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Why the Schmidt Futures APM program?

At Schmidt Futures we believe that the way to address humanity’s biggest challenges is to get the best people in the world working to solve them.

Through the APM program, we are connecting top recent graduates with individuals in government, technology, philanthropy, and academia that are using advanced computing to solve major societal challenges. These challenges range from closing the gap between cognitive development of rich and poor kids to driving advances in medicine with advanced computing.

Our goal is that APMs will create lasting change through their work, build a passion for a particular social impact area, and gain an entrepreneurial skill-set to be able to leverage technology to solve big societal problems.

What are examples of projects that I could work on?

APMs work on a variety of projects in a range of fields, including healthcare, education, climate change, and poverty alleviation. Each project seeks to solve a specific problem leveraging data and technology. Current examples of APM projects include:

  • A project to close the cognitive development gap between rich and poor kids–as early as nine months, infants born into poverty score lower on cognitive development measures than their more affluent peers. This disparity triples by age two and brings a cascade of negative consequences extending into lifelong health and social well-being. An APM is working with one of the preeminent researchers on early childhood development in the world to build a “fitbit for language development” that tracks gives parents feedback on how to increase interactions with their kids, which is the most important driver of cognitive development.
  • A project to help millions of smallholder African farmers achieve resiliency and avoid food insecurity in the face of climate change. Over 826 million people globally are food insecure now and this figure has risen over the last three years. The expectation is that the number will rise, potentially to 1.8 bn under a climate change scenario of 4° Celsius. An APM is working with cross-functional team of environmental and machine learning researchers and the UN to leverage satellite and curated crop image data in mobile app that gives African farmers real-time advice to achieve crop resiliency (e.g., when to plant, how to get the value out of every drop of rain and what crops grow best under which conditions).

Will I be working on projects alone or with a team?

APMs will always work with a team. The team will typically be a mix of folks from Schmidt Futures, as well as leaders from partner organizations that we are working with, ranging from universities to startups.

How long will I work on a project?

Typically, projects will range from three to nine months. The aim is to give APMs enough time to get up to speed, build something meaningful, and learn about a new field while still allowing them to get a breadth of experiences during the two years of the program.

How much coding will I be doing, versus other types of work?

This will vary depending on the project. The decision will be made based on project needs as well as each APMs skills and interests. Many APMs in our current cohort have an interest in building their technical skills – including coding – during their rotations. Getting technical support from APMs is an interest from some of our partners as well. For APMs who do have this interest, they can expect to spend up to a third of their time on more technical tasks. Even for more technical projects, APMs will take real ownership to drive forward key elements of a solution versus serving as a ‘code monkey’.

I don’t have prior product manager experience. Can I still apply?

Yes. The majority of our 2019 APM cohort joined us without previous PM experience. Many of them had software engineering or start up summer experiences. The APM program is intended to help train recent college graduates to become the next generation of impact-oriented, creative leaders. We are looking for a cohort of applicants with diverse work and life experience.

What do you envision APMs doing after the program?

Our goal is that APMs finish the program with the skills, knowledge, and networks needed to make an impact in the world through technology. The path following the program will differ depending on the APM, but could take the form of managing a technical team, starting a business, taking on leadership positions in companies and other organizations, or becoming social and policy entrepreneurs. Schmidt Futures is committed to working with APMs to help them figure out what path makes the most sense for them and finding opportunities through our extensive network.

Is there any potential for a permanent, full-time offer following the 2-year program?

Absolutely. We will support APMs in finding whatever the right opportunity is for them to continue to grow their skills and have an impact in the world, which could be outside or within Schmidt Futures.

Where will I be located geographically? Is there any remote work?

APMs will be based in NYC. You can expect to travel 20-30% of the time for project work as well as APM international trips.

Will you cover any relocation costs?

Yes. There is a stipend provided for relocation costs.

Are applications considered on a rolling basis? When will I know if I have been selected?

All applications will be reviewed following the October 1, 2019 deadline and interviews will be conducted thereafter. Final decisions will be made by the first week of December. Please note that if you have an expiring offer, we will be sure to review your application sooner.

What would my start date be?

The 2020 cohort of APMs will start between summer and fall 2020.

Interested in learning more from the team?

Please check out our latest webinar here.