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Optimal (company)

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki

Type of businessPrivate
Area servedWorldwide
Founder(s)Sung Rhee
Key people
  • Sung Rhee (CEO)
ServicesTechnology education, Higher education
Current statusActive

Optimal (company) is a company that provides online data-driven rankings in education-related areas including College, Graduate school, Online learning in higher education, and Coding bootcamp.[1]. Their published rankings, reviews and datasets are based on detailed research data and aim at helping prospective students understand the outcome of specific college, degree and career tracks [1]


Optimal (formerly SR Education Group) was founded in 2004 by Sung Rhee, a Harvard University alum, after he left his job at Microsoft to create a venture-backed Startup company.[2]. After building multiple websites, Rhee began turning toward Higher education, primarily Online learning in higher education.

Each of Optimal’s products rely on data and student and alumni reviews to rank the best education programs. They aim to add transparency to the education industry by providing free rankings and data to prospective students[2]. The company’s main products are GradReports, OnlineU, and SwitchUp.



The GradReports website serves as the first college rankings based on graduates’ salary by major field[3]. The rankings are based on data from the U.S. Department of Education’s College scorecard, including median salaries and debt levels by college major. Colleges are ranked in descending order based on their graduates’ median salary[3]. The top 25 schools for each major are ranked[4]. The outcomes-based data aims to enable students to choose the right educational path for them that will give them the greatest opportunity for success with the least risk of crippling debt[4].

GradReports say their rankings help prospective students answer the question, “What can I expect to make if I graduate from a particular school with a particular major?”[1]. The rankings are based on over 100,000 college degree programs and the starting salary data of over 5 million graduates, and cover more than 70 majors at the bachelor’s and master’s levels[4].


OnlineU (formerly Guide to Online Schools) offers the first rankings of their kind to use alumni salary data and manually-researched tuition rates. Out of the nearly 2,000 schools researched, they published more than 250 program rankings of online schools, all using subject- and level-specific data[1]. OnlineU released its first online college rankings in 2009; since then, it has been recognized by more than 475 colleges as an authority in online higher education[5].


SwitchUp launched in 2014, with the purpose of adding transparency to the technology education industry and providing resources for those who want to start a career in tech[6]. SwitchUp guides students on the right career path, recommends bootcamps, and aggregates alumni reviews[7]. They also release bootcamp rankings each year based on student and alumni reviews[6][8]. As of 2020, SwitchUp has compiled more than 20,000 verified student reviews of bootcamps to rank the best bootcamp programs in coding, data science, cybersecurity, digital marketing, web design, and more[9].

In addition to the rankings and reviews on its site, SwitchUp produces research on the coding bootcamp industry, including salary and employment trends for bootcamp graduates[10], which can often be found on the site’s blog.


Each of Optimal’s main products have received favorable coverage in the news since their launch.


Optimal launched its needs-based scholarship program in 2010. Each year, the company gives away $250,000 of its profits to students with high financial need pursuing degrees[18]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "New Rankings List the Best Colleges in 5 Categories". College Confidential. Retrieved 2020-10-06.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Optimal Helps College Decision-Making Process". 425 Business. Retrieved 2020-10-06.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "The First College Rankings Based On Grads' Salary By Major Field". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-10-06.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 "College Rankings Based on Debt and Earnings by Major". College Confidential. Retrieved 2020-10-06.
  5. "OnlineU in the News". OnlineU.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "The Top 33 Coding Bootcamps".
  7. "Take this quiz to find out which coding bootcamp to attend — if any at all". VentureBeat. Retrieved 2020-10-06.
  8. "Dreaming in Code". The Business of Federal Technology. Retrieved 2020-10-06.
  9. "SwitchUp - Your Guide to the Best Tech Bootcamps". SwitchUp.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "A Coding Career And You - Top Coding Schools 2017". Newsweek. Retrieved 2020-10-06.
  11. "11 Top Colleges Where Computer Science Majors Can Earn 6-Figure Salaries After Graduation". Business Insider. Retrieved 2020-10-06.
  12. "11 top online colleges where graduates can earn more than $90,000 a year". Business Insider. Retrieved 2020-10-06.
  13. "You Have Been Accepted to College for the Fall. Should You Go?". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-10-06.
  14. "Find the Perfect Coder Boot Camp for You With This Handy Site". Wired. Retrieved 2020-10-06.
  15. "Switch Is TripAdvisor For Finding A Tech Bootcamp". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2020-10-06.
  16. "Some coding 'bootcamps' can get graduates an average salary of over $100,000 after just three months, and now you can pay for them with student loans". Business Insider. Retrieved 2020-10-06.
  17. "This Is What Coding Bootcamps Need To Do To Beat The Backlash". Fast Company. Retrieved 2020-10-06.
  18. "Optimal - Scholarships". Optimal. Retrieved 2020-10-06.

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