Quantic’s Weekly Roundup

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup is a satisfying mix of the latest breaking news, business, STEM and social science stories. Here are your headlines for this week: 

We’re big fans of fellow disruptors: From nanobots to brain-computer interfaces, Forbes lists its top five emerging disruptive technologies that entrepreneurs need to know. They have the potential to create innovative breakthroughs and completely change the aerospace, health and manufacturing sectors. 

Move over Dr. Dolittle: A new app has been developed that can translate your cat’s meow. MeowTalk records the sound of your feline friend and then attempts to identify the meaning. The purr-fect concept was developed by a former Amazon Alexa engineer. Although every cat’s meow is unique, it can translate the sound into phrases like “Feed Me!” The app is mostly used for fun now, but could lead to developments of “smart-collars” for in-depth pet vocal translations. 

Gen Z passes the vibe check: New reports show that Zillennials will reshape the economy and how we invest… forever. The first generation born into an online world is now entering the workforce and compelling other generations to adapt. Gen Z plans to do things differently than past generations, especially with their time and money. Sectors that will benefit include e-commerce, luxury, and media, while areas like alcohol, meat, cars and travel may suffer.


Old McDonald had a drone: Studies show that drones are helping UK farmers become more sustainable and increase their yield. They are offering a wide range of agriculture benefits like irrigation management, high-resolution crop maps, and quality control. European startups are now creating drones that can collect data to create valuable insights into the effectiveness of overall farming methods and techniques. 

Corporate Training & Development: Why It’s Important in 2021

No matter your industry, role, or career objectives, knowledge is power. You need it if you want to advance and maintain the same level of performance that won you that promotion. 

How do you go about getting the skills and knowledge you need? That’s where corporate training and development come into play. In the 2020s, it’s going to play a huge role in the way organizations think about and invest in their employees.

That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide. We’ll uncover:

  • What corporate training is and why it’s so important
  • Tips to maximize the benefits of corporate training and corporate eLearning
  • How to identify the right corporate training courses that work best for you

By the time you’re through, you’ll know exactly what a solid corporate training program looks like and how to make the most of what’s out there to accelerate your career.

What Is Corporate Training?

Corporate training refers to organized professional development activities created by companies to help their employees be more effective on the job. If you’ve ever taken a set of courses created and hosted by your employer, you’ve had a taste of what it entails.

These days, you’ll often see it called Corporate Education or Workplace Learning, but it’s a little different from the concept of on-the-job training. Corporate training is:

  • A form of continued education. You may encounter online courses, seminars, or series of lectures much like a traditional college class. This is especially true if your company uses outside resources or institutions that offer corporate training.
  • Geared toward your holistic professional development. It will help you attain the skills you need to be an effective corporate professional.
  • Not always company-specific. Corporate training is designed to help you excel in your current role and become more valuable to the company over time. However, you’ll usually also develop skills that you can take with you to other companies.

How You’ll Benefit From Corporate Training

A good corporate training program is one of the most critical things to look for when you consider taking a position in a company. The presence of one signals that the company recognizes its employees as a valuable resource and is interested in nurturing you as an asset. This has a host of benefits for both the company and you. Research suggests that you’ll enjoy:

  • Increased efficiency and competence at your job
  • Greater motivation and morale
  • A stronger and more cohesive company culture
  • Stabler teams and relationships due to fewer turnovers

Corporate Training Processes That Support Your Success

Imagine one Friday that you walk into your yearly review with your boss, who’s so enthused about your performance that you get a promotion. Congratulations! In the corporate world, that’s what everyone wants to hear.

Come Monday, get dressed up in your most confidence-inspiring outfit and head into the office. Your first task? A meeting with a key partner in an hour about an initiative spearheaded by your department. All right, you say. New position, new experience! Then, your boss hands you spreadsheets you’ve never seen before to help you prepare. By the way, after that, you’re having lunch with two of your department’s team leaders to discuss the findings in that meeting. No pressure.

It’s a good thing you had time for that online corporate training module over the weekend to help you get up to speed, right? Thanks to those processes your company has developed to help support your career, you’ve totally got this.

What a Strategic Model for Training & Development Looks Like

A strategic corporate training model typically has four phases. As you move through the ranks of your company, you’ll encounter them. They are:

  1. Onboarding. Onboarding gets employees up to speed on processes, procedures, and policies. In a good program, you’ll find yourself onboarded when you’re first hired, when you’re promoted, and when you’re brought onto a new team.
  2. Training. The company may have unique processes or procedures. You’ll need to develop the skills to perform them. This may also include mandatory training such as those established in compliance regulations for your industry.
  3. Development. Once you’ve gained competency in your position, you can begin with career or personal development training. Developmental training often focuses on soft skills like communication, problem-solving, or negotiation. Attaining these skills help you function much more effectively.
  4. Education. A good corporate training program also includes opportunities to attain an education that’s not related to your current job or role, but which help you attain career objectives down the line. You may pursue these opportunities to help tip you toward that promotion.

Although these are arranged linearly, you might find yourself moving through all four stages multiple times. They’re designed to complement one another and holistically improve your career. 

For example, in the story above, you may have gone through these steps when you were first hired. However, you went through at least the first two steps again when you were promoted. As you settle into your new role, you may also consider additional courses that help you develop professionally, or which provide you with the education you need to move forward again.

Tips to Maximize the Benefits of Corporate Training

Corporate training accelerates your career growth by giving you the skills and knowledge you need to achieve your goals. However, like with any continuing education, you’re going to get out of it what you put into it. We recommend that you:

  • Make corporate training programs a priority when you job search. Research whether the company you’re interested in working for has a corporate training program. If the job listing doesn’t mention it then someone on Glassdoor, Reddit, or Quora might have the scoop.
  • Identify your time and learning needs. Determine whether you need flexibility, certain time allowances, or for the material to be presented in a certain way. That will help you identify a program that works for you.  
  • Create a plan and a schedule. Make training and development a priority by putting it into your schedule. That will help you commit.
  • Don’t be afraid to seek out third-party corporate training on your own. If your company doesn’t offer corporate training, look into organizations or institutions that provide it. Likewise, check with your company to see if they’ll offer tuition reimbursement.

4 Types of Corporate Training Programs

Many types of corporate training programs exist, and the company you work for might have many. They generally fall into four distinct categories:

1. Mandatory Learning

Mandatory learning involves legally required training that employees must receive. Sometimes, this happens regularly. Other times, it only has to happen once. Some examples of required training include:

  • Safety-related training, such as under OSHA or the FAA
  • Affirmative defense training
  • Ethics training, such as under the Federal Acquisitions Regulations
  • Privacy and security training under HIPAA

2. Leadership and Management

If you’re advancing to a management role, prepare to hit the books! According to LinkedIn, managers spend 30 percent more time learning new soft skills than the average person. Corporate training for leadership and management is often offered to individuals preparing to move into management positions for the first time, or into higher-level leadership positions. You’ll gain expertise in things like:

3. Department or Role-Specific Training

A company that’s committed to helping you develop professionally will offer corporate training directly related to your department or specific. That’s crucial when you transition to a new role or team, as it will help you get off on the right foot immediately. Department or role-specific training will include:

  • An overview of necessary processes, policies, and procedures
  • Resources for developing a deeper understanding of your role

4. Executive Readiness

Companies seeking to build, train, and grow their executive team often invest in executive readiness training programs. If attaining an executive position is among your career objectives, it’s well worth your time to consider these. Executive readiness training often takes the form of an EMBA program. These programs are like an MBA but focus more on the exact skills you’ll need as an executive in a corporation. A good EMBA:

  • Is accredited
  • Offers focuses and specialties
  • Has enough electives that you can broaden your skillset
  • Still teaches you the core business skills you need

What Is Corporate eLearning?

Corporate eLearning is the use of eLearning tools and solutions for corporate training. In other words, it’s digital and online learning for your professional development … much like online classes in college.

It’s also what you’re most likely to encounter when you sign up for your company’s corporate training program. Over the past 16 years, corporate eLearning has grown by an astounding 900 percent. From 2017 alone, the number of companies using eLearning jumped from 77 to 98 percent.

This tremendous growth is largely because there are many benefits of eLearning for corporate training for both companies and employees. With corporate eLearning, you’ll enjoy:

  • Greater schedule flexibility. You’ll access training and materials on your own time, in the comfort of your own home.
  • A differentiated learning experience. It’s easier to receive a customized learning experience that helps you close the specific skills gaps you have.
  • Self-paced learning. You’ll maximize knowledge retention by studying at your own pace.
  • The ability to learn on your own device. Rather than learning a new system or device, you’ll stay focused on learning the material you need to advance on familiar grounds.

These benefits can make or break your success, especially if you undertake a challenging endeavor like executive readiness training. (Checking out an EMBA program? Consider the full advantages of an online course over a traditional course.)

How to Get the Most Out of Corporate eLearning Solutions

Whether you’re enrolled in a company-provided program or pursuing corporate training independently, there are a few things that you can do to help you get the most out of your program. DO:

  • Look into customization options. Whether that includes signing up for electives or configuring a course interface to facilitate your learning style, make the eLearning experience one that works for you.
  • Set yourself up for success with the right hardware. Make sure your experience is a profitable one by having the right technology to support your learning.
  • Treat your eLearning and training as part of your job. Online learning can sometimes fall “out of sight and out of mind.” Keep it visible by putting it on your calendar and carving out a specified time for it.

Companies With Excellent Training & Development Programs

According to the American Society for Training and Development, companies with comprehensive corporate training and development programs generate 218 percent higher revenue and 24 percent higher profit margins.

And companies have taken notice. Here are three excellent examples of corporate training and development programs (plus what’s unique about them) to help you get a sense of what these programs include.

  • Etsy School. Etsy’s Learning and Development team helps employees develop professionally using evidence-based approaches and innovative formats. It’s unique in that development pathways for each employee stem directly from performance reviews.
  • Data University. Created by AirBnB, Data University strives to make the workforce more data literate. This unique approach allows employees to take courses, gain the “credentials” they need to move forward, and even includes Intensive units on specific skills.
  • Yelp’s Learning Culture. Rather than creating a separate university or training hub, Yelp adopts the attitude that “every day can be a school day” and has many initiatives for integrated learning. Both hard skills and soft skills are emphasized, as well as overall employee satisfaction to keep everyone engaged.

Key Takeaways to Build the Best Corporate Training for Your Executive Team

With the majority of companies offering some sort of corporate training, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to grow the hard and soft skills that can accelerate your career. We’ve covered how corporate training can help you develop professionally, as well as provided plenty of tips to help you make the most of whatever corporate training program you choose. You’re now ready to go forth, expand your skills, and seize the new opportunities corporate training creates. 

Happy advancing!

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup


Quantic’s Weekly Roundup is a satisfying mix of the latest breaking news, business, STEM and social science stories. Here are your headlines for this week: 

Do NOT hold the fries: According to data, comfort food and tons of alcohol got America through election night. Searches for “fries near me” and “liquor stores near me” skyrocketed across all platforms. According to Drizly, an alcohol delivery company, the blue states it services saw a 75% increase, while red states hit a 33% increase. Blue states favored wine, while swing states preferred liquor.

Just breathe: A Singapore startup has developed a breath test it says can detect COVID-19 in under 60 seconds. Based on clinical trials involving 180 patients, the system has clocked an accuracy rate of more than 90%. The startup, Breathonix, believes the test will be a welcome and viable alternative to the uncomfortable nose swab tests, which also take longer to process results. 

Zombies, science-fiction, and secret agents, oh my! A new breed of running apps are being designed to motivate those who might not be excited to hit the pavement. The app, Running Stories, uses real-time data and GPS markers to integrate an exciting plot with your surroundings. Complete a secret mission, fend off monsters, all while burning plenty of calories.  

Reduce, reuse, recycle… robots? AMP Robotics’ AI-robots are being used to sort and recycle more than 67 million tons of waste. With sorting jobs becoming less appealing, and the recent, skyrocketing increase in packaging from online shopping, the need for processing recyclables has never been greater. Now, between the robots’ sorting accuracy and lower labor costs, facilities will be able to focus on improving the recycled materials that they sell.

Should I Get an MBA? The True Cost and Benefits of Getting an MBA

MBAs are not for the faint of heart, but they’re more accessible than ever to those up for undertaking this impressive achievement. Thanks to changes in the business world and the nature of education, you have more options to consider when selecting a program.

While the MBA is the ultimate degree in the business world, not all programs are created equal. 

Before you hit the button to apply, make sure you’ve adequately weighed the pros and cons of each option by:

  • Calculating the true ROI of the program
  • Uncovering the real value of the specific degrees offered
  • Identifying what features you need in a program

We’ll show you how to do all three, and provide plenty of other pointers along the way. Let’s dive right in.

How to Calculate the True ROI of an MBA

If you’re looking into different MBA programs, you will notice various discussions about what the “ROI” of an MBA looks like. 

The good news? No matter what area of business you decide to enter, an MBA pays off. You’ll see a return on your investment over the long-run – guaranteed. However, not all MBA programs are created equal, and not all calculate their ROI by including the full value that the program or school offers. 

According to The Princeton Review, the most common way that schools calculate the ROI of their MBA is how long it takes each student to recoup the cost of the program itself. For example, if an MBA program from a major school costs you $50,000 and you land a $100,000 salaried position with it, then that’s considered an extremely high return on your investment because you’ll recoup your costs in a year. In contrast, if it costs you $50,000, but you land a job that pays only $65,000, you may spend five or six years recapturing your expenses. That leads to a lower ROI.

By that logic, the cheaper the program, the greater the ROI – but we all know that isn’t true. 

The return on your investment analysis should also consider opportunities and costs. As you peruse programs, ask yourself about:

  • Career sacrifices: Do I have to stop working to pursue this program? If so, how much will that affect me?
  • Networking opportunities: Will this program allow me to access high-caliber connections in the business world, thereby accessing quality career opportunities? 
  • Electives and specialties: Is the program teaching me the basics, or will I have the chance to take elective courses that help me develop transferable skills?
  • Program match: Is the program appropriate to my specific career path, or is it too basic or too advanced? 

Imagine arriving at your new program only to discover that your professors assume you have certain business expertise that you don’t, or that the career network is non-existent. A program that’s a bad fit for you is just as worthless as a low-quality program that doesn’t give you the skills you need.

With these, you’ll have a better sense of whether a specific program worth it to you. 

The Benefits of Getting an MBA

An MBA can convey several expected and unexpected benefits. In addition to more earning power and access to more high-powered jobs, you will enjoy:

  • A more extensive network of colleagues and friends. An MBA program is a great place to meet connections from all around the world, even your next business partner. (Yelp, OkCupid, and GrubHub were all started by people who met in MBA programs.) 
  • Differentiation in the job market. Depending on your industry, an MBA will set you apart from the competition, presenting you as a strong candidate for your dream job.
  • Improved communication skills. You’ll learn how to communicate professionally, developing better relationships with your bosses, colleagues, or employees.
  • A re-energized career. If you’re feeling stuck in a rut and burned out, an MBA can help you access opportunities that previously stood out of reach. In addition to business acumen, you’ll gain transferable skills that let you be more productive at work.
  • Better job security. Possessing an MBA makes you a more valued member of any team. That translates to a decreased likelihood of losing your job in a turbulent market and helps reduce the time between jobs.

The Hidden Value of an MBA in Today’s Market

In 2019, some of the most prominent schools in the U.S. reported plummeting enrollment rates in their MBA programs. During the same time, tech fields of every stripe represent some of the fastest-growing job markets, and schools report no shortage of applications to their STEM programs.

This trend towards technology-oriented degrees and jobs has left some people asking if MBAs have grown outdated.

They haven’t. 

According to the 2018 Corporate Recruiters Survey, 85 percent of businesses in the U.S. expected to hire an MBA graduate. 

Why Companies Value Employees with MBAs

An MBA does more than just impart practical business knowledge. Companies actively seek out MBA graduates because they:

  • See the big picture. MBA graduates leave school with a mature perspective on business, which makes them useful for understanding things like market context and competition.
  • Think long-term. They know how to plan and how to analyze the ways that actions today will impact tomorrow. (That’s critical if you ever want to become a COO, for example.)
  • Lead teams. MBA students have ample opportunities to develop their leadership skills through real-world projects and internships, making them effective leaders in the workplace.
  • Possess diverse and qualified connections. It’s not just the graduates who benefit from career networks – employers can also tap into the relationships their employees have formed.

Do I Need an MBA to Become an Executive?

No, but it can represent a significant competitive advantage. At least 40 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs sport an MBA on their resume. 

Is an MBA Necessary for Marketing, Finance, Operations, or Engineering?

Increasingly, yes! 

Professionals who come from technical backgrounds like computer science or engineering often overlook MBAs. However, if you’re looking to become a Chief Technical Officer or a Chief Financial Officer, an MBA can prove a powerful combination with your technical degrees and significantly improve the odds of being selected to serve on a board.

What’s the Best Age to Get an MBA?

The best time to get an MBA is after you have some work experience under your belt. 

According to Vanderbilt University, the average age of MBA students is around 28, but it’s not uncommon to see slightly older candidates in programs. According to UCLA, the average age for executive MBA programs is 36.

What Type of MBA Should I Get?

Professionals pursuing MBAs have more options than ever before. That’s great news if you’re trying to find a program that matches your lifestyle and current career demands. In general, you’ve got five options:

1. Traditional MBAs. If you like structure and the hands-on experience of being in a classroom, the traditional MBA is for you. Many people are also attracted to them because of their networking potential.

2. Online MBAs. Competitive online MBAs are increasing in popularity. They’re convenient, especially if you prefer to keep working, but want to go to school full-time. Many now even offer career networking opportunities to connect digitally with your peers.

3. Accelerated MBAs. In an accelerated program, you may take classes right through the summer or take many classes online. Your winter and spring breaks will also be shorter, but you’ll complete the program faster.

4. Part-Time MBAs. Part-time MBAs allow students to keep working while enjoying the structure of a classroom. They often include evening classes and may take longer to complete.

5. Executive MBAs. If you’re already mid-career and are ready to take your next step, an EMBA might be for you. Here’s a closer look at this program geared towards those aspiring to reach executive levels.

Your most significant decision lies in choosing between traditional or online MBAs. We’ve got a few thoughts on that.

How Much Does an MBA Cost?

According to Poets & Quants, the average cost of a traditional MBA program ranges between $50,000 and $80,000 – with nine schools in the U.S. exceeding $200,000 for their programs.

Many major universities also offer very competitive online MBAs. In-state tuition often ranges around $15,000, while out of state tuition averages about twice that amount.

Currently, QUANTIC offers an accredited MBA program online for free. This hyper-competitive program is worth considering if you’re seeking a high-caliber education that offers flexibility and rigor. We also offer an Executive MBA for $9,600, which will prep you for pursuing an executive position.

How Long Does It Take to Get an MBA?

The duration of a program depends on several factors, especially whether you’re attending full-time or part-time. The average lengths of time for different MBAs include:

  • Full-time traditional MBAs: Two full years, or four semesters.
  • Part-time MBAs: Typically, around three years.
  • Accelerated MBAs: Between one and two years.
  • Executive MBAs: Two years.
  • Online MBAs: One year or less. (Our Free MBA takes 10 months.)

Should I Get an MBA in 2020?

If you’re interested in an MBA to further your career, you’ve got more options than ever before. The rise of affordable, online MBAs can be precisely what you need to advance your career. However, MBAs aren’t always appropriate for everyone. It might be the right choice for you if you’re:

  • Encountering more scenarios at work that require deeper business knowledge than you possess.
  • Feeling stuck and not sure how to move your career forward, or you want to change careers.
  • Aiming for an executive-level position in your career.
  • Seeking to broaden your professional opportunities with high-quality business connections.
  • Prepared to face (and feel excited by) the rigors of a program like an MBA.
  • Thinking about one day starting your own business from scratch.

If most or all of these are true, then an MBA could be right for you.

Summary: Choose the Right Degree for Your Career Growth

Pursuing an MBA is a difficult challenge, but one that pays off in the long run. Hopefully, this article has given you some ideas about whether you should get an MBA. 

As with any significant decision, knowledge is power. We’ve explored your options, the different types of MBAs now available, and why attaining one can make you such a valuable employee in the marketplace. You’re now equipped to make the right choice in the next step of your career. Go forth and prosper.

10 Tips To Make the Most of Your Virtual Meetings

This year, many of us started working remotely and are spending far more time in virtual meetings, meet-ups, happy hours, webinars, and social gatherings. Since March, the Quantic Engagement Team, responsible for planning and hosting events for students and alumni, has held over 300 virtual events, averaging around 50 per month. Suffice it to say, they know a few things about making sure a conversation runs smoothly!

To help you better command your virtual conference room, the team has compiled their top ten tips to ensure that everything from your lighting to your muting etiquette go according to plan. 

Arrive on Time

While it’s always ideal to be on time, it can be especially important in virtual meetings. The presenter may set some expectations for meeting etiquette within the first few minutes. Presenters also typically choose to save questions until a particular section or the end of the presentation. Write down your questions so that you don’t forget them.

Limit Distractions

Now that more of us are logging on from home, the amount of distractions has increased. Make sure to find a quiet place to log in to a meeting to ensure that you’re able to stay focused and limit background noise that could interrupt the call. Also, turn off notifications on your device and if you’re used to multitasking, try to resist responding to emails until after the meeting.

Choose a Neutral Background

Don’t distract your viewers with a busy background. Try finding a solid background or one without clutter. You want listeners and viewers to focus on what you’re saying, rather than the books on the shelf behind you.

Consider Your Lighting

If you’re planning to have your video turned on during a meeting, make sure that you are well-lit so that other attendees can easily see you. Find a space facing a window and make sure that the source of light is facing you, rather than coming from the side or behind you. Zoom also recently added a feature that helps you improve your lighting.

Test Your Device with the Meeting Platform

Before logging in to a meeting, make sure to take time to familiarize yourself with the features of the meeting room. Depending on the platform and device, you will want to know how to activate your microphone and video, mute yourself, and share your screen before joining the scheduled meeting. If you’re concerned about your internet connection, check out Zoom’s system requirements and consider running a test on your internet connection.

Add a Display Name

When possible, reset your display name on the account you’re using to join a video call. Otherwise, you may show up as the name of the device (e.g. Samsung 45XT3) rather than your actual name. This makes it difficult for the host or others on the call to identify you.

Use a Profile Picture

If you’re using Zoom or other video conferencing apps, it’s nice to have a profile picture in case you’re not able to share your video. This way other attendees can put a face to the name. It helps to give the meeting a little more personalization.

Mute Yourself

In a large meeting, having multiple mics turned on can sometimes be distracting. Make sure that you’re muted when you’re not speaking. This way it won’t pick up any background noise and you can unmute yourself to ask questions or present your part.

Respect Others on the Call

Reading social cues can be difficult in a virtual setting, but it’s no less important. To prevent interrupting others, keep an eye out for those who unmute their microphones. This is often a sign that they’re about to speak. If you do end up speaking over someone, that’s ok, just make sure to allow them a chance to continue.

Utilize the Chat Tool

If another person is speaking or presenting and you want to make a quick comment or share some information, it may be best to quickly post your idea in the chat box. Note that on Zoom and Google Hangouts you also have the option to send a private note to a specific participant.

During the pandemic, expanding and staying in touch with your network is still as important and essential for our work and well-being. Always remember that we have the tools to create and maintain meaningful connections. As we all become more comfortable connecting virtually, this can even be an excellent time to expand your global network from home.

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup is a satisfying mix of the latest breaking news, business, STEM and social science stories. Here are your headlines for this week: 

The long road to red and blue: The most viral election map of 2020 was actually made by a Belgian man in 2019. Designer Karim Douïeb, who runs his own data visualization company, decided to update the map he was seeing in social posts. It bugged him because, like so many electoral maps, it framed thousands of miles of empty land as voting for Trump instead of representing the few people actually living in it. He created a more accurate representation, which depicted the actual count of red and blue votes in counties across the nation as simple circles, their size proportional to the number of votes.

Salt and lime not included: What started out as a Tesla April Fools joke became a reality… and is now sold out. The car company has created an agave-based tequila that runs buyers $250 a bottle. The spirit is sold in a bottle that resembles the shape of Tesla’s iconic lighting bolt logo. The tequila sold out within hours of being live on the website. 

What women really want: A London-based menopause startup secured £500K in funding to help support more than 13 million women in the UK. The menopause’ market potential largely remained untapped in the past, due to stigma and silence around it. With more startups now focusing on women’s health, the stigma surrounding menopause and other health matters has started to fade away. MPowder is an e-commerce startup that provides nutritional powders that tackle hormonal changes and provides women with insights, practices, and tools to empower them through menopause. 

A little “me time” and mediation: No matter where you live, it’s been a long week of US election and COVID-19 news. For those that need a mental health holiday, there’s an app for that. Whether it’s mediation, exercise, or better sleep, experts have designed platforms to calm our minds and reduce anxiety levels. Download one of these and start instantly de-stressing.

Five Questions for Free the PhD Founder, Vay Cao

Quantic Alum, Vay Cao, PhD, founded Free the PhD, a career development and advocacy platform for PhDs who want to learn more about the world outside of academia and kickstart an exciting career. You can check out their programs, talk to their advisors, and access their resources year-round.  Vay spoke with us about the initial inspiration and future goals for the program.

What inspired you to create Free the PhD? 

More PhD graduates are produced than there are traditional full-time faculty positions. This is a trend that has been happening for decades. The simultaneous shrinking of the academic faculty pool, especially in current times, has exacerbated an already stressful professional reality for many academics. Many who complete a PhD degree are not sure what they can do professionally afterwards. I was in this camp: not interested in continuing in academia, but not sure what else I could do.  After I made my own career transition, I was inspired to create Free the PhD because I didn’t want that experience to go to waste. 

How did you launch the platform?

It started off as a typical resume-editing service, but has evolved over the years into a platform where academics can do the important work of learning to shift their mindsets from that of only an academic, to a versatile professional. Free the PhD today is a supportive digital community. It’s a set of empathetic, practical online courses to assist academics in the career transition that’s right for them. There is personalized career guidance, provided by fellow PhDs. We teach PhDs how to free themselves from their own mental limitations and become independent job seekers, including guiding them on how to edit their own job applications and do their own interview preparation.

How would you like to see it expand in the future? 

The pool of PhD talent has so much to offer all sectors of society. I would love to continue reaching more PhDs interested in exploring and pursuing diverse career paths. Alongside our own career coaching, we have been doing workshops with different institutions and are piloting a joint career course with a UC university, which I hope might expand into other institutions that would like to work together to serve their trainees.

Why did you want to pursue your MBA? 

When I first began working outside of academia, I had no prior formal “work experience.” Joining a start-up out of grad school meant I was learning as I went every single day, trying new things and loving the experience. I realized I really wanted a comprehensive understanding of business, rather than this patchwork of information to make me a more effective and efficient professional. I enjoyed being in the business world, and wanted to ensure I was empowered to both deliver results and accelerate my career. 

What did you like about Quantic’s pedagogy method?

What I wanted from an MBA was to get the needed information in a streamlined, time-efficient, affordable, curated manner, all from a trusted source. Knowing that the people behind Quantic are proven in online education, and checking out the freely available Business Foundations courses on their app, helped convince me that this was exactly what I needed! Now that the Quantic MBA is officially accredited, I am even more convinced that I made the right decision in choosing Quantic.  

I have leveraged a lot of the business knowledge and frameworks from my Quantic MBA experience, both in my day job and constantly improving Free the PhD. Knowing that I have the fundamental knowledge needed to go out and make an impact in the world has provided me with the confidence that every professional and entrepreneur needs to succeed! 

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup is a satisfying mix of the latest breaking news, business, STEM and social science stories. Here are your headlines for this week: 

Mars is partnering with Acquia to create a digital spooktacular Halloween. Mars wanted to digitize the physical experience of Halloween trick-or-treating, but make it more engaging than a website. To build on that idea, the company held a one-week hackathon. Treat Town was created, which is a platform that can be experienced on the free app or through a browser. Candy-givers and trick-or-treaters sign up and create profiles. Candy-givers can design and decorate their virtual door, purchase candy credits from Mars, and decide whether anyone on Treat Town can visit their door (or friends and family only). People can even set different levels of rewards for friends and family and even donate to charities

Samasource, a training data and validation company based in San Francisco, believes AI technology can enhance human-centered work instead of threaten it. Artificial intelligence is an emerging force in the business world that has the potential to either replace humans in certain industries or empower humans with better tools, depending on how the technology is utilized. The company’s philosophy is to use artificial intelligence to empower the human workforce. AI will simply remove more mundane tasks, so that humans can focus on tasks that require higher cognition and focus on higher value areas of work.

The company, PORTL Hologram, has raised $3M to put a hologram machine in every home. PORTL’s projector can transmit images any time of the day or night with its “studio-in-a-box.” Anyone with $60,000 to spend and a white background can beam themselves into any portal, anywhere in the world. The company plans to create miniature versions that will be the size of a desktop computer and will be bundled with entertainment systems like Peloton and Mirror. 

Need something to read this weekend? Sports writer, Jon Bois, used his platform on SB Nation to write his latest multimedia story: 20020: What is the Future of College Football. This is the sequel to his 25-part fiction story about the future of America where football games last for thousands of years and span the continent. The digital science fiction piece explores what would happen if humans lived in a utopian meditation with endless time…and sports! 

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup is a satisfying mix of the latest breaking news, business, STEM and social science stories. Here are your headlines for this week: 

Robo-doping: The use of performance-enhancing algorithms to gain a competitive advantage in esports competition. Esports is a fast-growing field, and that has only accelerated in the midst of COVID-19. In digital competitions, there are no guidelines or rules against the use of simulation programs to enhance performance. Some factors that conspire to enable robo-doping include fast internet speeds, cloud-based platforms, and automation systems. These same factors can also manipulate technology we use in our day-to-day lives. 

Farming tech is getting a NASA-inspired upgrade. In increasingly tight, urban homes, we don’t all have room for gardens. The Rotofarm, by an Australian company called Bace, is a space-friendly hydroponic system, and it doubles as a beautiful sculpture in your home. With a circular design, which rotates plants like a Ferris wheel through the day, the Rotofarm is able to fit nearly five feet of growing area inside a countertop footprint of just 11 inches. 

The pandemic made almost 60% of consumers consider postponing high-value purchases. This lack of clear direction from consumers has put the next decade of growth and market share up for grabs. Some experts are saying the next era must be driven by true creativity and managed risk-taking, which is often inspired by customer obsession, but not defined by it. Expose your teams to new technology, new art, and new foods, and build a sustainable innovation capability to transform this inspiration into valuable new ideas.

Singapore-based smart electric motorbike startup, Ion Mobility, has raised $3.3 million in funding to launch its products across Southeast Asia, starting with Indonesia. Founded just last year, Ion Mobility aims to create more sustainable and affordable mobility alternatives for Southeast Asia’s large population of motorbike users. According to a Statista report, Indonesia alone had roughly 115 million motorcycles in use in 2018, which was about half of its total population that year. 

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup

Quantic’s Weekly Roundup is a satisfying mix of the latest breaking news, business, STEM and social science stories. Here are your headlines for this week: 

It’s your show: A virtual video presentation startup, mmhmm, launched in May as “a kind of joke,” but recently raised more than $31 million in funding and already has a user waitlist. During the pandemic, most of our social and business interactions moved to video chat. This app allows users to change their virtual rooms, backdrops, feature Instagram photos, show content “over your shoulder,” and share immersive slides or live videos. With a simple gesture on a trackpad, you can move your face around the screen, shrink or enlarge your image, or disappear completely. Beyond video conferences, the app can be used for bigger opportunities, like helping creators record and stream more interactive content on YouTube, TikTok, and elsewhere.

Proper LAB attire: The US Army Research Laboratory has developed augmented reality goggles for combat dogs, designed to let them receive orders at a distance. Each set of goggles is specially fit for each dog, with a visual indicator that allows the dog to be directed to a specific spot and react to the visual cue in the goggles. The goggles themselves are not new – military dogs are already used to wearing them as protection in bad conditions or for aerial drops, but the augmented reality system is a new development.

Drive my car: A U.K. startup is creating augmented reality technology for vehicles in the form of holographic displays. The company, Envisics, brings together technologies like computer vision, machine learning, big data analytics and navigation to build hardware that integrates into vehicles to project holographic displays. This provides enhanced “dashboards” of information to drivers, with features like mapping, navigation guidance, and hazard warnings. The company announced yesterday that it has raised $50 million in a Series B round of funding.

What came first, the chicken or the vegan egg: A French startup is launching a vegan egg that looks, cracks, and tastes like the real thing. Les Merveilloeufs (a play on the French words marvelous and eggs), created this 100% plant-based egg that will launch across restaurants in Paris. Unlike its competitors, their version bears the distinct yolk and whites of the traditional appearance of eggs.