• Jennifer Schwab Wangers

ENTITY Academy Is Building Bridges Between College and Career in a Way That’s Never Been Done Before



There is a growing number of students who are graduating from top four-year universities, only to find they are simply not in high demand for entry-level positions at Fortune 500 companies unless they have a degree in STEM-related majors. Why is the education system failing them?


ROI on four-year humanities and liberal arts education will never be there unless skills learned can meet or exceed those required by today’s increasingly technically-oriented businesses. Employers, especially at smaller and even mid-sized companies, no longer feel responsible for spending six to 12 months training their new entry-level employees…many of whom leave the job after a year or two. Thus, today’s employers are demanding that their new hires can hit the ground running with the latest and greatest skill sets that their existing staff may not even yet have.


“Running digital media teams, I am often working with young employees or interviewing applicants that have graduated from prestigious universities but do not yet have the full suite of skills required and experience needed for them to succeed in our fast-paced work environment,” says Sybil Grieb, an ENTITY Mentor who headed digital sales and marketing teams for numerous companies, and spent over two years as the US Head of Influencer Marketing at Edelman, the world’s largest privately-owned PR firm. “Many of these new grads have sufficient writing skills, and understand the overarching concepts, but lack hands-on experience with integrated marketing campaigns, and training on top tech platforms, as well as soft skills such as client relationship building. Their lack of experience means they are either not selected for the job, or are not able to advance in the job as quickly. Education, experience, and guidance are extremely important at this critical stage of development.”


Sybil Grieb, former US Head of Influencer Marketing at Edelman, trains ENTITY Academy mentees in best practices of social media advertising and breaking into the marketing industry.

What can new graduates (and their parents) do to offset this skills shortfall? One solution involves very intensive, short-term, personalized learning. Overlaying use of Mentor-Instructors with hardcore, real-world, current experience – admittedly not a new idea but a proven and highly effective one – makes for a learning environment that arguably is more efficient and effective than traditional twice-per-week classroom work.



At ENTITY Academy, we specialize in teaching young Millennial and Gen Z women ages 18-25 very specific digital marketing skills. Coursework includes Search Engine Optimization; Customer Acquisition and Management of Paid Media; Writing and Editing for the Internet; Influencer Marketing and Social Media to Build Your Funnel; Graphic Design and User Experience (UX) Design; and more. 


We have proven results in helping our students – many of whom are either Juniors in college or very recent graduates who are having trouble finding good positions – land excellent entry-level jobs with top companies and agencies. Many of our graduates, some of whom come from America’s top schools, give our hard and soft skills the credit for helping them secure highly desirable positions that they would otherwise not be qualified for.


"ENTITY is revolutionizing education by providing skills, mentors, and job opportunities adjacent to the college structure,” said Adrienne Zandvoort, a recent graduate of the University of Dayton, who was hired as a Business Development Coordinator for The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard Magazine. “As a mentee in 2018, I learned the importance of soft skills and mentorship in addition to the hard skills needed to land a position in today's competitive marketplace. The Academy was a perfect balance of school and work, with credible speakers, and amazing activities sprinkled in. I jumped into my senior year ahead of my peers and had a clearer vision of what I wanted my future career to look like. Thanks to ENTITY, I am now entering the entertainment industry with a team of mentors and mentees supporting my every move."


ENTITY has many others like her, who say the relatively brief but highly focused coursework, taught by “internal mentors” and leading professionals working in relevant subject areas, prepared them for the workforce more than their semester-long courses at school. 


“After just a week at ENTITY Academy’s Entertainment Collective, I have learned more about the industry than I had in three years at Harvard,” said Danu Mudannayake, former Entertainment Collective mentee and current Visual and Environmental Studies: Film Production major at Harvard University. “I now feel better equipped to pursue a career in entertainment as I have more clarity surrounding the various trajectories into the industry, how to conduct script coverage, and the fundamentals of networking. Access to mentors such as Patricia Arquette (actress and activist) and Jessica Poter (TV writer), and a tour of the renowned United Talent Agency have been invaluable to my growth as an aspiring film director and screenwriter.”


Founder and CEO of Purlisse Jennifer Yen sits with ENTITY Academy mentees in an intimate fireside chat to talk about her journey as a former actress turned entrepreneur.

Short-burst, very personalized and closely supervised education may well be the missing link between landing a good job, or not, for some of today’s non-STEM graduates. This is why we use a special four-pillar approach to short-term intensive education. 


First, of course, is hard skills. These need to be super solid, super current, and should be taught by highly credible professionals who hold key positions in the industry. Second, soft skills. As in, handling relationships with your managers and colleagues in the office; creating a confident and winning attitude; and developing your personal brand. Third, experiences, which may or may not directly relate to the student’s chosen field. For example, we take our kids up in Cirrus SR22 single-engine planes and let them take the controls. Flying an airplane takes courage, concentration, confidence, and attention to detail. And you have to be a great listener. Other experiences range from attending contemporary ballet performances to visiting cutting edge company headquarters like XPRIZE and Intel Labs, both of which are here in LA. Finally, and this is what really sets ENTITY apart in my opinion, is mentorship. Our students get to develop personal relationships with these business, civic, and artistic leaders. It’s not just a one-shot inspirational speech. This past summer, ENTITY Academy speaker/mentors ranged from Oscar and Emmy winner Patricia Arquette to sustainability expert and philanthropist Susan Rockefeller to former Dior CEO Pamela Baxter.


Truthfully, it is unrealistic to expect academia to be able to keep up with the absolute state-of-the-art in technology for specialized fields such as SEO. In all fairness, career academics cannot keep pace with up-to-the-minute digital tools and tactics, which change from month to month less year to year. But our working Mentor-Instructors live and breathe this every day, and they can and will teach our students about the flavor of the week, if not the flavor of the month, in terms of technology. This specialized knowledge lets our graduates perform very well during the interview process, and corporate HR can tell they are really dialed in, which again separates ENTITY Academy graduates from their peers.


In essence, ENTITY is developing talent to be “versatilists” versus “generalists” as defined by Four-Dimensional Education to promote a more peaceful society of fulfilled individuals that have opportunities to maximize their talent.

Jennifer Schwab Wangers

Jennifer Schwab Wangers is a Founder and CEO with one goal in mind: to inspire, support, educate, and empower young women through action. In 2016, she founded ENTITY, the first-ever media and education company dedicated to empowering and educating NextGen women through mentorship, both online and IRL.  

 

Jennifer is also a noted columnist on Huffington Post and Inhabitat whose “My Inner Green” articles on all things sustainable are widely followed by influentials in the US, Europe, and the Mideast. She is a widely quoted media analyst in publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Dwell, Fortune, Forbes, CNN Money, CNBC, and Consumer Reports, among others.

Photography by Mirella Ricciardi.

500 Molino Street #216

Los Angeles, CA 90013

(323) 685-5205

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*ENTITY ACADEMY IS COMPLEMENTARY TO TRADITIONAL EDUCATION, NOT A REPLACEMENT.

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