Just how much do you really learn by paying to get that MBA or APR designation? Couldn’t you do the same thing by reading books, studying your craft and learning from professional mentors?
Yes, I know it impresses employers and people in academic settings to have certain letters after your name. But as Matt Damon so eloquently points out (with a cuss word or two thrown in for good measure), can’t you also get the same thing for $1.50 in late fees at your local library?
In my experience, yes. As a print journalism major (remember print journalism?) at the University of St. Thomas, I learned infinitely more from the adjunct profs who were also working full-time at the Star Tribune and Associated Press than I ever did from the “academics” in the department and who only taught straight from the textbooks. Even though these guys only had a BA and little academic glory to their names, their real-world experience and advice could not be gleaned from a textbook. Every day, they came in with real-life examples of how newspapers worked, how reporters and editors did their jobs and (most important to students) what it would take for us to get there.
Back to APRs, MBAs and PhDs: In some ways, you are really just paying for those three little letters or an institution’s name on a piece of paper as much as you’re paying to get educated. Right?
Because in my experience, you can do it yourself. And save thousands of dollars in the process.