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Thought Leaders in Online Education: Mike Pellerin, Director, Enterasys University (Extreme Networks) (Part 7)

Posted on Friday, Jan 17th 2014

Sramana Mitra: Well, it can be looked at differently as vocational training. For example, there are plenty of jobs in computer networking. We live in a networked world. Somebody who is trained in computer networking and has a good theoretical understanding can deal with equipment and so forth. This is a very nice vocation even if they don’t go to the university. It could be a decent career path, which is why the community college angle is very interesting.

But essentially, it is a discipline of computer science and computer engineering, maybe even electrical engineering. So, all the universities that have both these programs could be potential users of your materials to be able to supplement their courses. But the professors will have to get on top and hope they don’t get behind it and make it a part of their course.

Mike Pellerin: And it all goes back to the relationship. As you said, publishers like Pearson have built this relationship over time.

Sramana Mitra: If you don’t mind, I have a suggestion. You are not trying to make money on this stuff. I would suggest you partner with Pearson or the leading publishers. Collaborate with the product manager or whoever is leading the engineering products or sub segments and let them do the selling because you’re not trying to make money on this. If they just incorporate this product into their courses, it would be great, right?

Mike Pellerin: Yes. To be honest, at the end of the day, it’s all about the student. And that’s the most important thing.

Sramana Mitra: It’s a win for you too because people are getting trained on your equipment.

Mike Pellerin: That is true but you know, within Extreme Networks, we feel that this is a very long endurance marathon. If I can influence somebody today, maybe in the future that person will remember us as, “You know what, this is some kind of a cool company that has some premature potential. I have actually learned some stuff. It sounds neat. I want to give him a chance. ”

Sramana Mitra: I agree with your point of view but in this field, it’s much quicker and especially if you’ve really explored the community college, the vocational in a training angle. I think that would be within a couple of semesters. You have professionals that are trained on your equipment and if you have sufficient penetration into that market there could be tons of immediate sales.

Mike Pellerin: Very true. I was thinking more of a 4-year student who could land an influential position. But you are right. Professionals going to school at community colleges are rising faster up the ladder.

Sramana Mitra: That’s a very interesting angle. We’ve discussed that in the community college angle. It’s more interesting from your point of view of where you would get both better fields and also the impact of what you’re going to be able to do for those students is much higher.

Mike Pellerin: I agree with you. Thank you very much for the interview and the chance to speak.

Sramana Mitra: Thank you.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Thought Leaders in Online Education: Mike Pellerin, Director, Enterasys University (Extreme Networks)
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