Many people want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. They want to contribute to the world and to their own lives, embark on a path where they can sustain themselves abundantly, and find fulfillment in the work they do. This is what Herica de Casas, a young mother and an aspiring marketing leader, said. Although she has a rough idea of what her end goals look like, she found that the traditional education system just wasn’t built to help her get to where she wants to go. She’s certainly not alone in this.
Someone else who had a similar experience is Mehak Vohra, the young CEO and founder of SkillBank, a marketing education program and career accelerator whose motto is, “Talent is universal, opportunity is not. We help talented people to break into marketing.”
How It All Began for SkillBank
At 18, Mehak Vohra was rejected from her dream university. Where most people would perhaps dwell in the misfortune, Mehak decided to strike out on her own. A viral TikTok she made explains her subsequent journey going to a different college, dropping out her sophomore year, moving to San Francisco to start a start-up, and eventually gaining traction and a following for her successes.
When she first dropped out, she wanted to start a company but didn’t have the resources to do so. It took a lot of hard work and struggle to get Mehak to where she is now. It took her four years to build up revenue and learn on the job. That was when she realized that learning on the job was difficult. Though it worked for her, she wanted to create a way for others to have the skills more readily accessible to them.
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Mehak wanted to help other young people do the same thing she did: find their own path and succeed in marketing—a career path that can be hard to break into.
This is how SkillBank was born. As a marketing bootcamp, Skillbank focuses on growth marketing and paid acquisition. It is currently expanding its curriculum to offer other specialized skills like Life-Cycle Marketing and SEO/Organic Media Track. SkillBank ran five test cohorts before it raised the investment money to start the company, which is going strong now. The school is backed by investors like Jason Calacanis, Griffin Johnson, and Elizabeth Yin of Hustle Fund.
Through research, it found that general digital marketing isn’t the thing that will get people jobs. Instead, the job market is looking for professionals specializing in marketing niches. SkillBank notes that while a lot of people who come to the school expressed the desire to become entrepreneurs, the advice it would give is to work for a company first before starting your own.
What and How You’ll Learn at SkillBank
Though Mehak dropped out of college once her company started gaining traction, she notes that SkillBank isn’t by any means against universities. In fact, it works really well to take its courses in conjunction with a college degree, especially in your last semester. Its part-time model also allows those working a full-time job to incorporate upskilling into their schedules.
Though it’s not a commitment to be taken lightly, the classes are taught in the evening, so it’s easy to balance SkillBank with other commitments. Skillbank looks at itself as a bridge from the educational world to the working world. However, it’s not necessarily a replacement for college.
At the moment, SkillBank offers a Paid Acquisition program spanning 15 weeks. Although it is shorter than other marketing bootcamps, this format allows people to get a move on with their goals in a short amount of time. In the program, fellows are exposed to data types, operations on numbers and text, input and output, and more. Skillbank’s program includes 3 types of sessions: Learning paid media, career preparation, and a marketing apprenticeship. It approaches specific skills and teaches fellows how to secure internship opportunities.
There are two ways learners can fund their SkillBank education: installment payments or Income Share Agreements (ISAs). The first option allows learners to break up the $8,000 tuition into three payments during their time at the school. Meanwhile, through ISAs, fellows will only start making payments after earning a minimum of $40,000. The amount will be 10 percent of their salary over the course of two years, capped at $15,000.
What Do Fellows Think of SkillBank?
Herica de Casas, the young mother we mentioned above, is a recent graduate who currently holds an apprenticeship that she acquired while in the program. She said that what she learned in the program was unexpected–in a great way. She found that the topics cover psychological and philosophical grounds more than she thought they would, which triggered her interest. Because of her time at SkillBank, Herica said she’s in a phase where she “believes everything relates to marketing”.
In the Paid Acquisition program, she learned how to run Facebook and Google ads—two of the most popular digital marketing tools—among others. “The more niche your skillset is, the better it is for getting a job. And that’s the route that SkillBank is taking–very specific targeted skills,” she said. Some of the other skills that learners can expect to cover during the program include:
- How to create and optimize landing pages
- How to audit real data from Facebook and Google ads
- How to build effective campaign strategies
- How to optimize ads to increase return on ad spend (ROAS)
- Marketing models like BJ Fogg Model, AIDA Model, and more
Herica also found that juggling her duties was totally possible while taking the course, thanks to its part-time schedule. She added that SkillBank is also accommodating to her needs as a non-traditional learner. “It’s very realistic and perfect for an adult that’s surviving the real world,” she said. Now, she is an apprentice at Heirloom, a position that she’s able to land using the skills that she acquired from SkillBank.
To ensure learners get a well-rounded experience, SkillBank offers additional support like ongoing mentorship and one-on-one career coaching. She said this was evident in the classroom; mentors are proactive and highly responsive to fellows. Herica notes that SkillBank prepares learners to expand their professional network and seek out apprenticeship opportunities through those connections.
Each learner is paired with a career coach who will help them transition from the apprenticeship to finding the dream full-time gig. That’s the stage Herica is at right now. She said SkillBank is always checking in to see what they can do to assist her in the job search. Between practicing interviews, enhancing her resume, and all the strategies and techniques Skillbank teaches, the other career prep workshops she’s taken in the past don’t compare to the strategies Skillbank’s mentors use.
“It’s super in-depth and very supportive,” she said.
Herica has one piece of advice for those looking to follow in her footsteps: put in the work to match the resources and tools that SkillBank provides. It lays out a framework and path for achieving your goals, but ultimately, you have to commit to the whole process.
Doing Things Your Own Way
It’s easy to recognize SkillBank’s ethos and mission, to help people succeed in their own unique way, on their own unique path. When asked about the biggest takeaway from her time at SkillBank, Herica said it’s the idea of possibility.
“I learned that change is possible, transformation is possible. I was going through the same cycles in college over and over again and Skillbank taught me you don’t have to force things to be a certain way. You can do things your way and get the results you want to see.”
If you want SkillBank to guide you as you chart your own career path, you can start your application here. The best part is, you can take a seven-day free trial and see if the course is a right fit for you before making a full commitment.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.