Top Techies Jessica Rusin and Bijal Shah bring innovation to tuition

Rusin and Bijal are working on technology that empowers employers to pay directly for their employees' tuition

Bijal Shah & Jessica Rusin

Bijal Shah, chief technology and payments officer

Jessica Rusin, senior vice president-engineering

Guild Education | Denver

 

INVENTIONS

Rusin: “We’re one of the first companies in this space, meaning we don’t have a playbook to pull from. We’ve created an innovative tuition-payments system unlike anything that’s out there. Our technology empowers some of the country’s biggest employers to pay for their employees’ tuition directly, and that’s a really exciting endeavor to work on.”

Shah: “Guild’s technology has shifted [the] paradigm so employees don’t have to front large amounts of money to go back to school. In addition, at Guild and for me personally, as is evident by my career, we firmly believe that the skills you learn on the job today should translate to academic credit. We are investing in technology and partnerships that allow us to translate real-world experience into academic credit in a scalable fashion, reinforcing learning by doing.”

IN THE BEGINNING

Rusin: “I’ve worked for companies both large and small as a software engineer, moving my way into technical leadership positions. I’ve worked in multiple industries such as commerce, telecom, energy and most recently, for multiple startups.”

Shah: “I have an undergraduate technical degree in chemical engineering. After graduating from college, I became an operations researcher, which is essentially a data scientist. I built optimization algorithms that enabled Fortune 500 companies to deploy different marketing and sales strategies to drive revenue growth.”

INSIDE THE ACTION

Rusin: “When I started at Guild, we had two engineers. We now have a team of more than 60 hard-working, fast paced, creative thinkers. It’s also a diverse group — not just in gender or race, but also in background and perspective. That said, there’s a very common goal that drives us forward, and we’re incredibly mission-oriented.”

Shah: “I lead the team at Guild that enables our marketplace to work as seamlessly as possible. This includes the technology teams (engineering, analytics, design) as well as the payments teams.”

INSPIRATION

Rusin: “As an engineer, I like to solve problems. The problem Guild is working to solve is around finding a scalable way for people to go to school debt-free and improve their quality of life.”

Shah: “There are 88 million Americans in need of upskilling and reskilling to compete in the future of work, so as we look to scale the business to broaden our impact on our students, it’s really important to ensure that technology strategy enables our business strategy.” 

 

This article was part of a Top Techies feature, which highlighted six Colorado tech companies that are thriving on ideas and execution. While each company is in a different stage of their journey, the people behind the technology all believe that the tools themselves need a mission attached and positive impact on the bottom line. Read more about the other top techie standouts: 
REGINA OCWIEJA | KEVIN NESS | PAUL KURKULIS | ASHLEE COLLINS 

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