Here at LendUp, our mission is to expand credit access for the millions of Americans that banks are traditionally unable to serve. To complement this, we provide embedded education courses that help our customers improve their financial knowledge. Moreover, those courses are free and accessible to the general public as well. We're also committed to working with our local community to help increase financial awareness and community engagement.
To that end, we recently shared our financial education courses with the undergraduate mentors from CollegeSpring, a nonprofit that partners with schools and community organizations to help students from low-income backgrounds boost SAT scores, navigate the college application process and pursue college degrees. One aspect of CollegeSpring’s program is near-peer mentoring, which trains current undergraduates to deliver SAT instruction and college readiness advice to juniors and seniors at high schools in poverty-stricken communities.
After CollegeSpring’s Bay Area mentors watched our short, animated videos and took our financial education quizzes, we invited them to visit LendUp for a career exploration day. They learned from our employees about product management, data science and analytics, and code development.
Here are a few highlights:
Pooja from the engineering team talked about her journey as a developer, starting from learning basic HTML as a Myspace user through her decision to pursue a degree in computer science. Since her arrival at LendUp, Pooja’s had the opportunity to work on the internal tools that help our eligible customers do things like set up online payment plans if they can’t make a payment on time, so she demonstrated one of those tools to show how our engineers contribute to our suite of products and features.
Meanwhile, as a lending company, we need to be able to quickly identify fraud, which means we need to build data models to help identify trends or red flags. Cody and Andrew, from our data science and credit revenue teams respectively, created a mock exercise to walk mentors through a fraud model in which they had to determine whether mock customers (given names like Justin Bieber or Aubrey “Drake” Graham) were fraudulent or not. Cody also shared that her favorite LendUp value is “don’t live with broken,” while Andrew said his is “act like an owner.” These two values complement each other, in that working at LendUp means you can take ownership of your work and speak up if you think something is wrong or could be better.
Then Janette, the head of our product team, explained some of the skills necessary to lead a career in product management. She explained that it helps to be very analytical and simultaneously have a collaborative communication style. “You should be analytical because it’s important for data to drive your decisions,” she shared, “but also make sure that you solicit information and feedback from different stakeholders to inform those decisions. It’s part intuition and part validation with data.”
We asked Sophie, a CollegeSpring mentor and UC Berkeley student majoring in molecular and cell biology and minoring in computer science, about her experience.
Were your expectations met?
“Yes! To be honest I was not expecting to use my brain as much as I did that day, but the presentations were each so interesting in their own ways. It was clear that everyone had put a great deal of thought into their work, and there was clearly a sense of coherency in that everyone seemed to be working toward a common goal.”
Is working for a mission-driven organization important to you? Did LendUp's presentation strengthen this commitment or offer a new perspective on for-profit companies with a social impact function?
“Working for a mission-driven organization is one of my central requirements in considering various careers. For the majority of my undergraduate years I was mainly considering either education or medicine; my interest in computer science is a fairly recent development. However, my impression of the tech world is that many (if not most) companies seem to be solving first-world problems. It was refreshing to learn about a company that is using technology to address the issues of a slightly different demographic.”
We’re thrilled that CollegeSpring was able to visit, and we hope to invite many more Bay Area nonprofits to engage with us!
If your organization is interested in engaging with us, please email us at education(at)lendup.com.
Disclaimer: LendUp is not providing financial, legal or tax advice. If you need or want such advice, please consult a qualified advisor.