My Executive MBA Experience with Quantic (FKA Smart.ly)

Note: This post was updated on Feb 18, 2020 to change “Smart.ly” to “Quantic” per the new program name.

This post was further updated on Feb 25, 2020 to indicate that Quantic is now a certified program.

I recently started a year long Executive MBA program with a startup education provider called Quantic School of Business & Technology (fka Smart.ly). It’s been some time since I was in a classroom setting and I was nervous about the work required, being able to fit this into my schedule, and whether I would even enjoy it. But, one month in now, and having completed what some might consider the hardest part (Accounting!), I’m happy to say that this program is great and I’m exciting to see where it will take me in the future. This post covers my experience so far with the program. [Related: Will a Quantic MBA get me a job at Facebook?]

What’s Good

I’ve had experience using online programs to study foreign languages and have attempted to use tutorials on YouTube for a variety of topics. While I always started with the best intentions, most of these efforts petered out over time. My track record didn’t give me confidence. The Quantic approach is different and has helped me learn much more quickly than I expected.

The curriculum is broken up in a way that allows you to plan for study time while being flexible enough to fit into any schedule. I know a year in advance what I’ll be studying each month, when exams and Case study projects are due, and when I’ll have breaks.

Markets & Economies Schedule
Markets & Economies Schedule

Each module is scheduled over 1–2 weeks generally, so there is enough flexibility to fit study time in on weekends or an occasional week night.

And those big milestones (like the dreaded Accounting exam) offer a full week to take it, and they are open book, so emphasis is on applying your knowledge, not just memorizing facts.

Each lesson overall might take several hours, but they are broken up into small chunks of 5–7 mins each. When I sit down to go through a lesson, I feel like I am making immediate progress. All of sudden, 2 hours has gone by and I’ve learned a completely new subject.

The modules also focus on engaging you immediately so you are never just reading text where you might tune out. In a module, you must apply your knowledge at every step by answering a question or filling in a blank.

A sample lesson
A sample lesson

This leads to rapid learning and understanding by applying concept rather than just memorizing.

It’s been some time since I was at college, but I wonder if this way of learning might have helped me retain more. I was an Economics major in college and dreaded going to those huge lecture halls to hear about supply and demand. The Smartly method brings me closer to the material and in ways that are more engaging.

I’ve gone through Quantic modules on my laptop, tablet and smartphone and from locations all over the world — hotel rooms while on work trips, during a recent vacation at the beach, and while commuting to work. The 5–7 minute long lessons can be completed anywhere and were designed for busy people.

One of they key things I’ve been really happy about is the community aspect of the program. Quantic creates small cohorts of students (80–100) of professionals from all over the world, and has put a lot of time into building a community around the learning process. The Program leverages Slack to collaborate online and I’ve gotten to know some of my peers through group projects and connecting with those who are local to the Bay Area.

My Accounting Case Study Team, working through a recent assignment via a Group Video Chat
My Accounting Case Study Team, working through a recent assignment via a Group Video Chat

In addition to the learning modules, case studies are shared in the Slack channels and students are encouraged to share their perspective on real-world cases that apply to the concepts we are learning.

[Related Post: Will a Quantic MBA get me a job at Facebook?]

The Flipside

There are pluses and minuses to every approach and Quantic is no different.

A key benefit of an MBA program is the network you build and the career opportunities that extend from it. With an online program that includes students from literally all over the world, the bonding you might get from a traditional program isn’t there.

But the Community aspects associated with our online channels, plus regular planned meet ups are part of the program to offer real world connection as well. I haven’t had a chance to experience these yet but I do plan to as part of my participation in the program.

Note: As of February 24, 2020 Quantic is now certified by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), following a comprehensive review of its quality curricula and operational practices.

Quantic is still a new concept and is going through their certification with the educational powers that be. This process will take time and brand recognition will evolve over time. I believe the program has a lot of potential to turn business education on its head and will receive the official certifications in time. Did I mention the program is free? Compared to spending close to $100k for a traditional MBA, that’s a tradeoff I’m willing to take. For the value you get out of this education, this is a great deal for any potential student that wants to continue their education in the world of business.

Thanks for reading! Interested in learning more?

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Steven Traykovski

Ex Product/Ops guy, now exploring startup ideas, blockchain, crypto and more