For a period of a couple years, I was wrought with angst about going to graduate school. Part of it was due to just about everyone I know getting some sort of advanced degree. The other half of it was I was worried about falling behind or not being valuable enough for an employer. While I had come leaps and bounds in terms of value professionally from where I was a scant 5 years ago, I was still wondering what I should do next? Should I go back to school? And the more important question: figuring out what sort of degree I should get? I was interested in getting my masters in design, creative writing, or business administration.
I questioned the idea constantly, using my poor friends as sounding boards (ad naseum, unfortunately). Everyone had a different opinion and insight, which made it hard since there was no one overwhelming opinion. Plus, much of the information I read was also contradicting. Some assume the MBA is the way to go, while others believe that the MFA is the ‘new’ MBA in the business world because it teaches its students to be creative thinkers, something most MBA programs lack apparently. Ultimately, I decided not to do anything.
The MBA was pointless if I was going to start a business – why pay to learn how to maybe run a business when you can actually run a business (although I’m not sure my incorporation is much of a business yet, but that is another post). And even if I wasn’t going to start a business, it would take me out of the workplace and train me to run businesses that probably would have nothing to do with design.
The MFA in Creative Writing would be awesome, but I’m not ready to take that much time out of my life to maybe be a writer. This was also hard to see what sort of return I could expect on this investment since it didn’t enhance my current employable skill set.
The MFA in Design would be nice, but I’ve kind of set my eyes on doing it around the time I’m 40. I figure by then I’ll need to re-energize my passion for design. An MFA is a good time to do that.
This week, however, I signed up for the Personal MBA, which is just a tight collection of books to read through that give you basically everything you need to know about business. The whole thing started with marketing guru Seth Godin talking about the value of the MBA in the real world :
I get away with this heresy since I, in fact, have my own fancy MBA from Stanford. The fact is, though, that unless you want to be a consultant or an i-banker (where a top MBA is nothing but a screen for admission) it’s hard for me to understand why this is a better use of time and money than actual experience combined with a dedicated reading of 30 or 40 books.
Josh Kaufman (writer of the Personal MBA manifesto) ran with the idea, compiling a list of books and spreading the idea, which has caught on pretty quickly. I joined the official forum the other day, and my first book is waiting for me at the library. It isn’t a line I can add to my resume, but I’m not looking for that. I’m just looking to learn.
I’ll let you know how it works out. The worst that can happen is I read a heck of a lot of books.
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