General Assembly is a global education company that works with students online and in person across 15 campuses in 4 continents. During our EXPAND London event in March, GA’s upskilling area covered by Samantha Hepburn (see our conversation with Sam) and Amit Patel (see tips that Amit shared with us) was completely packed. What makes GA standout? Lora Schellenberg, GA Marketing Lead, brought us closer to the company that has become alma mater to top Talent in London and globally.
I’m looking forward to the day when every child is required to learn basic coding.
What do you think General Assembly has that other educational institutions don’t?
Established in NYC in 2011, originally as a co-working space before realising the need for skill-sharing, we are an education company on a mission to empower a global community to pursue work they love. At General Assembly, our courses are focused on the most relevant and in-demand skills across tech, design, business and data. These include web development, UX design, digital marketing, product management, data science and analytics.
We work closely with company partners to ensure that when students take our immersive courses, they’ll be able to change their careers no matter what their background. When students take our part-time courses, they’ll be able to successfully expand their skill-sets and advance their careers. We truly feel there’s something to learn for everyone at GA, and because of this, our alumnus network is massive, global, and extremely diverse. We’re proud of that!
How do you see the future of Tech education? What role do you think GA has in shaping it?
I personally see the future of tech education continuing to focus, just like GA does, on what skills are most in demand. I’d love to see a world where students no longer graduate from university without a clue about what they want to do, and they are not continuously turned down by companies because they all require at least 2 years of experience. I felt this way, as do most of my peers, and we continue to see university students come to GA to get relevant skills to make their candidatures more attractive to companies. I’m looking forward to the day when every child is required to learn basic coding, just like the requirement to study any other language. I believe we’re getting there!
Embrace the lean methodology in everything you do: Build, Measure, Learn.
What should anyone willing to join your team consider before applying for your roles?
In London we are a very close-knit team that functions like our own mini startup. Our work culture is something we take very seriously, and we ensure each addition to our team will fit into it. You need to be passionate about education, willing to work beyond the 9-5, and teamwork is everything to us. You also need to appreciate a good joke, cause we’ve got plenty (maybe too many)!
What’s the biggest challenge that GA faces right now?
It’s been an exciting challenge for GA to launch in foreign markets. We are a US-founded company with campuses across the US, but we’re here in London as well as Hong Kong, Singapore, Melbourne & Sydney. Especially in Europe, it’s been interesting watching and being part of the change in perception of education. In many countries still, students don’t pay for higher education, but this is changing in Europe. Also, the idea that education doesn’t stop after university is changing, as more people realise that learning is a life-long journey. That’s why one of our favourite sayings is simply “Keep Learning”.
What does it take to be an innovator? How do you recommend a company can stand out from the crowd?
Being an innovator means you don’t take ‘No’ for an answer, and you’re willing to stand up after being knocked down hundreds of times. You need to embrace failure – every failure is a chance to learn. Embrace the lean methodology in everything you do: Build, Measure, Learn.
See how it happened: Inaugural EXPAND London kicks off