Today I’m excited to share that Molly Graham is joining the Lambda School team as our first ever Chief Operating Officer.
This is an exciting moment for the company, the team and our students.
We’ve been working together with Molly for nearly 9 months, and it didn’t take long for her to become an incredible partner. In that time, I’ve grown to rely on her as much as anyone I’ve ever worked with, and I’m thrilled she shares our vision for what Lambda can become and agreed to help us make it happen
Now more than ever, Lambda has an opportunity to significantly expand who can access a tech education by helping reduce the risks and obstacles.
Currently, the average cost of upfront tuition and fees for the 2019-2020 school year was over $41,000 at private colleges; $11,000 for state residents at public colleges and $27,000 for out of state students at state schools. The result has created a national student debt crisis. More than 45 million borrowers now collectively owe nearly $1.6 trillion in student loan debt in the US. The average student loan debt for members of the class of 2018-2019 is $29,200 – and this number is expected to increase faster than inflation..
Under the federal student loan system, students bear the full financial risk of this debt. They generally owe monthly payments regardless of whether or not they can find a job, and regardless of how much income they earn. The universities and colleges move on – they have already been paid and are focused on the next class.
Lambda’s model is different because we seek to remove many of these financial risks. Lambda School offers students the ability to get an education that prepares them for a new career but without an upfront financial commitment. We do this using an Income Share Agreement. or ISA. The Lambda School ISA allows students to pay no tuition upfront and only make payments once they have secured a job paying over $50,000. Monthly payments are based on earnings but regardless of how high a students salary gets, they never pay more than $30,000 total.
Moreover, the ISA aligns the incentives of Lambda School directly with those of the students — since we only succeed when our students do, we do everything we can to make that happen. We designed the Lambda School curriculum to reflect the needs of employers and focus on helping our students master the material – so they can succeed in an interview and on the job.
The curriculum is also completely designed for remote learning – with classes that are live, online and interactive. This was originally done to keep costs down and increase accessibility - so we could provide a tech education to those living outside of urban areas. But this approach also means that we have built the right model for the present environment.
We know that Lambda is poised for continued growth in the current uncertain environment. But to take the next step, we knew we needed to take Lambda’s operations to the next level so that we could execute efficiently and effectively.
So we asked ourselves, who’s the best operator we can find who’s also aligned with our mission and values? Who’s as passionate about students as we are? Who’s done this at multiple high-growth startups before and brings years of hard-earned experience and judgment?
It turns out that person was already working with us. Molly is a world class operator, with the hard-earned experience of helping grow multiple Silicon Valley institutions.
She’s not one to talk much about herself, so I wanted to take the chance to tell you about the experience Molly brings to Lambda:
Molly has worked at companies big and small. Most recently, Molly was the Vice President of Operations at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), a philanthropy founded by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan. Prior to joining CZI, Molly was the Chief Operating Officer at Quip, a start-up that created a modern productivity suite, where she helped build the business from before launch until it sold to Salesforce in August 2016. She previously spent almost five years at Facebook where she helped develop and lead Facebook's long-term mobile strategy, and create the company's “hacker brand” as well as many of its early people systems. Earlier in her career, Molly worked at Google, the Council on Foreign Relations, and was an instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS).
Along with deep and diverse experience building teams and scaling operations, Molly also brings a strong personal commitment to our vision. She shares our passion to help people unlock their potential regardless of circumstances, and to make Lambda School the best place in the world to launch a new career.
I invite you to read her: Why Lambda School Story here.
I couldn’t be more excited to officially welcome Molly to Lambda School!
Co-Founder & CEO
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