MBA factories

I decided several years ago that I wanted to get an MBA. I researched schools, looked into various programs… found one I liked and went through the process.

I’m now 2/9ths done with my chosen program and I feel that every day I walk out of class, I’ve learned something that I can immediately take back to my work environment. But class is not easy and class doesn’t come quickly. In fact, it’s 2 days per week, almost every week of the year, for at least 3 hours, sometimes a bit more.

What I am now trying to figure out is how an “institution” can offer the same accredited degree program that I’m in… but do it in 2 years instead of three… and do it remotely with only 5, 4-day weekends per year? It just seems impossible to me.

Or maybe it’s the fact that, as the Presidio School of Management so clearly shows on their website, that virtually NONE of the faculty at the “school” have a business background or an MBA themselves. Ph.D’s are good… but I would think that they need to be in a related field. But hey, that’s just me and my JD speaking (where 99% of all law school professors MUST BE lawyers themselves).

So it really ticks me off to realize that MY degree is going to be less valuable because these Degree Factories are pumping out unqualified people with the same degree that I’m trying to earn.

Who’s in charge of this mess?

Teaching and Learning

Regardless of where you are in the world, you’ve had some form of education. It could be as complex as grad school, or it could be as basic as your dad smacking your hand when you reached for the hot stove. You learned early on that someone would teach you a lesson and then you would be expected to carry that knowledge forward to the next opportunity.

If you’re lucky and make it through high school (sorry, non-US readers, this is going to be somewhat biased for a moment as I don’t know non-US education hierarchies, but for reference, we’re talking about steady school through about age 17), you have probably experienced the spoon-feeding education theory. This is where your instructor walks you through each and every logic point. They slowly and patiently explain the itty-bitty steps from no-knowledge and knowledge. For example, if you’ve ever taken Speech in school, you probably had to give an instructional speech where you explained something simple but in great detail… like making a Peanutbutter and Jelly sandwitch.

By the time you reach college-level courses, the instructors/professors assume that you have a certain baseline set of information already stored in your head. So rather than spoon feeding you, they try to move faster… driving your thought process, but always doing something of the “read this, then we’ll talk about it, then I’ll assign something for you to practice on with your new information” type process. You see this by reading assignments, followed by class lecture/discussion, followed by a graded exam.

If you’re really masochistic, you decide you want to go to grad school. And if you’re REALLY hell-bent on killing yourself, you choose law school (mostly because you realize that MD’s have a lot more school than law and may/may not have as much earning potential. Law school is usually taught in the Socratic Method… designed to inspire terror a greater learning curve. The method is based on a question/answer format where the professor guides the “student” to discovery of the miniscule point of law a specific case is trying to illustrate.

So, as you might have guessed by now, I survived all of this so far. But thought, what the hell, I want MORE… and enrolled in a local MBA program.

My first two courses are Stats and Marketing. Stats has its own challenges (perhaps the topic of another post on another day). Marketing is my focus today. Specifically, we have to do case studies… also individually geared towards a particular marketing point (such as defining your target market, pricing, etc). However, in each and every case, we get the lesson AFTER we have to turn in the case assignment! I’ve considered that I was missing something. But no, the reading still was done before class… as well as the particular case. The case is turned in first thing when we arrive… and then we are taught the lesson for the day.