Catalyst

Head of Product - Education

Innovative edu venture seeks extraordinary educator to rethink 21st century secondary education

--> Attention: by product we do not mean digital product. This is a role for extraordinary educators. <--

WHY DON'T WE HAVE A LINKEDIN PRESENCE?

We are a lean team that prioritizes focus. We're trying to stay below the radar for the time being. LinkedIn is great, but it can also be very distracting.

Why are we here?

Education is the single greatest equalizer. Widening access to great education has to be one of our collective goals alongside other matters of global significance: sustainability, healthcare for all, financial inclusion, civil rights...

Our aim is to inspire and unleash the talents of the next generation of conscious, connected global leaders through extraordinary, accessible education.

Because with technology, we can. And as a society, we must.

ABOUT CATALYST

Catalyst is an innovative and early stage education technology company committed to widening access to world-leading education. Born from one of the UK’s most distinguished secondary schools in partnership with experienced startup operators, Catalyst offers fresh, accessible and relevant education for ambitious and curious students across the globe.

We believe that the problems we face are more challenging and urgent than ever before. Tomorrow’s leaders must be able to address interconnected issues in ways currently unimagined and, more concerningly, unimaginable.

Already, youth are making their voices heard on the global stage: Malala on the right to education of women and girls; Greta on climate change. Catalyst is where tomorrow’s leaders come to get ready - to level up - to work alongside peers and practitioners with a view to scaling their potential for impact in the days and decades to come.

ABOUT US

Though our founding team brings decades of experience across startups, VC, industry, education, diplomacy, and technology, we are - at heart - passionate educators.

No matter who we are, we respect and embrace others. We value diversity of thought, experience, background and skill.

We are a team that acts with pace and care, and believe that winning teams are built by clever, considerate, and curious people working toward a shared vision.

We strive to create a work environment that is urgent, candid and compassionate so that our team can execute to a magnificent standard as we undertake the small challenge of reimagining how great secondary education is created and consumed at scale.

We have attempted to embody these values through the recent launch of our first student-facing programme: a 2-week cohort based enrichment course for ambitious and curious 14-18-year-olds from across the world that studies the topic of ‘change’.

We were oversubscribed, with interest from 40+ countries. Cohort participants represent many nationalities: UK, Germany, Egypt, Ghana, Ethiopia, South Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan, to name a few. You can watch the trailer here.

WE...

We find it hard to work with people that intentionally say things that are different to what they mean. We feel that toxic positivity and artificial harmony erode trust and kill businesses, so we prefer high-stakes conversations. We appreciate that meaningful, productive relationships may need some friction to test boundaries and experience unconditional respect.

We subscribe to a set of beliefs that help guide how we work, play, and problem solve. Do these resonate with you?

  • Great education is the basis for societal progress - human capital is the bottleneck to societal progress. Unleashing the talents of those transitioning from ‘youth to adulthood’ is the most important thing we can do to impact the future.
  • At Catalyst, we are specifically interested in the study of ‘change’. Others call it the study of progress: link.
  • Teach like your hair is on fire - we’re tackling an enormous problem with considerable headwinds (and, fortunately, tailwinds too). Urgency is a must.
  • If given more (time, money, etc), try to do less - make things shorter. Do fewer things well. Focus on the key messages. Communicate with precision. Cut waste.
  • Style, substance, and story go hand-in-hand - quality matters. Design matters. Storytelling matters. Great quality + great design + great storytelling influences stakeholders and improves lives.
  • Everyone can, and should, contribute in a meaningful way - 2 years of experience or 20 years of experience, we expect our team to go the extra mile and strive to have the greatest impact. Achieving the greatest impact necessarily means taking pride in our work, holding ourselves and others accountable, ditching ego, and embracing diversity.
  • Calculated risks are worth taking, and we should take them - calculate. But then act. We expect our team to compress risk wherever possible and to reason from first principles to develop a true view of business circumstances. But we also know that real progress comes from executing with pace and conviction in the face of unknowns.
  • Doing the ‘right thing’ is always the right thing - our reputation as a team that does the right thing means something, and we feel it pays off in the long run. Also, its the right thing.
  • We like to hire for slope, not y-intercept - where possible, we hire for potential, approach and ambition over experience.

ABOUT YOU:

You are a passionate educator and coach. You have at least 10 years of contact-time experience with secondary school students achieving at a high level. We will also consider those with less teaching experience from specific programmes, such as Teach First. While you are able to work within the confines of an examined syllabus, you are of aware of its shortcomings and are passionate about exploring new methods and models for teaching and learning.

You believe in interdisciplinarity - that today's problems are more interconnected than ever before, and that educating tomorrow's leaders requires a similarly interdisciplinary approach.

You want to draw on best practice, but establish new boundaries for what is possible in digital-first, but not digital-only, education - which necessarily means you:

  • Are comfortable operating across the full education 'stack'... from assessment and data to programme design and contact time with students
  • Are capable of establishing thought leadership on what great digital teaching and learning looks like
  • Can operate as a polymath, covering a broad range of content areas as a specialist generalist while in-sourcing requisite expertise from those with greater domain-specific knowledge
  • Embrace the title 'edutainer' in that you can hold student attention and engage 1-2-1, small group, and full class or cohort to the highest standard
  • Bias to inquiry-led facilitation and are allergic 'I talk you listen'

At the same time, Catalyst is a new venture. We expect all members of the team to be commercial in their approach, which means we hope that you would be able to evidence times in which you have worked in other industries or different non-educator roles, including - for example - running your own business or practice.

ABOUT THE ROLE:

You will lead our product development effort, working closely with the academic director and all functional areas of the business to ever-iterate and improve our ability to provide transformative educational experiences.

Critically, you will work with the tech & digital product function to ensure that student experience is second to none.

By product development, we mean, among other things:

  • Assessment and curriculum design
  • Content structure and feedback mechanisms
  • Programme architecture
  • Parent engagement and learning

Additionally, you will help develop our alumni track ensuring that students who successfully complete Catalyst benefit from ongoing support and development.

We'll be successful if two conditions are met: (1) students develop 10x as compared to what society believes is possible in any given period of time, (2) students have achieved greater clarity in determining the kind of change they wish to bring about in the world, and are better equipped to pursue it.

COMPENSATION:

Commensurate with experience. Just kidding! We believe in transparency. Depending on your experience and, more importantly, track record, we imagine a base salary of between £45,000 - £55,000 p.a.

As a member of the founding team, you'll also have the chance to benefit from further financial upside in connection with company performance.

In addition...

💸 You can share in the upside

🌎 You can work from anywhere; though the UK/London is HQ

💻 Get access to the tools you need to do your best work

📚 We believe in lifelong learning; we practice lifelong learning through continuous personal and professional development - including access to coaching and courses

☑️ ~Quarterly ‘workations’ where we get together as a full team

🏖️ Unlimited holiday; we trust you to balance work and play

HIRING PROCESS:

We are a small team and don’t hire a lot. We actually don’t really want to hire that many people. Why? We don’t believe building a high-impact, successful company means we need to hire lots of people. The opposite. We think having a small, effective, fast team means we can grow bigger, better.

We also think that small companies are more fun to work at. We get more done, and have fun doing it. But there are tradeoffs... we work hard and we take our work seriously. We also like to be scrappy. That means we might not be the right fit for many people. But for others, it will be a great fit.

Still, we are hiring a few people. But to be honest, running a perfect hiring process isn’t one of our top goals right now. We want to optimize for employee experience which, given we’re a small team, means we might run a less than ideal candidate experience. That’s a tradeoff we’re willing to make right now because it means that when you join, you stay... we hope!

That’s more about our approach than the process.

So... the process:

  1. (~45 mins) We do a discovery call. This is an informal chat with one or two people on our team and you. This is your chance to ask questions. We don’t want to waste your time if you aren’t authentically interested in what we’re doing. We also learn a lot about you from the questions you ask ;)
  2. (~60 mins) If we’re both happy to move forward, we conduct a more traditional interview where we dig into your experience. You don’t need to prepare anything in advance.
  3. (~2 hours) We present you with a mini-case - you spend up to 45 mins preparing and we use the remaining time to debrief and discuss.
  4. (~1 hour) If we’ve made it this far, we really want you to join. We’ll make an offer subject to (1) a final round interview with someone you haven’t met on our team, (2) references, and (3) the ‘airport test’. (Note - the offer won’t change following this stage so if you choose to continue with the process, we assume that it is because you intend to accept it/would accept it subject to completing the hiring process.)
  5. (~1 hour) We’ll run an ‘airport test’ which is code for, can we hang out together for an hour and not talk about work stuff but still feel like the time was well spent and enjoyable.

NB: Why do we make an offer before the final round interview? Two reasons:

  1. We find that negotiating terms of employment before agreeing to work together isn’t always the best approach. We like to end the candidate experience on a high and start the employee experience on a high. High + high = very high.
  2. We don’t want ‘likeability’ to dictate an offer, which it often does. The final interview is a chemistry check on both sides. The terms of the offer won’t change, but if there are any concerns on either side following the final stages, the offer may be rescinded.

Its worth mentioning that on some occasions, we may deviate from the above process. We want to be responsive to individual candidates and our shared context.

Questions