This may be one of my favorite subjects in the world. Let me explain: As a young kid at 22 I grew my family wine business from eight to 75 employees very, very quickly. One of the things I prided myself in was that I had people skills like no other; that I was a wiz-kid when it came to understanding the emotions and the “E.Q.” of others. Because of this, it was generally accepted that I was the best person do to the hiring and, fortunately, these hires worked out tremendously, and we all went on to do big, big business.
Fast-forward to 2011 and I’m getting deeply involved in VaynerMedia, the social agency that I co-founded with my brother, AJ. Walking in, I (of course) brought huge bravado: “This is how I hire, and here is how we’re going to do things and blah blah blah.” And what happened was that things went really well. We grew the business from 28 to 275 people in two years. But some of the hires that I thought were going to be home runs ended up not working out so well. That gave me some pause and made me think back to those early days at Wine Library and how not all of those hires worked perfectly either. Anyway, this all got me taking a serious look at hiring processes and doing some research, and everybody’s got “their process” and “their way of doing this that and the other thing.” But let me tell you this about the hiring debate:
You do the best you can. Everyone’s got their own filter. I’m giving you insight into mine right now, and I’m sure a lot of other influencers here on LinkedIn are giving you theirs. None of it is perfect and none of it is terrible. At the end of the day I’ll use a certain level of intuition, maybe a test, certainly a log of questions, but my principle has always been gut feel, and not to be crippled by the hire.
You want to be great at hiring, do this: Go with your gut. Go with your intuition. Go with your process. If it’s black and white, and it’s a series of questions that leads to a numerical score, good. If it’s like me and you walk into a room, ask a couple questions, and go with whatever feels right at that moment, good. But here is the key to hiring: It’s taking the time to analyze what happened after the fact. It’s not being crippled by the fact that you’re the one who hired that person. It’s doing your best to give that hire all the things they need from your organization to succeed, but then, if that’s been exhausted, it’s about not being afraid of firing.
The way to be a great at hiring, is to be unafraid of firing.
Originally Posted On: Linked IN By: Gary Vaynerchuk
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Stanford University has perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring, architecturally stunning campuses in the world. The tree-lined Palm Drive entrance leads to a vast campus of low, red-clay-tiled buildings. With the university holding a $17-billion endowment, you can almost feel the gold oozing from the manicured streets. And it doesn’t hurt that the sun always seems to be shining.
Earlier this week, I spent a few days attending a meeting on the campus. It happened to be move-in day for first year students, the Class of 2017. It’s too bad so few of them get to experience this place. Of the 38,828 people who applied to Stanford last year, only 2,210 were accepted, and even fewer enrolled, around 1,700.
Recently, President Obama went on a bus tour through New York and Pennsylvania talking about how higher education in the U.S. is the key to a sustained economic recovery, and as a result, a college degree needs to be more accessible to more Americans. He was mainly talking about how we need to bring down the high price tag of college by no longer chasing higher tuition rates with more federal financial aid dollars.
Under his plan to create a new ratings system, students who go to colleges that act in the national interest, say by enrolling and graduating more low-income students, will get bigger grants or loans with better interest rates. Places like Stanford will do well under almost any plan the federal government proposes because it graduates nearly every one of the students it enrolls.
But it only enrolls 1,700 students a year out of some 4-million 18-year-olds in the U.S. Universities like Stanford are not getting any bigger as our nation’s higher education needs increase. Out of the few dozen most elite colleges in the United States, only one is going on any substantial drive to grow, and that’s Yale University. It’s building a $600-million mini-campus to welcome just 800 additional students.
When President Obama talks about expanding access to higher education, Ben Nelson thinks that should include access to a high-quality education. Nelson founded the Minerva Project, which aims to provide an Ivy League education at a fraction of the cost. His vision and his résumé (the thirty-something University of Pennsylvania graduate once headed Snapfish, the online photo-sharing Web site) has attracted $25-million in venture capital and advisers such as Larry Summers.
Minerva will open its doors in 2015. It won’t have a physical campus that costs hundreds of millions of dollars to build like those at Stanford and Yale. Instead, it will combine online and face-to-face learning in major cities around the globe where students will immerse themselves in local cultures and history—a real kind of experiential learning. It will charge $10,000 a year in tuition (the travel costs will bring it up to around $28,000).
Yesterday, at a gathering at the Gates Foundation in Seattle, its co-founder Bill Gates said that higher education works like no other market in the world: money nor students flow away from its bad products — low quality colleges.
President Obama wants to provide better consumer information to help families make better choices (and give them money) to attend higher quality institutions. But that won’t do anything if those colleges and universities just become more exclusive by rejecting yet more students. That’s why Ben Nelson’s idea is needed for our national interests. Now we just need many more colleges and universities like it—high quality, accessible, with lower prices.
Jeffrey Selingo is author of College (Un)Bound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students and editor at large at The Chronicle of Higher Education. Follow him here by clicking the FOLLOW button above, at jeffselingo.com, and on Twitter @jselingo
Originally posted on : Linked In By: Jeff Selingo
Stanford recently announced that it will be directly investing in start-ups founded by students. If a company is accepted into a campus incubator and if it raises at least half a million dollars from outside investors, the university will also put money in through its endowments. The investments aren't going to be huge sums, either for the start-ups or for Stanford, whose endowment exceeds the GDP of Jamaica.
I've written extensively about these questions before, and have a long post up on newyorker.com describing Stanford's new policies and the questions surrounding them. The great virtue of the investments is that it will help train students in important life skills: raising money, running companies, creating, building. Stanford students have given the world important companies, like, for example, LinkedIn. (As a disclosure, I'm an alum with a small start-up I helped found called The Atavist.) But here are some of the questions raised:
* Stanford professors often invest in student companies. This creates potential conflicts of interest: could it, for example, affect a student's grades? Coercive power, which professors have, is not a good thing to pair with financial opportunity. Fortunately, this new fund is designed to limit such issues. But it's an issue other schools should examine if they start similar programs.
* Could such a fund encourage students to drop-out? Successful start-up C.E.O.s work all the time at their companies. Could the university promotion of start-ups lead to fewer students graduating, and could that be a bad thing?
* How does intensive university promotion of start-ups change the culture on a campus that has always prided itself on its intellectual diversity?
Silicon Valley has provided the world with extraordinary innovation, and Stanford has always had intensely close relations with Silicon Valley. But these are all important questions and reasons why we should watch this experiment.
Originally Posted On: Linked In By: Nicholas Thompson
Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images
Students at the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) will help Sydney-based start-up companies tackle strategic business issues in a new initiative offered as part of the AGSM MBA program. During the 12 week Entrepreneurship and Strategy course, MBA students from the AGSM at UNSW Australia will partner with start-up companies, immersing the student in an entrepreneurial business.
The business will pose a strategic problem, and the role of the student is to formulate a strategy and kick off the implementation, all the while being immersed in the start-up’s culture and environment. At the end of the course, the student will be required to present the solution in front of an assessment panel, as well as provide a structured report to the CEO of the company.
AGSM is in the process of recruiting start-ups for the program. Companies are eligible to participate if they are more than two years old, have a team of at least three people, are not based in a home and, most importantly, are willing to engage with a student. There is no cost at all to the start-up.
Director of the Entrepreneurship and Strategy course, Dr Jeffrey Tobias, says this idea came from his years of experience in both the MBA program and the broader Sydney entrepreneurial community.
“Traditionally my assessment for this subject was the development of a business plan, but if you take the lean and agile model, you don’t necessarily prepare a traditional business plan anymore. It’s about immersion, about doing rather than talking” says Tobias, who is adjunct faculty at AGSM while also running his own consulting company and an active angel investor.
“Immersing people in real life environments with real strategic problems is the best way to get them involved in entrepreneurship.”
Tobias says they’ve had more than 20 applications from start-ups since launching the program last week.
“The thing a lot of start-ups lack is that they’re good at the innovation but not so good at basic business skills such as strategy, commercial negotiation, HR, marketing fundamentals and finance. MBA students are good at these, but they often haven’t been exposed to an entrepreneurial environment before. Put them together, it’s a win-win!” Tobias says.
The program is supported by Grand Prix Capital, the Sydney Seed Fund and the Founder Institute, although no financial support is provided from these entities.
“The links between AGSM and the start-up community are very positive and we’re really keen to foster and grow them. We’ve had huge enthusiasm from the investment community, and from someone like Google who said, yes, we want to be part of this,” Tobias says. “If you want to start your own business, and now is a great time, do an MBA at AGSM first”.
Originally Posted On: mbanews.com By: Ben Ready
Next January, the Georgia Institute of Technology plans to offer a master’s degree in computer science through massive open online courses for a fraction of the on-campus cost, a first for an elite institution. If it even approaches its goal of drawing thousands of students, it could signal a change to the landscape of higher education. Virtual U. This is the fourth article in a series that is examining free online college-level classes and how they are transforming higher education.
From their start two years ago, when a free artificial intelligence course from Stanford enrolled 170,000 students, free massive open online courses, or MOOCs, have drawn millions and yielded results like the perfect scores of Battushig, a 15-year-old Mongolian boy, in a tough electronics course offered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
But the courses have not yet produced profound change, partly because they offer no credit and do not lead to a degree. The disruption may be approaching, though, as Georgia Tech, which has one of the country’s top computer science programs, plans to offer a MOOC-based online master’s degree in computer science for $6,600 — far less than the $45,000 on-campus price.
Zvi Galil, the dean of the university’s College of Computing, expects that in the coming years, the program could attract up to 10,000 students annually, many from outside the United States and some who would not complete the full master’s degree. “Online, there’s no visa problem,” he said.
The program rests on an unusual partnership forged by Dr. Galil and Sebastian Thrun, a founder of Udacity, a Silicon Valley provider of the open online courses.
Although it is just one degree at one university, the prospect of a prestigious low-cost degree program has generated great interest. Some educators think the leap from individual noncredit courses to full degree programs could signal the next phase in the evolution of MOOCs — and bring real change to higher education.
“Perhaps Zvi Galil and Sebastian Thrun will prove to be the Wright brothers of MOOCs,” said S. James Gates Jr., a University of Maryland physicist who serves on President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. “This is the first deliberate and thoughtful attempt to apply education technology to bringing instruction to scale. It could be epoch-making. If it really works, it could begin the process of lowering the cost of education, and lowering barriers for millions of Americans.”
The plan is for Georgia Tech to provide the content and professors and to get 60 percent of the revenue, and for Udacity to offer the computer platform, provide course assistants and receive the other 40 percent. The projected budget for the test run starting in January is $3.1 million — including $2 million donated by AT&T, which will use the program to train employees and find potential hires — with $240,000 in profits. By the third year, the projection is for $14.3 million in costs and $4.7 million in profits.
The courses will be online and free for those not seeking a degree; those in the degree program will take proctored exams and have access to tutoring, online office hours and other support services. Students who cannot meet the program’s stringent admission standards may be admitted provisionally and allowed to transfer in if they do well in their first two courses. And students who complete only a few courses would get a certificate.
“This is all uncharted territory, so no one really knows if it will go to scale,” Dr. Galil said. “We just want to prove that it can be done, to make a high-quality degree program available for a low cost.”
Would such a program cannibalize campus enrollment? “Frankly,” he said, “nobody knows.”
Not everyone believes that such a degree program will be sustainable, or that it would even be a step forward.
“The whole MOOC mania has got everyone buzzing in academia, but scaling is a great challenge,” said Bruce Chaloux, the executive director of the Sloan Consortium, an advocacy group for online education. “I have to believe that at some point, when the underwriting ends, to keep high quality, Georgia Tech would have to float to more traditional tuition rates.”
Originally Posted On: NYtimes.com By: TAMAR LEWIN
Nine out of 10 schools don’t offer programming classes, according to nonprofit organization Code.org. That’s a huge problem, given the demand for technical jobs, which is only set to increase.
One small private school, located just outside of Boston, intends to set an example. Beginning in the fall, Beaver Country Day School will make it a requirement for students to take coding lessons. Beaver Country is an independent school for students grades 6-12. It has been around for several decades and is known for hiring teachers who take risks.
What’s interesting about this new curriculum is that programming isn’t an elective course for a select few mathematically gifted students. Instead, programming and graphic design skills are taught in a variety of lessons, whether it’s geometry, art, or social science. Students will be taught through online tutorials and videos as well as classroom instruction.
School math chair Rob McDonald said the school introduced this new requirement, dubbed the “coded curriculum,” as educators have an obligation to “give kids the tools to build up on their creativity and make their ideas a reality.”
However, the school is also one of the most expensive and elite institutions in the state. According to its website, tuition for all grades at Beaver for the 2013-2014 academic year is $39,950.
This type of program might not be easy to replicate in other school districts, where students don’t have access to Internet or computers at home. Programs like CodeNow, which are teaching kids from inner city neighborhoods to code, offer an alternative model.
The federal government is taking steps to support students across the country, particularly those in rural areas. The Obama Administration has repeatedly stressed its commitment to digital programs, and is bringing faster Internet connectivity to schools.
Beaver Country has been making a push to get the word out about the new curriculum, even bringing on a public relations firm. Head of School Peter Hutton recently wrote an opinion piece for the Huffington Post about the program, urging other schools to follow suit. He writes:
Beginning this fall, Beaver’s math teachers will use a discovery-based approach that enables students to explore geometric concepts through coding. By taking an integrated approach to computer programming, all students will learn to write code before they graduate.
With a panel of experts, Hutton hopes to speak in-depth about the program at SXSWEdu, the annual conference that is a mecca for education technology entrepreneurs.
Originally Posted On: venturebeat.com By: Christina Farr
Social media has become increasingly important in our lives, and has changed the traditional ways many of us get and exchange information. When it comes to applying to schools overseas, social media can connect international students with current students and alumni in other countries, making the difficult work of researching overseas schools much easier.
The emergence of interactive communication on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, among others, provides people with the opportunity to create, share and exchange information simultaneously without being subject to time and geographical constraints, bringing people all around the world closer to each other.
But knowing how best to use various forms of social media, including the following, to facilitate your college application decision is key to your research.
[Check out which universities draw the most international students.]
1. LinkedIn: Prospective international students should create a LinkedIn account and find alumni groups from the schools they are considering applying to. LinkedIn is a very popular social networking site for professionals to build connections and seek employment in the U.S.
LinkedIn is more professional and formal than Facebook because you might connect with your future employers, who may see and evaluate what you have posted. It's worthwhile to know that now, before you come to the U.S. and become a frequent visitor to the site.
To use LinkedIn to research and learn about schools in the U.S., request to be added to alumni groups and, once approved, send questions to group members about schools. In my view, you will often get more candid, firsthand answers from current students and alumni than from the schools' admissions offices.
[Prepare for the TOEFL with these tips.]
2. Facebook: The social networking site is more than just a tool to check your friends' updates and photos when you wake up every morning; it is also an efficient platform to reach out to current students or alums in the U.S.
How can you find current students or alums on Facebook if you don't already know anybody in the U.S.? The answer is by finding the pages of schools' international student associations. I found the NYU International Student Club's Facebook page very helpful – when I posted an interview request on its wall, someone later replied.
3. Twitter: Don't forget this popular site where users post short messages. Not only can you follow many of your favorite schools on Twitter, but you may also find professors and students if you search for hashtags related to the school. By following schools and professors, you will get updated school information, learn about the expertise of individual professors and most importantly, be able to ask questions.
[Avoid the mistakes many new international students make.]
In addition to social media, many schools offer mobile apps where information about transportation, accommodations, extracurricular activities and more can be easily found. These can be great platforms that allow you to peek at life in the school. NYU's free mobile smartphone app lets you explore its rich university life through events, university information and photos.
When I first moved to the U.S. in 2010, I had no idea what LinkedIn or Twitter were, and I didn't know how to take advantage of them to further facilitate my research into schools. Now that I've lived in the U.S. for nearly four years, social media sites have become a vital venue for me to keep up with the latest news.
When applying to schools in the U.S., it's important for international students to stay connected on social media to get the latest admissions information, ask questions and show their interest.
Jia Guo, from China, graduated from the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism after transferring from Shandong University of Political Science and Law in Jinan, China, where she studied law. Guo is currently a graduate journalism student at New York University.
Originally Posted On: usnews.com By: Jia Guo
President Obama announced a set of ambitious proposals on Thursday aimed at making colleges more accountable and affordable by rating them and ultimately linking those ratings to financial aid.
A draft of the proposal, obtained by The New York Times and likely to cause some consternation among colleges, shows a plan to rate colleges before the 2015 school year based on measures like tuition, graduation rates, debt and earnings of graduates, and the percentage of lower-income students who attend. The ratings would compare colleges against their peer institutions. If the plan can win Congressional approval, the idea is to base federal financial aid to students attending the colleges partly on those rankings.
“All the things we’re measuring are important for students choosing a college,” a senior administration official said. “It’s important to us that colleges offer good value for their tuition dollars, and that higher education offer families a degree of security so students aren’t left with debt they can’t pay back.”
Mr. Obama hopes that starting in 2018, the ratings would be tied to financial aid, so that students at highly rated colleges might get larger federal grants and more affordable loans. But that would require new legislation.
“I think there is bipartisan support for some of these ideas, as we’ve seen in states where the governors have been working on them,” said the administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to disclose information not yet made public.
Ohio, Tennessee and Indiana have made moves toward linking aid to educational outcomes. But in the divisive Congressional atmosphere, it is not clear how much backing there would be for such proposals.
In February, the administration introduced an online college scorecard, making public some of the information to be included in the ratings, to help families evaluate different colleges. Graduates’ earnings, however, will be a new data point, and one that experts say is especially tricky to make meaningful.
“There are all kinds of issues, like deciding how far down the road you are looking, and which institutions are comparable,” said Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president of the American Council on Education, a group representing colleges and universities. “Ultimately, the concern is that the Department of Education will develop a formula and impose it without adequate consultation, and that’s what drives campus administrators nuts.”
Almost all of the federal government’s $150 billion in annual student aid is distributed based on the number of students a college enrolls, regardless of how many graduate or how much debt they incur. Under the new proposal, students could still attend whatever college they chose, public or private, but taxpayer support would shift to higher-ranked schools.
With rising tuition and declining state financing, students and families are assuming a growing share of college costs. Tuition revenues now make up about half of public university revenues, up from a quarter 25 years ago. And with colleges facing larger pensions, health care and technology costs, the pressure to keep raising tuition is intense.
The average borrower now graduates with more than $26,000 of debt. Loan default rates are rising, and only about half of those who start college graduate within six years.
Mr. Obama has focused on these concerns for some time, exhorting colleges and universities, and state legislators, to make higher education more affordable.
In his 2012 State of the Union address, he said he was putting colleges on notice that if tuition did not stop rising faster than inflation, financing from taxpayers would drop. And in this year’s State of the Union speech, he urged Congress to consider affordability and value in awarding federal aid, and followed up with a policy plan recommending that those measures be incorporated into the accreditation system.
Mr. Obama’s proposal urges colleges to experiment with approaches that reduce costs. The plan mentions so-called competency-based degrees, in which college credits are based not on the hours students spend in classrooms, but on how much they can show they know.
Another approach mentioned in the plan is online education through what have become known as “massive open online courses,” or MOOCs, which are mostly free. Mr. Obama also urged consideration of three-year degree programs and dual enrollment programs in which high school students can begin to earn college credits.
“This isn’t something that’s going to be fully driven by the federal government, but the president can tell colleges that there’s people out there doing good things, you should look at them, try them and try to do better — and here’s where we can help,” the official said.
There is some money available for such efforts, including $500 million for community colleges, and the administration is seeking more. So far, though, it has failed to persuade Congress to pay for Race to the Top competition for higher education, under which grants would go to those colleges with promising approaches.
With or without more financing, the president plans to offer regulatory waivers to colleges that serve as experimental sites promoting high-quality, low-cost innovations in higher education, especially those that make it possible for students to get financial aid based on how much they learn, rather than how much time they spend in class. He also wants to let colleges offer Pell Grants, federal aid based on need, to high school students taking college courses.
In a letter to supporters this week, Mr. Obama said that tinkering around the edges would not be enough, and that the changes he was proposing in his two-state, three-campus tour beginning Thursday, “won’t be popular with everyone — including some who’ve made higher education their business — but it’s past time that more of our colleges work better for the students they exist to serve.”
Mr. Obama is championing his ideas on a two-day bus tour, at town hall-style meetings on college campuses across upstate New York and Pennsylvania.
In the proposal, the president plans to change aid practices to make sure those receiving financial aid are moving toward a degree by, among other things, stretching out the disbursement of Pell Grant money over the semester, rather than giving it out in a lump sum at the start. While “satisfactory academic progress” is required by the current law, it is left to each institution to define such progress, and students who fail out of one college can simply transfer to another and receive more aid.
“That doesn’t make sense,” said Sandra Baum, an economist who is a senior fellow at the George Washington University Graduate School of Education and Human Development. “Students need a structure that will help them make progress.”
Mr. Obama would also like to expand his existing pay-as-you-earn program for student borrowers so that borrowers could cap their payments at 10 percent of their discretionary monthly income. That expansion would require Congressional approval.
But even without it, the administration next year will direct the Education Department to call all debtors behind in their payments to make sure they understand repayment options.
Originally Published On: NYtimes.com By: TAMAR LEWIN
For all of the older college graduates in the U.S. who can't quite understand what the big fuss over student loans is all about, let's make it abundantly clear: It's more than 500% more expensive to enroll in college now than it was in 1985.
As Bloomberg points out, the rising cost of college tuition far outpaced the growth of medical costs (286%) and overall inflation (121%) during the same span. Even if you earned your diploma in the late '90s, you still got a bargain by comparison. Tuition rates kept pace with health care costs in the early '90s, but spiked from a relatively paltry 200% of their 1985 average in the early 2000s.
Michelle Cooper, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Higher Education Policy, told Bloomberg the skyrocketing tuition drives income inequality by depriving those of less means of schooling. And that may derail the "prestige and status" of U.S. higher education. Sorry, Michelle, but you're a little late to that deeply indebted graduation party.
College graduates are making $3,200 less than they did in 2000. Both art school and business school grads are swimming in debt: Total U.S. student loan debt adds up to $1.1 trillion. Cash-poor doctorate recipients are seeking food stamps in increasing numbers. Roughly 284,000 college graduates are making the minimum wage.
Even when graduates get a job, their debt doesn't get any less onerous. The Center For College Affordability and Productivity reported that nearly half of the college graduates from the class of 2010 are in jobs that don't require a bachelor's degree. A full 38% have taken jobs that don't even require a high school education.
That combination of loans and low wages is keeping recent and not-so-recent college grads out of the housing market entirely. Just about the only folks to really profit from college education within the last decade have been in Washington, where the government pulled in $100 billion in student loan interest.
Although President Barack Obama and Congress recently hammered out legislation capping student loan rates, even a proposal to tie loans and grants to a college ranking system based on costs and benefits is facing skepticism. Even worse, the current Higher Education Act expires this year and requires the Republican-controlled House and Democrat-led Senate to craft a new one next year.
As staggering as the rapid pace of college tuition increases has been, the equal and opposite glacial attempts by the federal government to do anything about it have been similarly stunning.
Originally Posted On: money.msn.com By: Jason Notte
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