How Google course "Squared" changed my life and the start-up I founded

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In July 2014 I enrolled in the course called “Digital Marketing & Advertising” developed by Google.

At that point I founded my own EdTech start-up “Unius Learning” and wanted to learn more about digital marketing and at the same time to understand what it feels to study online from the user point of view. By that time I completed a number of courses via Udemy, Udacity, Eduson and Coursera, but wanted to see whether Google would make it different and more interactive and indeed they did!

The platform that Google employs is quite simple but very clear. You have a list of tasks you need to do for each week called “Pre-class” and “Post-class” activities. There is a range of online quizzes and videos and once a week there is a Live Online Class, similar to a webinar, but it’s usually the tutor who speaks and asks various questions and then students comment. This is done via “Adobe Connect” and occasionally we had “break-out” sessions where we were divided into groups of five people, then allocated a task and required to complete it via a live online whiteboard in 5-10 minutes. One of the things I’ve realized is that people worked incredibly well under pressure and came up with very creative ideas, literally seconds before the end of a break-out session.

The course contains 5 modules which last about 6 months. It starts slow and seems to be very easy to follow in the beginning, but don’t be doomed by this. It does get a lot more demanding as you progress into week 4 and have to work on group projects and some students who didn’t realize this in the beginning quitted, so be ready to concentrate and leave enough spare time to do the tasks during the evenings and weekends.

As a result, I have learnt about various digital advertising strategies, customer journeys and saw numerous, extremely successful campaigns of the leading world brands, that I have previously had no chance to look at. I have also learnt how to assess whether the project will be successful as well as the proposed features of the product to concentrate on; got some basic SEO tips and examples of successful SMM strategies. Moreover, “Squared” community was very supportive and helped me with a design of my own website, brochures, stands and other marketing materials and agreed to test my system to improve the user interface.

At the end of the course I have become a proficient user of Google Analytics, experimented with the landing page for my website (Unius-Business-School.com) and made the online courses we offer more engaging. After the website launch on 1st January by the end of January we have already received 7,000 unique visitors and over 10,000 in February with over 600 students, who successfully enrolled in our courses.

We have also been taught how to quickly prepare various business models for digital projects via group exercises using “Canvas” and other digital methods of quickly analysing the feasibility of the project and preparing the perfect pitch for it. The course has also taught me one simple but the great thing – listening to my group members despite any disagreements and being decisive due to time restrictions, which I have successfully projected onto my own team.

As a result we have successfully pitched and won a number of competitions – $10k grant in the “Start Fellows” competition organised by Pavel Durov and won the award as “The Best Technology Start-up of the year” at GradFactor competition organised by Barclays Bank and the UK government.

I’ve got to say, the course is quite pricey at £1,700, but was it worth? Hell yea!

So for those of you thinking of opening a start-up or if you just want to learn more about Digital Marketing from the leading experts who are always there to help, seriously consider the option of enrolling in the “Squared” course. You get to network with so many different people and acquire useful contacts and it allows you to learn and test your project idea on the real audience, we call them “fellow squares”, who can give you so much advice and feedback, that you cannot expect from other people and really can’t put a price tag on it.

 

Victor Potapov 

Founder of Unius Learning and Unius Business School

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