The Brandeis GPS blog

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

Author: angelaself (page 1 of 4)

Fall Semester Update

Dear Members of the Brandeis Community,

Brandeis University has announced a comprehensive plan to safely reopen campus for the fall semester. The COVID-19 Task Force, which included faculty, staff, and students, consulted with local, state, and national public health and medical experts to develop this plan for the university’s fall semester. Below we have highlighted important plan information that is of particular interest for our students here at Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies.

Available Facilities

While all Brandeis GPS classes are online, there are facilities available to our students on the Brandeis University campus. These include the library, gym, and mailroom, among many others. While these are available to the Brandeis community, there are strict health and safety measures that are required for all of those who enter campus. Access to these facilities are subject to change, and we will keep our students updated as the semester progresses.

Health and Safety Measures

Based upon public health best practices and accommodations for individual community-member needs, the university is implementing the following policies and procedures to create an on-campus environment that is as safe as possible:

High Frequency, Universal Testing: Brandeis will provide high-frequency, mandatory COVID-19 testing to all on-campus community members.There will also be mandatory testing multiple times per month for all students, faculty, and staff who either live on campus or who come to campus several times per week, regardless of symptoms. This will enable us to quickly identify and contain any instances of infection on our campus.

Public Health Protocols: The university will institute a suite of public health measures, including symptom monitoring, mandatory face masks/coverings indoors and outdoors, public hand-sanitizing stations, and mandatory physical distancing. We will also ask all individuals who return to campus to sign a community commitment to follow such protocols.

Cleaning Enhancements and Building Modifications: The university is also taking actions, such as enhanced cleaning protocols and changes to foot-traffic flow through buildings and on-campus pathways, to ensure that all campus spaces and buildings support the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff.

These are just a few of the many health and safety measures that are being implemented across campus.

Resources

For more information regarding the reopening of Brandeis this fall semester, please visit the following links:

Letter from the President

Campus Health and Safety Measures

Fall 2020 Plans Webpage

COVID-19 Task Force Report

Student Spotlight: Becky Hoyt

Balancing Coursework with Working from Home

These are no doubt challenging times for the global community as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. We at Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies are committed to providing our students with resources that will help them succeed with their professional goals during this global crisis. Although we may be forced to stay at home to maintain the health of our communities, many students find themselves in the difficult situation of balancing working from home and other aspects of their life, including coursework. Here are some tips to help our students succeed in their coursework while working from home. 

1. Create a dedicated work/study space

Creating a space solely dedicated to studying and working will help to foster a healthy work-life balance. By creating a space devoted to work and study, you are clearly separating your work and academics from other parts of your life. It can be hard to enjoy watching tv r when you are constantly thinking about work. Keep your work and school items in one space of your house, whether that be an entire room or just a table, so that you can continue to live a normal life even during quarantine. 

2. Develop a plan

Another way to balance coursework while working from home is to develop a realistic plan for yourself. When you first get your syllabus, make sure to mark all important assignments, exams, and final projects in your calendar. Set a specific time each day that you will devote to your academics before or after work. By creating a schedule for your coursework and being prepared in advance for the assignment-heavy weeks, you are setting yourself up for success. 

3. Take time for yourself

By now you may have seen the internet flooded with posts about how to spend your time in quarantine productively. While it would be great to write the next great American novel, do not put extra pressure on yourself to be “productive” just because you are stuck inside. This is an extremely stressful time because we are all concerned about the safety of our loved ones. Make sure to take time to decompress for your own mental well-being, even if you have a ton of work and studying to do. There is nothing more important than your own well-being. Set aside time everyday to take time just for yourself.

4. Find a flexible graduate program at Brandeis GPS

Brandeis GPS’s upcoming 10-week session runs from July 15 to Sept. 22. Courses are fully online and designed with a learning experience that supports adults working full-time.

Students interested in a Brandeis GPS graduate program can take courses before starting the application process. View the July course schedule here. To speak with an enrollment advisor, contact gps@brandeis.edu or 781-736-8787.

 

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.

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