December 18, 2015: Friday news roundup

This week’s roundup, the last we’ll post on a Friday in 2015, includes some news about a Udemy instructor, what one business leader thinks of advanced degrees, and a few inspiring student stories.

From Portland, self-taught expert teaches 60,000 around the globe
Vanessa Van Edwards is a longtime Udemy instructor, and here she’s called “a breakthrough talent in the new field of mass online instruction.” This lengthy profile chronicles how Vanessa started teaching online and some of the secrets to her success.

Sheryl Sandberg says an MBA doesn’t matter in tech
When an executive of Sandberg’s stature comes out to downplay the value of a master’s degree, people take note. “I believe—and at Facebook we believe—that degrees are always secondary to skills. In hiring at Facebook we care what people can build and do,” she says. This aligns perfectly with Udemy’s philosophy too.

Business school should teach these subjects
So, if people are thinking twice about business school, how could those institutions make themselves more worthwhile? This writer, Head of Communications for McKinsey Greater China, suggests some course topics aspiring MBAs should be taught in school but aren’t, such as “How to lead others in the absence of formal reporting lines.” Another of his course ideas: “How to become a lifelong learner.” (pro tip: take Udemy courses)

Getting to si, ja, oui, hai, and da
Udemy students and instructors are an international bunch, so we’re always thinking about how different countries and cultures think, learn, and do business. This article dives deep into how communication styles vary across geographies and how you can apply this knowledge, with tips like adapting the way you express disagreement and learning how other cultures build trust.

Udemy success stories
We thought we’d direct your attention to the always-growing collection of student and instructor stories we post on the Udemy website. Most recently, we featured a cancer survivor who took courses on Udemy to get her “dream job” after recovery, a cryptologic linguist in the U.S. Army upskilling in preparation for life after service, and a receptionist who created her own career path and is now her firm’s full-time marketing manager. Check it out!