Chief Executive Officer
- Deadline for Applications
- Contact Information
ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION:
Kepler is reinventing higher education with a lens on readiness for 21st century careers. Africa has the fastest growing youth population in the world, but its education systems are not ready to unleash what could be the transformative generation of talent that permanently changes the face of the continent. We aspire to be among the first to show at scale that it is possible to dramatically improve learning and employment outcomes while lowering the cost of higher education to make it more widely accessible.
Unlike traditional higher education, Kepler builds its academics around the demanding, practical needs of employers. We deliver the skills that businesses seek through hands-on learning that combines world-class online content, high-quality in-person coaching, and extensive real-world work experience.
Since Kepler’s launch in 2013, we have made tremendous progress in proving the model:
- Learning: 98% of students in Kepler’s inaugural class earned their Associate’s degrees in under two years, and our students are significantly outperforming their peers at local Rwandan universities across the board, as measured by an independent, evidence-based research firm.
- Jobs: Kepler students stand out in the Rwandan job market and are getting jobs at unparalleled rates. 81% of the students seeking employment from Kepler’s inaugural class have already received full time job offers, despite not having yet completed their B.A. degrees.
- Demand: There is tremendous demand for Kepler to expand within and beyond Rwanda. Kepler has already enrolled close to 300 students and is poised to reach tens of thousands. Last year over 6,000 students—one in six graduating high school students in Rwanda—applied to Kepler. Philanthropists are eager to support Kepler’s growth across Africa in the coming years. In addition to its direct impact, Kepler gets many requests to help other universities and entrepreneurs learn from its model; we are deeply committed to seeding like-minded university models around the globe.
Kepler has been featured widely in the education and mainstream press including Competency Works, Bright, Scientific American, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Our co-founders, who serve on Kepler’s board, have deep experience in education in East Africa, having also founded a K12 school network (Nova and PioneerAcademies) and corporate training venture (Spire). For more information, please visit Kepler’s website and read this post on Kepler’s early results.
ABOUT THE POSITION:
Kepler is looking for a visionary Chief Executive Officer to lead its expansion across sub-Saharan Africa. This is an opportunity to lead and develop a disruptive university model that transforms the future of Africa’s youth, while also creating a new educational model for the world. The role will initially be based in Kigali, Rwanda for 6 months or more. As Kepler launches operations in a second country starting in late 2016 or early 2017, the CEO may choose to relocate to that country (likely Kenya or South Africa) while continuing to travel to Rwanda frequently.
Imagine a world in which all young people in Africa attend a university that sets them up for long-term career success. A university that demands excellence, helps students learn by intensively practicing job-relevant skills rather than by sitting in lectures, and builds the character and growth mindset that will shape the rest of their lives. A university that delivers students—no matter their family background—a US-accredited degree at low cost without making them leave their home countries.
This is what Kepler has created in Rwanda. We want you to help make it happen everywhere.
As CEO, you will drive Kepler’s expansion as we move from early piloting into a phase of rapid growth. You will lead all mission-critical priorities: streamlining and systematizing the delivery of the Kepler model to prepare for scale; building the distinctive team and culture that will continue to attract amazing new talent for decades to come; expanding the existing Rwanda-based campus into other countries across Africa, establishing partnerships with the fastest-growing companies in each new country; and raising the growth capital that will fuel Kepler’s expansion.
Within the next two years, you will be expected to substantially increase student enrollment in Rwanda while spearheading Kepler’s expansion into a second country (possibly Kenya or South Africa). Kepler’s launch in a second country is an excellent opportunity to design and implement a “Kepler 2.0” model, pushing the envelope further with the cost and flexibility of our offering to students. Another key near-term priority lies in proving out a workable student loan model to ensure that Kepler is accessible to students from low-income families and that Kepler is financially self-sustaining at the campus level without donor support. While the Kepler board will expect you to make substantial progress with large new donor commitments to fund expansion, you will enjoy the security of having most of Kepler’s budget needs for the first two years covered by existing commitments.
Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
- Collaborating with Board of Directors and senior leadership to set vision and strategy
- Recruiting, developing, and supervising a high-performing senior leadership team
- Building a strong organizational culture defined by clear principles including—but not limited to—high expectations, transparency, growth mindset, and customer orientation
- Serving as the external voice for the organization and thought leader on the transformation of higher education in the developing world, engaging with partners, and leading thinkers
- Cultivating and managing relationships with the key strategic partners (e.g., employer partners and university partners) that lie at the heart of the Kepler model
- Overseeing fundraising planning and implementation, generating a funding base that enables Kepler to reach its ambitious goals for direct and indirect impact
- Developing annual operating plans that support Kepler’s strategic goals and objectives
- You have at least 10 years of work experience including significant team leadership experience
- You have led an organization or a large business/operating unit through a significant growth phase, and therefore have experience crafting systems, teams and culture that do not break down with scale
- You are very systematic in your management practices, including both people management and performance management
- You have substantial experience in the developing world (Africa experience preferred but not required) and are committed to living in Africa for the next 4+ years
- You are passionate about learning and view education as the critical lever for global development. You may or may not have work experience in the sector, but you have a track record of developing others through coaching, and you geek out on research and insights about how people learn and grow
- Your past supervisors have consistently perceived you as one of the rising stars in the organization and promoted you through the ranks
- You have an exceptional ability to think strategically and yet you sweat the small stuff
- You take pleasure in excellence and impact more than credit or status
Kigali, Rwanda (initially)
COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS:
Salary and benefits will be competitive and commensurate with experience.
This organization is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes candidates from diverse backgrounds.