The Brandeis GPS blog

Insights on online learning, tips for finding balance, and news and updates from Brandeis GPS

Author: angelaself (page 1 of 3)

How to Stay Sane during this Quarantine

These past couple of weeks have proved to be trying times for the global community. This transition to an online world has left many scrambling for a sense of normalcy. Many find themselves worried about the safety of their loved ones, especially if they are in the high-risk category. Others are trying to parent during a pandemic while also maintaining their regular work schedule. So, how do we keep our sanity during this unprecedented global lockdown? We have compiled a list of some helpful tips to stay sane during quarantine.

1. Stick to a routine

Being stuck inside can make the days blend together and amplify negative emotions. Creating a sense of structure during these uncertain times can help to soothe nerves. Take some time out of your day to figure out all of the activities that were important to you before the global pandemic. Did you go to the gym everyday? Try to workout at home (there are plenty of free workouts on youtube). Create a detailed schedule and stick to it. Be sure to include  when to wake up, shower, work, exercise, and most importantly, when you can relax. Hopefully this will help to create some semblance of normalcy.

2. Limit your news intake

It is important to keep up-to-date with information regarding the Coronavirus, especially when it concerns regulations or guidelines for public interactions in your area. But obsessing over the latest Coronavirus news can be  unhealthy and detrimental to your mental health. Consider limiting your news intake to just one or two times a day. Also, remember to check the reliability of your news source. One of the best sources of information about the Coronavirus is the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Another great resource for mental health coping strategies during these unprecedented times is NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness), which we encourage everyone to read. 

3.Stay physically active

WHO, otherwise known as the World Health Organization, strongly recommends that everyone finds a way to stay physically active during self-quarantine. It’s important to our health and well-being to avoid remaining sedentary. Try taking a few breaks during your day to go on short walks, even if it’s just around your house. And get outside if you can! Just remember that if you plan on exercising outside, to do so by abiding by the CDC guidelines.

Student Spotlight: Stuart Mitchell

Student Spotlight: Brett Stephens

Student Spotlight: Ines Stafford

 

Student Spotlight: Jennifer Faske

Student Spotlight: Li-Tao Guo

The Rise of FinTechs Partnering with Financial Institutions

By Gideon Taub

The Disruptor Era

The first few waves of FinTechs primarily pursued a direct-to-consumer strategy, disrupting the legacy Financial Institutions and dis-intermediating banks, brokerages, and credit unions. Services like Mint (founded 2006), Wealthfront (founded 2008), Venmo (founded 2009), and Robinhood (founded 2013) all had a significant impact on how their customers manage their finances and forced the incumbent financial institutions to adapt, whether it be by building their own robo-advisors, creating Zelle, and decreasing brokerage fees.

Very few ‘disruptor era’ FinTechs focused on partnering with legacy financial institutions to drive their distribution, and those that did faced uphill challenges in terms of not being embraced by banks, offering inferior user experiences due to the limitations of legacy vendors, and long, if not, impossible implementations.

Partnering with Financial Institutions as a Great Distribution Strategy

As we look across the FinTech ecosystem, we’re now seeing far more startups focus on a B2B2C business model, partnering with banks, brokerages, and credit unions to reach customers. As we look at the startups (including our company, Pinkaloo) in the recent MassChallenge FinTech cohorts in 630’s recent programs; and in other leading FinTech Accelerators, we’re seeing many consumer-facing solutions whose primary business model is partnering with financial institutions.

What’s driving that change?

  1. Financial Institutions Eager to Partner

The innovation being led by the Direct-to-Consumer FinTechs is forcing the incumbent Financial Institutions to adapt, and in many cases, partnering is the less expensive and faster path to support that.

Like in the case of the development of Zelle, we’ve seen banks come together to create their own solution, but for many others, such as better customer onboarding experiences, chat bots, and white-label Donor Advised Funds, it makes more sense to partner.

  1. The Incumbent Vendors Are Opening APIs

The leading vendors, particularly the front-end banking providers, have similarly realized that the best way to meet their clients’ needs is to open up APIs and SDKs and allow FinTechs to create beautiful solutions on top of their infrastructure. Those vendors don’t have to build every solution themselves and it makes it even harder for their clients to switch, a win for all parties.

  1. Lower Marketing and Customer Acquisition Costs

For the FinTechs, partnering offers a distribution channel with much lower marketing and customer acquisition costs. Digital advertising rates for financial services products are particularly costly, so being able to generate recurring revenue via partnering is particularly attractive.

The Downsides to Partnering

As FinTechs decide on their go-to-market strategy, they should be sure to consider the downsides to this approach. First, most financial institutions are still learning how to successfully work with FinTechs, and sales and implementation cycles can be long.

The partnership strategy also requires a more mature, enterprise-ready product. You can throw the ‘Minimum Viable Product’ mindset out the window, as financial institutions expect and need a more sophisticated product.

Lastly, be prepared for a thorough compliance and diligence review, and be ready to dedicate tech resources to working through that. For many, Pinkaloo, included, the benefit far outweighs those downsides.

Gideon Taub is the CEO of Pinkaloo Technologies. Pinkaloo helps businesses engage their customers and communities through philanthropy and helps donors manage their giving through Pinkaloo’s white-label Modern Giving accounts.

Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies is committed to creating programs and courses that keep today’s professionals at the forefront of their industries. To learn more about the MS in Digital Innovation for FinTech, visit www.brandeis.edu/gps.

Student Spotlight: Esther Brandon

Student Spotlight: Adam Burkin

Wellness tips to combat any remaining winter blues

Despite the fact that 2020 has been a milder winter than normal here in the northeast, the tail end of winter always has a way of dragging on. It is reported that anywhere from 14% to 20% of Americans may experience a shift in their mood with colder, darker and wetter weather. If you find yourself with feelings of fatigue, lethargy, and other cases of the winter blues, here are four wellness tips to raise your spirits and combat the colder and grayer months. 

  1. Create an exercise routine

Keeping active is one of the best ways to fight off seasonal depression. Exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and, in some cases, can  mimic the effects of antidepressants. Consider hitting the gym or practicing yoga for at least 30 minutes to get those endorphins running. 

  1. Find something that keeps you busy 

Being cooped up inside for months at a time can be a serious mood buster. This can be a great time to pursue some of your professional goals.

  1. Plan fun indoor activities

As tempting as Netflix can be, don’t let yourself get stuck in a routine of going to work, coming home, and catching up on your favorite shows. Make room on your calendar for a movie or show, rotating dinner parties with friends, or even a cozy weekend away with the family. 

  1. Invest in a Sun Lamp

According to a recent study by Harvard University, using a light box for 30 minutes per day can reduce symptoms of seasonal depression. A light box mimics the effect that sunlight has on the brain, thus reducing fatigue and helping your body fall into a natural circadian rhythm that can be disrupted during grayer winter days. 

 

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