Friday, December 16, 2005

Generation Geezer And Business School


I admit it; I made a mistake by not pursuing a Business degree at Baylor. But I was turned off by the attitude of so many of the B-School students. Nothing was good enough for them, unless it reflected money. For this attitude to be so prevalent at a Baptist University, was something I found more than slightly annoying.

Now, a couple decades later and here I am, trying to get in the door of a respectable Business School for my MBA. Of course, I could claim that I am not doing this so much for the money, or at least not out of any impulse of greed. It seems so much more palatable to remind myself that my intention is to acquire the tools and knowledge to do my job, to make myself attractive for the positions I should already be in line to receive, and yes, to provide for my family’s material needs in the most effective way possible. Still, I also want to avoid arrogance and foolhardy decisions.

I am going to make the people at the University of Phoenix unhappy with me, but there’s no avoiding that now. By this point in my school search, I have discovered that UoP carries a distinctly bad reputation in business circles, and while this may be unfair to the school, I cannot ignore that factor in choosing a school. In fact, while the for-profit schools boast valid accreditation, at least regionally, and their actual coursework may be everything they claim, there is a real stigma attached to the for-profit schools at the executive level. Anyone with a degree from a for-profit school is going to be labeled as having had to “settle” for a mass-production degree. At my age and with my commitments, that is a liability I cannot accept.

So where to go, then? Fortunately, there are a large number of “traditional” schools which offer an Online MBA, with little or no actual residency requirement, and some of them are even AACSB accredited. Also, there are a number of “traditional” schools in the Houston area, which offer a part-time MBA with schedules I might be able to keep.

I want to stop here and explain why I am writing this article, as well as the ones to come. There are many useful and interesting sites about how to pursue post-graduate education, but most of them are either too biased in favor of one school or type, while many other sites seem to cater to the very young, top-stratosphere students who want to be CEOs before they turn 30. As I am already forty-five years old, with some success in my career but not what the Strato class would call an impressive ‘portfolio’, I have not found much to suggest that people in my position have a great deal of support or even notice. We will fail or succeed on our own, unless we look after each other. These other sites are very useful in terms of information, so I am by no means slamming them, but I think it could be useful to present my experience for other people like me – Generation Geezer, if you will. I cannot help but believe there are other people like myself out there, and if I can succeed, I want to share what I learn with anyone interested.

At this point, I am studying for the GMAT, the requisite test which score will largely decide what schools I can think about for my degree. I also need to seriously decide whether I want to pursue my MBA with a concentration in Accounting, Finance, or whether I should pursue an Executive MBA.

More to come...

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