I’ve worked in the banking industry for the past 7 years, and while I still believe it’s one of the quickest way to make decent money in your 20’s, I also don’t think it’s a very sustainable career for most people. The long hours, the stress, and unfortunately the greed tend to take a toll on workers after awhile. I’ve been considering transitioning out of the industry for quite some time into something more fulfilling, but for the time being I wanted to have the benefit of a stable job while still expanding on my skill set.
I must have been looking up MBA programs online, because I came across an ad (on Instagram of all places) for a free MBA program called Smartly. Obviously I was a little skeptical at first, but I did some research and discovered that the program is legitimate and completely free, with the company funding the program by placing applicants upon graduation and collecting a recruitment fee. All of the learning is done online, and while I’ve done courses on Coursera and EDX before, I liked the learning style of the courses in Smartly and ultimately it seemed like something I would be able to stick with longer.
I applied to the program and was lucky enough to be accepted a couple of weeks ago! Considering they claim to only accept 7% of applicants, I’m definitely excited to be a part of the class and think it’ll be a great way to expand beyond what I’ve learned in banking.
Given the company is still extremely new to the education scene (I believe I’m in the 2nd or 3rd class of MBA students) it still doesn’t come anywhere close to getting an MBA from a top school. However – as more and more people pursue alternative learning options, it’s not crazy to think that someday online degrees will be the norm and will no longer be considered inferior. Smartly claims that their students performed better than students from HBS, Stanford, and Wharton in an independent academic study testing accounting skills, so the online vs traditional battle already appears to have begun.
I’ll be writing updates on the course semi-regularly to provide as unbiased of a review of the program as possible, but ultimately I’m just excited to be doing something separate from my usual day job. Who knows – it may even guide me towards my next adventure!
This review is not solicited by Smartly, but feel free to check out their website regardless!