Earlier this summer we hosted our first-ever Lambda Showcase, a live online event that showcased the hard work of students – including data scientists, web and mobile developers, and UX designers – to hiring partner and mentors. Twelve student teams had a chance to present the ambitious products they built in just five weeks, along with challenges they encountered and how they overcame those challenges as a team.
Since that successful event on June 27, we’ve focused on learning all we can from the experience to make future Showcases even more valuable to students and hiring partners.
About Lambda Showcase
The Showcase was a virtual invite-only demo day, available Lambda School mentors and hiring partners, along with members of the Lambda School community, which includes our staff, alumni, students, and friends of the school.
During the Showcase, 12 current Lambda School students presented the apps their teams built together in a five-minute presentation followed by a question-and-answer period. All of Labs11, Labs12, CS, and Lambda X were eligible for the Showcase, which was formatted as three 45-minute sessions delivered via Zoom webinar. The Lambda School students who participated in the Showcase also received access to four coaching sessions by our Careers Prep team to prepare their presentations and practice their public speaking skills.
Attendees were encouraged to visit the Showcase hub following the presentations, where they could access the recorded presentations, descriptions of the apps built by students, and information about the participating students. Crucially, the Showcase page also includes Calendly functionality, with a “Meet Me” button for each student that allows interested hiring partners to schedule a call with them with a single click.
Takeaways from Lambda Showcase
Although we learned a lot from the first iteration of Showcase, many of the results will come in the weeks and months ahead, as the participating students finish their Lambda School education and continue their job hunt. Here are a few of the early results we saw and lessons learned:
Of the invited hiring partners and mentors, 38 hiring partners and 19 mentors participated in the live Showcase. Reps from companies including Lyft, Stripe, Bloomberg, and Salesforce registered for the Showcase.
Our early responses from attendees are encouraging and speak to the hard work and quality education of our Lambda School students. “The presenters were all fantastic,” Stephen Stryker, CTO with Varde Partners, told Lambda School, adding that in particular he was impressed with the great job they did articulating the problem and their approach, along with lessons learned. Other attendees said they enjoyed the live format, including the chance to ask questions, and that the demos were helpful.
We also learned what we could do differently, as Lambda prepares for future Showcases. Along with Stryker, Dillon Woods, founder of Tackle.io, said he would have liked to hear from team members other than the Team Leads during the event. A short pre-recorded intro from each member would be one way to do that, Woods said.
Other respondents were particularly interested in hearing from students from specific Lambda School tracks, like data science, so having sessions for different programs or providing a calendar of events could make the Showcase even more useful to some hiring partners and mentors.
The entire event came together quite quickly, over a six-week period. The participating students rose to the occasion, and our first Lambda Showcase was an opportunity for them to polish their projects and prepare to talk about their work. We also saw the value of the Calendly integration with the Showcase. The conversations enabled via Calendly created an opportunity for students to interview for jobs, network, and practice interviewing.
And, lastly, we can see so far that our hiring partners were interested in getting to know our presenting students. More than 19 interviews with six different companies were booked through Calendly, and most of those conversations moved to the next stage. Another 14 hiring partners started conversations with the Lambda sales team. One attendee, a COO, said his company was planning some full stack hires for late in 2019 or early 2020, and he would reach out then. “Lambda is looking very impressive!” he said.
To learn more about the Lambda Showcase, please visit the Showcase page. For more information on future Lambda Showcases or to become a Lambda School hiring partner, please reach out to us on Twitter or Facebook.