time. For example, the digital marketing course has been really useful of late. We’ve been looking at digital marketing campaigns for one of the products that we’re launching. While I’m not directly involved in the downstream marketing work, I do work closely with the marketing team and help to develop content for their campaigns. Knowing what they’re talking about (for example, when they discuss inbound and outbound marketing) has been invaluable. A lot of the content that I develop is tailored to inbound marketing, but they’ll create outbound campaigns to draw people into the technical pieces that I create.

What have you enjoyed about the MBA so far?
How bite-sized the classes are. I’m pretty busy. I have a young kid and another on the way. I have a full-time job and some investment activities on the side, so my days are pretty full. When I was thinking about doing a weekend or executive MBA, I wasn’t sure how I could squeeze it in. This has been great.

What are you hoping to get out of Smartly Talent?
I took on this MBA to help me with my current career path. Of course, if I were able to find something that would be a good fit for my experience and skills, I would be interested in learning more.

What are you hoping to do after you graduate?
The knowledge base provided by Smartly has been valuable and will continue to be valuable in this new career path that I’m on. Looking towards the future, I’m not sure if I want to stay on the commercial side or move back to the technical side. I like what I’m doing right now where I’m straddling both. I would love to have a career that maintains roles in both product development and product management.

Which industries are most appealing to you?
Medical technology and medical devices. I’m also interested in renewable energy and global health. Anything that addresses large overarching problems in the world.

What is your long-term career goal?
I’m hopeful that I can make an impact on the world and make it a better place through the development and commercialization of technologies in these spaces.  I think I can best do that through a product development or product management role, especially one in which I can leverage my technical skills.

What makes you a great job candidate?
I am pretty persistent, and when I get into something, I’m very dedicated to it. I’ve been working on this same technology for over a decade, trying to develop a product I believe in and bring it to market. That experience has been valuable in that I’ve been able to take something through multiple phases: from conception in the research lab to product development in a startup to global commercialization in a multinational corporation. I’ve learned a great deal through these experiences; from the rigors of academic research, to addressing more practical concerns in product development, to now navigating commercial challenges in product management and new product introduction.

Are you looking to hire MBA candidates like Hafeez? See them all by signing up here.

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Smartly, Students & Careers

To our pioneer class: Congratulations on your graduation, MBAs!

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Apply to Smartly’s MBA. Hire students from our program.

After comprehensive academic study, extensive discourse in our case study discussions, and the completion of rigorous exams, they’ve done it – graduated from a new elite MBA program that’s the only mobile-first degree system.

Smartly’s MBA is aligned with curricula taught at the world’s most prestigious business schools, and our students are selected through an admission process modeled on those of top institutions. Graduates will enjoy the gains from their studies over a lifetime. Indeed, many already point to real world gains from the program.

We congratulate our pioneers on their accomplishment and wish them the very best in their endeavors! But enough of us and our excitement, let’s hear from our students themselves:

Smartly makes it easy for you to demystify the business world. It presents concepts and knowledge in ways that are applicable to any field and can help you have a greater understanding of the world around you. There is no reason not to use Smartly to better yourself. I can’t believe I went to two universities for undergraduate and graduate school, and never learned what Smartly offered.Erin Pellegrino (Cornell University ‘14, Harvard University ‘16, Smartly Summer ‘16)

Smartly’s flipped classroom model was accessible to me everywhere I went, even if I only had 10 minutes. The format engaged me more than most classes I’ve taken in person. I’ve had the chance to get to know amazing classmates, and I feel better equipped to tackle real-world problems with the knowledge I’ve gained.Sachin Doshi (Duke University ‘14, Smartly Summer ‘16)

Finding out about Smartly and deciding to apply is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I had taken the GMAT, done really well on it, and been considering applying to MBA programs but was wary of the time commitment and the student debt involved. And because I’d started and failed with multiple startups in the past and trying once again with another startup as a stubborn entrepreneur, a traditional MBA was simply too difficult of a choice. Thanks to Smartly, on top of having a degree, I now understand many of the business mistakes I had made in the past, how to assess my own strengths, and can see where I can improve my chances for success as an entrepreneur. If only Smartly had existed before I’d started my other companies… but then perhaps I wouldn’t appreciate it as much.Raphael Mun (Carnegie Mellon ‘08, Smartly Summer ‘16)

This MBA will put you at the forefront of business innovation because that’s exactly what it will be to employers.Chance Carpenter (Stanford University ‘15, Smartly Summer ‘16)

The Smartly program is an excellent tool for learning the skills needed to excel in business without attending a traditional university. After just a few courses, I already felt more confident at work and had a better understanding of company operations and business development. I would highly recommend Smartly to anyone looking to improve their skills in finance, accounting, marketing and management.Jennifer Argote (Dartmouth ‘10, Smartly Summer ‘16)

As a single mother of a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old, working a full-time job and a part-time job on the side, this program has made the impossible possible for me. I don’t currently have the time or the money to go back to school, but Smartly’s flexibility has allowed me to achieve this great accomplishment without having to compromise my employment or sacrifice time with my family.Aleisha Matlock (Northwestern ‘15, Smartly Summer ‘16)

I loved Smartly! As an undergraduate engineering major with very little business knowledge, I found the coursework to be straightforward and do a great job of teaching application of the concepts. I have already found myself applying my knowledge every day in my current job!Katie Ernst (Duke University ‘15, Smartly Summer ‘16)

Smartly is the future of education; fast, effective and mobile. If a traditional MBA doesn’t fit your lifestyle, give Smartly a look.Ian Lee (University of North Carolina ‘12, Smartly Summer ‘16, Carnegie Mellon University ‘17)

Smartly was an amazing experience! The platform’s ability to deliver content in bite-sized, case study-based, at-your-own-pace approach really helped me engage with the material and take a lot away from this program. I know I’ll put the skills I learned here to use on the job. All that and a debt burden of $0!Pavel Gurevich (UC Berkeley ‘10, Smartly Summer ‘16)

I loved the Smartly program and recommended it to all my friends. I have never experienced interactive learning the way the Smartly program provides. I was able to understand concepts without reading hundreds of textbook pages. Highly recommended this to anybody who has an interest in learning and wants to take their career to the next level!Lindsey Allard (Dartmouth College ‘14, Smartly Summer ‘16)

Smartly has given me the opportunity to not only work alongside incredibly talented classmates from around the country but also to solidify concepts in a tangible and meaningful way, wherever I am, all via smartphone. Thank you, Smartly!Brooke Gerstein (Cornell University ‘15, Smartly Summer ‘16)

Smartly is the Amazon Prime of MBAs. There’s no reason not to sign up for it. It’s free, the content is highly detailed and memorable, and you get to expand your network with people from top 10 schools. Coming from taking finance courses at Wharton, I found the content of the courses to be of similar caliber.Yash Jain (George Washington University ‘14, University of Pennsylvania ‘16, Smartly Summer ‘16)

Learn more about applying to Smartly’s MBA: https://smart.ly.
Learn more about hiring students from our program: https://smart.ly/hiring.

 

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Uncategorized

Smartly MBA Student Spotlight: Adrian De Smul

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In the last few weeks before Smartly graduates its pioneer MBA class, we wanted to feature some of our outstanding students. Current Smartly student Adrian De Smul, who works at McKinsey and graduated from Princeton, tells us about his decision to join Smartly and plans for the future in the interview below. Browse, connect, and hire candidates like Adrian on the Smartly Talent Network.

Tell us about yourself.
I did my undergrad at Princeton in Mechanical Engineering and did a year abroad at Oxford. I ended up doing a lot of Computer Science. Most of my summers, I found more CS oriented gigs and enjoyed that a lot more so ended up doing a summer internship at McKinsey Digital as a full-stack developer. I joined full-time after I graduated and have been in the digital unit every since. I started off doing some front-end development but ended up switching over to a group that helps clients build agile teams to deliver software more effectively. I’ve learned not only how to deliver software differently but also how to put clients at the center of everything that you do.

What inspired you to do the Smartly MBA?
I thought it was a good change to strengthen my broader range of business skills. Especially, when you look at things like A/B testing and optimization and seeing how to get more statistical rigor in some of these user tests.Being more comfortable reading a balance sheet is not something I have to do very often but it’s nice to have that tool in my toolkit.

What have you enjoyed about Smartly?
The fact that you can do it at your own pace, I love. The fact that it works on your phone – it works everywhere. Each of the lessons is just fun – they never really feel like a chore (with the exception of the Accounting ones, which I’m hiding from). It’s easy and online – that’s what keeps me coming back. I also like the bit of gamification – it’s all broken down into very manageable submodules. You can get through a lesson in a few minutes and feel like it’s just done. You don’t have to get through a huge assignment or anything like that.

How has the Smartly coursework affected your day-to-day?
Right now, I’m working on something related to digital culture. We have a bunch of survey results that came back, and I’m able to look at them with a more critical and statistical eye. we have data based by industry, segmented in all these different ways, and there’s interesting statistical work that you can do when you have that much data. I think being able to look for survey results in a little bit deeper way is something I found interesting. The Marketing courses have also been interesting in the sense that I haven’t really gotten to use it for work yet, but it’s something that is very applicable and is not totally intuitive. The way that you can structure pricing, especially around sales and different marketing opportunities, we kind of skirt around those topics in conversation, but it’s nice to have the vocabulary to be able to talk more authoritatively about the marketing side of things.

What industries most interest you?
Part of the reason I did the Smartly MBA is that I really love EdTech. I wanted to see how Smartly was changing EdTech. That’s definitely one area. I’ve done a lot of work with McKinsey in banking and finance, so I think there’s still some cool ways of getting involved in FinTech that would be a lot of fun and would leverage my skill set really well.

What makes you a great job candidate?
For me, the experience that I’ve had in the past. And the Smartly MBA is yet another different thing that I’ve gotten the opportunity to do. I’ve gotten to work on four continents with a huge variety of teams, clients, and industries. I’ve done work ranging from product ownership to agile coaching to DevOps engineering for an engineering transformation, so it’s been a variety of skill sets, but all-around digital application development and building a great digital team.

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Careers, Students & Careers

Smartly MBA Student Spotlight: Lindsey Allard

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Are you looking to hire MBA candidates like Lindsey? See them all by signing up here.

In the last few weeks before Smartly graduates its pioneer MBA class, we wanted to feature some of our outstanding students. Last week, we sat down with digital marketing maven and lacrosse aficionado Lindsey Allard to learn more about the MBA experience and what’s in store for her post-Smartly.

Tell us about yourself.
I’m originally from the Boston area but was born in Paris. I went to Dartmouth College – majored in Psychology and minored in English. For four years, I played D1 lacrosse. My grandfather also started a lacrosse apparel company, so it’s been a pretty big part of our life. Then, I worked at Madison Square Garden in sales. After about a year and a half, I moved to a marketing position. Now, I’m currently working at a startup – Coffee Digital. We are a new digital innovation agency. It’s all-hands-on-deck all the time – a very great experience.

How has the Smartly MBA been for you?
I really, really love it. I heard about it through an Instagram ad while considering getting my MBA. My dad went to HBS, and he actually recommended not getting an MBA because he thought I could get a lot of good experience from work. However, I’m from a liberal arts background. In terms of relevant business knowledge, I didn’t have much except for the internships that I had done. I really wanted to make sure that I’m learning content as well, so Smartly was a great option.

How has Smartly influenced your work at Coffee Digital?
It’s helped me get a really good perspective on a lot of different business areas – specifically, business strategy. We’ve engaged in a lot of positioning conversations that the courses have helped me in. I was also able to immediately apply digital marketing keywords in email chains that I was on. It was awesome!

What are you hoping to get out of the Career Network?
I’d love to connect with people in startups and the innovation space and learn more about what they do. I think the Smartly Career Network will be better than other ones I’ve used before – Hired, Planted – because it works in tandem with the education as well. With other platforms, there was a disconnect with what I was looking for what they were providing in terms of opportunities.

What makes you a great job candidate?
I’m a really quick learner. I can assimilate and understand things really quickly. That’s why I’ve been able to do well at my current role. At a startup, we don’t have time to sit down and teach someone how to do something. Learning quickly and problem solving make me a really good candidate.

Are you looking to hire MBA candidates like Lindsey? See them all by signing up here.

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Companies & Universities, Smartly, Students & Careers

The Smartly Master Plan: Elite to Open, and Everything in Between

Satellite mission in space from the top looking down to earth

Smartly has the overarching mission to innovate in education, and in that spirit we recently launched a free online MBA degree. From time to time, people ask us: “Why are you starting with an ‘elite’ degree? Why be selective when you could open up the opportunity to those who have difficulty accessing education?” We do strongly believe in democratizing education, and this is a question we’ve thought about deeply.

We just can’t help but borrow a page from Elon Musk and Tesla here. Musk spelled out the playbook of starting with the powerful Roadster sports car to show the world that electric cars could actually rival high-end gasoline cars, and then scaling the business, working his way down the marginal cost curve and building more and more affordable cars.

We were inspired by the idea of proving a disruptive approach at the top and working step-by-step to spread the benefits to everyone. We want to prove to the world that education can be effective and successful when free and online. In that spirit, the MBA is our flagship program to demonstrate the power of Smartly to rival some of the best educational institutions in the world. We restricted the first cohort of our MBA program to students similar to those one would find at top brick & mortar programs to show parity in student outcomes. Keep in mind that we are doing this while offering the MBA for free! We are proving the disruptive power of Smartly at the top, all the while adding programs for more and more audiences, including programs that are open as well as free.

While our pedagogical plan is to branch deeper and deeper into additional degrees, certifications, and courses, we’re also going to continue innovating how education is funded. We are soon launching a hiring engine that pushes the cost of education to the companies hiring newly-skilled graduates. Beginning with our MBA students, companies can browse and hire top business talent, and the recruiting fees these companies pay fund the MBA program. Our interests are aligned with those of our graduates: we are only paid when they are achieving successful outcomes, and not with an upfront tuition. This benefits all parties: the student, the employers, and the government guaranteeing these loans (just maybe not the banks). As we add additional programs, we will continue to innovate different models of funding education with the belief that it can be free, open, and online. Smartly is not just another online university, but a whole new approach to education.

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Careers, Company, Students & Careers

The Free MBA Has Landed

Astronauts landing on the moon overlooking The Earth

We’re excited to announce that Smartly’s groundbreaking free MBA program will open its doors to our first student cohort this week!

From the moment MBA applications opened earlier this year, we were overwhelmed by the positive response. Of the thousands of students who applied, we were only able to accept 7% to our first class. We plan to accept students to additional cohorts later this year. 

Our students hail from top undergraduate and graduate schools, drawing from diverse backgrounds spanning engineering and finance to humanities and the performing arts. Many have careers in business-oriented fields like consulting and banking, while others are entrepreneurs, lawyers, and even veterinarians. We have roboticists from Tesla and Amazon (the company), the founder of a tea company that gives revenue back to indigenous farmers in the Amazon (the jungle), and even a student who has beaten cancer twice!

The Smartly MBA is composed of 42 core courses equivalent to the subjects taught in a traditional MBA degree. Courses are organized into 9 concentrations, including Business Foundations, Accounting, Finance, Data & Decisions, Markets & Economies, Marketing & Pricing, Strategy & Innovation, Leadership & Management, and Supply Chain & Operations Management, with optional electives for further study.

Students who finish the program will receive an MBA licensed through the Washington, DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education. When they graduate, students will be matched with employers around the US, opening up job opportunities that make use of their newly-minted skills. 

We’re passionate about expanding access to impactful education here at Smartly, and we believe that a free, high-quality MBA is an important step in this journey. Thanks to all of our learners who have supported and inspired us in this endeavor. We can’t wait to show you what’s next!

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