After seeing my wife struggle with over $100,000 in student debt, I saw how broken our college system is and created a debt-free college alternative. You can go to our website and watch the main video to see some of our employer partners like Spotify, Lyft, Uber, Warby Parker and more. Previously founded Pencils of Promise which has now built 400 schools around the world and wrote the NY Times Bestseller "The Promise of a Pencil". Dad of twins.


Comments: 2135 • Responses: 23  • Date: 

silverwolfer3312 karma

Why should I as a hiring manager care about your program if one of your applicants submits a resume?


For those that care here is something on Degrees vs Certs.

AdamBraun527 karma

We've built a skills-focused curriculum that enables students to complete the year with a robust resume, industry certifications and a public portfolio of work. Nowadays what we've heard from hundreds of people on the front lines of hiring is that competency matters more than credential, and our focus is on producing students with the skills and competencies companies are desperately seeking. You can read a lot more detail at

ki10_butt285 karma

How do you recoup the money? Is it based off the student's income once they are employed? What happens if the student doesn't get a job, at least not immediately? How are you different from the For Profit schools that are getting shut down?

AdamBraun313 karma

Yes that's correct, it's 15% of income for just 3 years and only when making $50K or more. If they don't get a job immediately or if they lose their job within the three years and take some time to find that job they have up to 48 months of deferment. We're extremely different from the schools getting shut down (read more at or or, primarily in that they were shut down for taking lots of government money via student loans and then delivering poor quality education. We take no gov money or student loans at all, and our entire success is dependent on us helping students succeed and get great jobs.

NextGen233 karma

When will MissionU start? What types of classes and who will be teaching?

AdamBraun1 karma

We opened enrollment this month (go to and we're currently taking applications for our September cohort. The program was crafted with guidance from experts from Harvard, Stanford and MIT as well as executives from leading companies like Spotify, Lyft, Warby Parker, Uber and more. The actual teachers will be industry practitioners who have deep experience in the fields in which they'll be educating our students. We also really believe in project-based learning, so you'll be learning from your fellow classmates as well.

DarthEros2 karma

Do you plan to expand to other countries? What about offering part-time, or distance learning courses?

AdamBraun2 karma

Expansion to other countries is certainly a part of the plan in the years ahead, but right now the focus will be on US locations. Part-time and distance learning courses aren't part of what we're offering yet, but I'm sure we'll evaluate those options over time. Appreciate the suggestion!

whotells-2 karma

Hey Adam - do you find it difficult living in the US and hearing first world problems (i.e. Typical American complaints) after seeing how so many people live in poverty with basically next to nothing?

AdamBraun11 karma

Honestly I think it depends on the stage of life that you're in... when I was 21 and first exposed to the depth of poverty in the developing world, yes it was very very difficult to come home and hear the seemingly trivial complaints. But over time I came to realize that wasn't fair... relativity is real, and each person defines their struggle by their surroundings and what they know as familiar. By my mid-late 20's I came to believe it's not my place to judge whether someone's problems are worthy of their concern or not, and now in my 30's I do my best to try to extend a helping hand regardless of the situation or context.

dpmeade-3 karma

As CEO of MissionU, how will your time be spent between MissionU and Pencils of Promise, and how can you be an effective leader of both?

AdamBraun1 karma

Great question... fortunately I'm not asked to do both as I'm not the leader of Pencils of Promise (just the founder these days) since we brought on a fantastic new CEO almost two years ago after I co-led that search with one of our board members and my role is no longer an active day-to-day one, instead I support as Founder & Board Emeritus to do my best to help Michael and the team. The vast majority of my time is spent on MissionU, which is where I'm the active CEO but I'm incredibly proud of PoP and try to support however I can.

Infinite_Waters-10 karma

What kind of courses are you offering at the moment? And where do I sign up!

This is a truly fantastic idea that I am totally behind. Best of Luck!

AdamBraun-2 karma

Awesome to hear! You can sign up at Our first major is Data Analytics + Business Intelligence (think of it as a modern career-oriented version of a business major) but the full year is really oriented around soft skills, hard skills and building your personal network as well as your professional capabiltiies.