Monday, April 17, 2006

Paving The Career Path - Part 3

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Okay, after all this you may well have more information than you find interesting, but it was necessary to establish a basic overview of the matter. It should be clear by now that while you want to be sure that your selected school is properly accredited, and to consider how your desired employer will view that school or degree on your resume, the actual value of the choice is different for each person. In my case, for example, any of the three schools I have chosen would represent serious work and a fully recognized degree on my resume, but they would be much less expensive than other options. Talk about your ROI! Also, the ability to study and test at home in a flexible schedule allows me to continue to focus on my existing work and family responsibilities. I have no illusion about the extra weight to come, but at least if an emergency comes up, I have more control over my studies and with proper planning should be able to avoid the crisis of having to damage school, work, or family because of a conflict. Also, not having to deal with traffic saves me time and no small amount of stress.

Having chosen the Online MBA has its costs, of course. I will have to be self-disciplined even more than the ordinary graduate student. I will have to make time for the studies, assignments and examinations on my own responsibility. I have to find the places to get my textbooks, since I won’t be on campus, and since I will be hundreds of miles from the campus, I will have to pay close attention to when and how the professor will be available for questions. I will have to maintain my own equipment to insure that I get all the lectures, and I will have to run my own degree plan with the knowledge that no one is watching out for me. I will have to accept that my path does not include internships, and probably far fewer interviews with potential employers than students who can schedule an on-campus interview. And of course, no matter how hard I work for my degree, there will always be those employers who believe, however wrongly, that my degree is not worth as much, not as deserved, as an MBA claimed by the more traditional method. Knowing this in advance helps me not only understand the range of my opportunity, but play my hand to its best advantage.

I do not want to bore my readers, but from some of the mail I have received there seems to be a desire to understand the MBA process, especially as it impacts advancement to executive positions. I think we are all somewhat intrigued by top-level positions, seeing people of great wealth and power, and wondering if and how we might climb there ourselves. It certainly follows the mantra of the American Dream to believe that we can make our dreams reality if we work hard and can get lucky just once or twice. And it suits my personal ideals, to believe that anyone who figures out the way to success has a moral obligation to show that way to anyone interested in making the commitment. So I plan to chronicle my journey as I go, and I appreciate the feedback from my readers, especially questions and insights.

Good luck and God bless.

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