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Bridging the Gaps Between High School, College and Career

April 20, 2022

The pandemic has brought about a revolution in online learning across the globe. Lucy Stonehill, co-founder and CEO of BridgeU, a provider of university and career guidance software and platform services to secondary and post-secondary schools around the world, believes that educational technology also has a critical role to play in helping high school and college students discover global opportunities after they graduate. Stonehill spoke as part of a panel of European ed tech entrepreneurs about the evolving role of ed tech at the 2022 ASU+GSV Summit. Following are excerpts from the discussion.

Why did you see a need to create technology that supports students graduating from high school and college?

When I was in secondary school and trying to decide what I was going to do after I graduated, I felt that the critical infrastructure to manage that decision-making process was really lacking. I felt something similar when I graduated from university at the tail end of the Great Recession, when a lot of people worked very hard and then found themselves unable to get a job. It struck me as strange that we don’t use technology to support better-informed postsecondary and career decisions.

Has the pandemic shifted attitudes among school administrators when it comes to embracing educational technology?

I’ve definitely seen a mindset shift. For a long time, ed tech was competing against human resources for budget allocation. It was viewed as a nice-to-have but not a need-to-have. The pandemic completely shifted that. We’ve seen heads of schools acknowledge that an ed tech strategy is integral to a school’s ability to maintain continuity during life’s inevitable ups and downs. Admissions and recruiting, which has traditionally been a very analog industry, has also embraced digital solutions.

Why is it important for universities and businesses to source talent globally?

We have to recognize that while talent is equally distributed, opportunities are not. And that mismatch is largely due to a disparity in higher education levels. Being able to access a diverse pool of talented people is a huge strength if you’re able to harness it. For example, BridgeU operates heavily in emerging markets, and we felt it was important to be close to our customers, so we opened an office in Hong Kong very early, and during the pandemic opened virtual offices in Colombia, Shanghai and Dubai.

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