July 19, 2018

GreenFig: Powering Business Science Education for the Digital Economy

Libby Unger | CEO & Co-founder, GreenFig
Written by:

Libby Unger | CEO & Co-founder, GreenFig

About this time last year, GreenFig – a micro education company offering microdegrees in applied business science – imagined a world where individuals are the masters of their careers and businesses are competing to win with strong, relevant talent skilled for the 21st century.

We offered a proven solution to enable companies to rapidly prepare their workforce for the digital economy and allow individuals to secure jobs with the confidence and skills to make an impact on day one. Our unique program allows people to take timeouts, make lane changes, or reach for the next rung on the corporate ladder with limited career risk and for a reasonable price in terms of time and money.

We see three critical roles in powering the digital economy: the software engineers and developers that code the soft machinery powering business; the data scientists who structure and visualize the massive amounts of data delivered by the soft machinery powering business; and the Business Scientists who use the soft machinery and data powering business to derive insights, drive product innovation, grow revenue, and expand margins.

Business Scientists understand the business strategy, tactics, and technology underpinning their work. They have the skills to develop strategies and act tactically in support of business objectives and know how to set up, use and manage soft machinery to execute for competitive success. This soft machinery includes business applications such as Marketo, NetSuite, Salesforce, and Zendesk that power today’s leading companies.

Massive amounts of public and private investment – and attention – are focused on STEM and developing future software engineers, developers, and data scientists. While this is necessary it is not sufficient for building the workforce of the future.

There are less than 400,000 jobs posted on indeed.com for those STEM roles. Compare that to the 2.6 million jobs posted for positions in areas such as sales operations; digital, product and content marketing; customer success; and customer support. These 2.6 million jobs are the jobs of Business Scientists – nearly seven times as many jobs relative to those posted for software engineers, developers, and data scientists. GreenFig was built to fulfill this critical demand.

With this powerful vision, an impressive leadership team, and the financial backing of Silicon Valley’s Wildcat Venture Partners, we officially launched GreenFig Micro Education with Marketo CMO Chandar Pattabhiram, on center stage, to an audience of 6,500 at Marketo Nation Summit in April 2017.

Addressing the Needs of Today’s Digital Workforce

From the beginning, we have believed the accelerating pace of change and the ever-widening workforce skills gap – exacerbated by the digital economy – required a new solution and approach to training. In addition to the obvious metric of 2.6 million job openings for people with business science skills and certification, only 10 percent of employees feel proficient with the digital technology they use at work.

In a world where the pace of change is constant, lifelong learning and accelerated skill development with microdegrees in applied business science are the path to relevance and economic empowerment for individuals and a competitive strength for business.

Individuals who want to participate in meaningful employment in the digital economy must possess:

  1. An understanding of new trends in the marketplace
  2. The ability to acquire job-ready skills for rapid time-to-impact
  3. Demonstrated competence in strategy, tactics, and technology

To address this challenge, GreenFig created an accelerated skill development model that provides microdegrees in applied business science for high-demand jobs in sales, marketing, product, and support. Our Business Scientists graduate understanding the strategies, tactics, and technology underpinning their work. They leave possessing skills to make an impact on day one, whether that’s at a new company, in a stretch role or starting their own business.

Developing Business Scientists

Our enthusiasm and unique training approach were well received! In September 2017 we launched our national Digital Marketing Science course with an engaged and energized class of professionals. Our placement rates attest to the value hiring managers see in our graduates and prove GreenFig is addressing a critical need in the marketplace.

We are excited to watch the recent graduates from our Digital Marketing Science course enter the workforce and begin to make an impact in the fast-moving industry. They leave the GreenFig program confident that they are well-equipped with microdegrees in applied business science, a resume building Apprentorship and in-demand business application software certifications or readiness (e.g. Google Analytics, Marketo).

Industry-current Instructors Bring Business to Life

Some of our biggest cheerleaders have been industry professionals like you. Seasoned executives, experienced marketers, CMOs, and leaders from companies such as Engagio, Google, InsideView, Marketo, Microsoft, and Optimizely eagerly joined our ranks of industry-current instructors. They are driven by a desire to develop Business Scientists that can keep pace with a changing economy and possess an appreciation for the value of applied learning. With this foundation, our instructors are bringing business to life for our students — sharing current leading practices, engaging in pragmatic and interactive discussions, and providing hands-on, real-time feedback.

Partnerships with Business and Higher Education

Along with individuals looking to make an impact in the digital workforce, companies also recognize the value of upskilling their teams. GreenFig recently customized an in-house corporate training curriculum for Banner Health, including business science strategy, tactics, and technology to help the Banner team stay current and competitive in the dynamic healthcare space.

Looking forward, GreenFig will continue to work with companies facing the skills gap challenge to customize corporate training in business science that enable employees to learn, grow, and stay.

Also, watch for GreenFig to partner with higher education to better serve the needs of their communities with our accelerated skill development business science courses. We understand the steep challenge for higher education institutions to adapt programs to meet rapidly changing workforce requirements. Because GreenFig is uniquely positioned to keep our pulse on the changing business environment to rapidly develop relevant business science curriculum, it is a win-win – our combined strengths benefit students, local businesses, and higher-ed!

We were received with great enthusiasm at several recent conferences catering to the innovators in higher education – HERDI and ACHE. We thank you for the overwhelming support and inspiration.

Kudos to Our Founders, Advisory Team, and Community Partners

It is the amazing leadership team – our founders, Advisory Board, and community partners – who all make GreenFig’s mission possible. They bring a wealth of experience in – and passion for – digital and business transformation, higher education, technology, and marketing. We are thrilled with their commitment and partnership in building the market leader in applied business science for high demand jobs in the digital economy.

Specific kudos to co-founder Cari Baldwin, who was recently named one of the Top 35 Women in B2B Marketing. We are honored to have Cari’s expertise and leadership in guiding our Digital Marketing Scientists.

Lastly, we would like to thank other powerful partners for making our programs possible including Justine Evirs with Paradigm Switch enabling veteran funding and participation and  Coco Brown and the Athena Alliance for supporting our efforts to bring talented women to the forefront in our Advisory Board selection process.

What’s in Store for 2018

New this year, look for an 8-week immersion program scheduled for Summer 2018. Our popular 16-week Digital Marketing Science course will return in Fall 2018 as well as a new bevy of business science courses in other verticals.

We will expand our reach by partnering with local community colleges and higher education institutions.  Keep your eyes on the GreenFig website and watch your email to learn more!

As we embrace the new year, we are inspired by the leaders – civic, educational and business – seeking to solve the incredible challenge of providing relevant, cost-effective programs to enable lifelong learning for a diverse workforce required for today and tomorrow.

To lifelong learning,

Libby Unger

CEO and Co-founder 

GreenFig – A Micro Education Company 

@GreenFigME

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Why GreenFig? The Value of a Microdegree in Applied Business Science

The World Economic Forum cites, “[the digital economy] is disrupting almost every industry in every country. And, these changes herald the transformation of entire systems of production, management, and governance.” Where land, oil, and capital drove the past three Industrial Ages, this new “4th Industrial Age” is powered by “digital oil” – data. Companies are building and deploying systems of intelligence to prospect, discover, and refine the digital oil of the digital economy. And, the miners of this digital oil are “business scientists”. Business scientists must understand how to capture, observe, and utilize customer, financial, market, and product data. They do not necessarily have to be technical – as in know how to code – instead, they must learn how to generate and review business data and use their creative skills to operate business application software. In the US, politicians, academia, and industry leaders are currently placing a tremendous focus on technical training, coding, and other STEM programs. However, the unspoken truth is that many of these positions will eventually be eliminated through advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Additionally, many people are simply not interested or well-suited for these technical programs, degrees, and jobs. However, people who are creative and critical thinkers – products of liberal arts programs – are ideally suited to fill the positions of the digital economy. All they need is some additional specialized training and knowledge. Micro Education companies and microdegrees are well-designed to provide such training.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

History Majors: You’ve Got a Future in Tech

We’ve all heard the joke: What’s the difference between a large pizza and a history degree? One can feed a family of four. For the purposes of the pun, history can be replaced with any liberal arts major. From English and art history to political science and philosophy — the notion has been that those who choose a humanities tract graduate from college with heaps of debt yet find themselves working as a barista or the checkout line at Whole Foods. But that doesn’t mean their liberal arts degree doesn’t have value — even as we transform to a digital age. Many assume that in our current (and future) tech-consumed and driven world, that math and science education — software engineering, programming, coding, and the like — is the exclusive golden ticket to career success. To be sure, we need these kinds of minds and this kind of training. But, it’s a mistake to believe that the liberal arts educated don’t have a critical role to play in the digital workforce. Because after all, who is going to do the selling, the marketing and the customer servicing of today’s technology services and products? Answer: Those who have honed critical thinking, writing and interpersonal skills, and who possess the nontechnical ability to connect with end users a la their liberal arts education. This notion is confirmed in “That ‘Useless” Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech’s Hottest Ticket,” a Forbes article that provides example after example of liberal arts degree holders achieving success in today’s tech world, along with stats to back up the claim that tech companies are increasingly recruiting more nontechnical talent. The article uses the analogy of the automobile industry in the 1920s, which “created enormous numbers of jobs for people who helped fit cars into everyday life: marketers, salesmen, driving instructors, road crews and so on.” A similar trend is unfolding today. The article goes on to reveal that “throughout the major U.S. tech hubs, whether Silicon Valley or Seattle, Boston or Austin, Texas, software companies are discovering that liberal arts thinking makes them stronger. Engineers may still command the biggest salaries, but at disruptive juggernauts such as Facebook and Uber, the war for talent has moved to nontechnical jobs, particularly sales and marketing. The more that audacious coders dream of changing the world, the more they need to fill their companies with social alchemists who can connect with customers — and make progress seem pleasant.” And the ability to connect is what liberal arts thinkers do best. But don’t pack your bags for Silicon Valley just yet, English majors. Yes, you’ve got great critical thinking, writing and communication skills. And yes, tech companies are hiring nontechnical people like you. But to land one of the aforementioned sales and marketing positions requires more than just a degree. While you have the right foundation, your university education did not prepare you with the up-to-date digital skills and experience required for a job-ready resume in the fast-moving, fast-changing digital age. That’s why a liberal arts degree crossed with a microdegree in applied business science from GreenFig is such a powerful combination for procuring a growth career in tech. GreenFig’s curriculum has been tailored by industry experts to help you gain these high-demand skills and master critical strategic concepts in a short period of time. And unlike traditional online courses, GreenFig’s hybrid training platform is laser-focused on experiential learning — combining live, interactive online and offline team-based instruction, all the while guaranteeing its students gain real-world, practical experience. So you can demand a higher salary in an evolving industry faster than it takes to perfect latte art. For more details on how you can transform your liberal arts resume into a tech-ready ticket in less than 10 hours a week, visit greenfig.net. Click here course schedule for September 13, 2017 term.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

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