Make School recently hosted the San Francisco EdSurge Career Fair and had the opportunity to hold a Q&A session with our co-founder and co-CEO, Ashu Desai, and our Head of People Operations, Sarah Hass. They touched on topics that included Make School’s current hiring push and where the company is headed in the next year or two. Here’s a full recap!
Q: Can you tell me a little about your company and the problem(s) you are trying to solve?
Ashu: We were founded in 2012 while going through Y Combinator, and our mission has been to empower students to build and ship products that impact their communities. How we accomplish that is in a couple different ways. One way is through our Summer Academy, which is an eight-week program where students ages 13 and up build and ship their own iOS app or VR experience. Second is through the Product Academy, which is an accelerated college program for students who want a hands-on and product-oriented educational experience. The program spans two years, divided by a six-month internship at a tech startup. Students learn the Computer Science theory covered by traditional universities paired with the practical experience of building and shipping products, plus soft skills such as ethics, storytelling, and interpersonal communication. The program has no up-front cost, and instead students pay tuition through internship and post-grad earnings.
Q. How would you describe your company culture?
Sarah: Culture can often be a buzzword-heavy description — “collaborative,” “transparent,” “focused” — and while we are certainly intentional about embodying those key traits, I actually think the most unique and special part of our culture is the students. Having them in the same building as the staff, working side-by-side, celebrating wins together, and tackling problems together. They’re incredibly energizing. We’re each a part of each other’s culture, and I’m proud to be in this community with them. The current team at Make School
Q. What do you have in the pipeline — from either a product or company goals standpoint — for 2016–2017?
Ashu: Growth! Our Summer Academy was in eight locations worldwide last summer and we’re expanding that presence in 2017. We’ve been evaluating the markets both in the US and internationally, and are excited about the potential. Our Product Academy doubled from last year, and we aim to double that again next year. We also place an emphasis on being student-responsive, and have tried to be so from the beginning. We’re constantly seeking feedback and determining how to best incorporate and support what our students are telling us they need. Sometimes that’s curriculum, class pace, location, or how Make School can better help them achieve their goals.
Q. What are your biggest hiring needs?
Sarah: Echoing Ashu, we’re ramping up our hiring to support growth in a couple key ways — specifically to support both our Summer and Product Academies as well as our 2017 company goals. We’re growing our team in both technical and non-technical positions like admissions, marketing, engineering, and design. This is the first time we’ve had such a big recruiting push and we’re really excited to grow the team in these important areas. We’re also starting to ramp up our recruiting efforts for Summer Academy 2017 instructors, especially as we expand globally this year.
Q. What are you looking for in a potential employee?
Sarah: We’re a diverse group — we have people here from Fortune 500 companies and startups, people with years of educational experience and those who are just getting started — but the common thread linking every person here is the desire to make an impact. Everyone is mission-driven, and passionate about the purpose of their work here. They’re also excited about being a leader in the industry and transforming the educational experience of computer science.
If you’re passionate about shaping the future of computer science education, we’re interested in hearing from you. We’re interviewing candidates for the following positions:
City Manager — Los Angeles
City Manager — New York City
Full Stack Web Instructor and Curriculum Engineer
Head of Admissions
iOS Summer Academy Instructor
Ruby on Rails Engineer
Student Experience Lead
Web and Marketing Designer
Check out our jobs page to learn more and apply. We’re excited to meet you!