#69: Adam Braun – Co-Founder of MissionU

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Adam Braun is a 34-year-old entrepreneur, bestselling author, and the CEO and co-founder of MissionU, a debt-free college alternative for the 21st century. Prior to MissionU, he founded Pencils of Promise, a nonprofit that has built over 400 schools around the world and provided more than 70,000 kids with the opportunity to learn.

Adam is now on a mission to create a new approach to higher education and fix the broken system.

With the outstanding student loan debt in the US exceeding $1.4 trillion, we’ve reached a near-crisis level. Millions of people are either personally affected by student debt or know someone who is. What’s worse, student loan debt is the only kind of debt you cannot default on.

To fix this, Adam and his team have designed a one-year program to deliver students a career-focused education — without the student debt and in only a fraction of the time a traditional degree takes. Crafted with guidance from industry-leading companies like Uber, Spotify, Lyft, and Warby Parker, MissionU’s curriculum is designed to teach students the relevant skills they need to launch a successful career. Upon graduation, students pay back a percentage of their salary only once they get hired and are earning at least $50K per year.

MissionU is well on it’s way to revolutionize and disrupt higher education. They are now accepting applications for their January 2018 cohort.


Years in Tech 2
Lives In: Bay Area, CA
Current Job Founder
Date Recorded 10/27/2017

Show Notes:

[02:46] Adam gives an overview of MissionU, how they’re able to remove traditional debt model, and the profile of students they seek to help.

[05:58] The current demographics at MissionU, their three different trimesters, and the 12-week internship at the end.

[10:30] Adam explains a study that predicted 1.8 million jobs will be unfilled that require analytic skill sets by 2018.

[12:45] Seeking out a better version of the modern business degree, Adam clarifies that you don’t have to have advanced math abilities to get in but at least get a foundational math ability.

[14:45] Why they removed standardized tests from their admissions process. Adam describes the rest of the admissions process including the group challenge and looking for soft skills.

[18:40] Adam describes how The Listening Tour came about. He also talks about their partnerships with Uber, Spotify, Lyft, and other huge companies down the line.

[25:30] Adam’s advice to other entrepreneurs who also want tomake a change and how he met co-founder Mike Adams.

[30:00] What MissionU’s curriculum is like, the most powerful credential you bring to the marketplace, and their approach to curricular development focused on conversations

[33:25] An overview of how Pencils of Promise was realized through crowdsourcing and how they’ve created a crowdsourced vehicle for admissions at MissionU

[35:17] Adam’s mentors, why MissionU fosters blended learning – mix of online and in-person learning, and how you can prepare for the admissions exams.

[41:10] The importance of acknowledging your significant other as your silent co-founder in the journey: Adam also gets his wife’s perspectives every now and then.

[42:10] What his day-to-day looks like, his morning routine, and his inner game when it comes to achieving his goals. Check out his favorite mantra!

[45:33] Being a baller, Adam shares the lessons he learned from sports that you can apply to life in general and his drivers for taking a leap from working a job to building schools.

Contact Info:

Adam Braun


LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/arbraun/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AdamBraun

Instagram: @itsadambraun

Articles & Mentioned Resources:

Learning Resources


Promise of a Pencil by Adam Braun

Seth Godin’s altMBA

First Round Reviews featuring Adam Braun

If you decide to apply & get $250 discount

Also, shoot Timur an email at timur@breakingintostratups.com to get added to the facebook messenger group and connect with others who are interested in getting into MissionU!

Personal Projects/Partnerships:

Pencils of Promise

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