Monday, August 24, 2009

Did I waste five years? Probably not

Years and years ago, when I was only three years removed from my undergraduate degree, I enrolled in the MBA program at Cal State Fullerton. I only attended at night, and I took a course that allowed me to specialize in one area, so it took me five years to get my MBA. (In an incredible stroke of luck, I graduated just a few days before my daughter was born; MBA studies would have been difficult with a baby in the house.)

Well, BusinessWeek is now touting something developed by David Buckner called the Mini-MBA. Buckner talks about it here:

As you can see from the video, Buckner's program can be completed in about a week. While you can obviously learn from this and similar programs, when BusinessWeek chose to write a separate article about mini MBAs, they chose to emphasize a different aspect at the beginning of the article:

With the downturn in the economy, people like McKinley are increasingly looking for fast and inexpensive ways to bolster their credentials and brush up on their business skills. Many are turning to quick-hit business education programs, commonly referred to as "mini-MBA" programs, which have proliferated at business schools across the country in recent years. The classes, which typically range in price from $2,000 to $4,000, are designed for middle managers who often don't have a business background or MBA, but want to get a better grasp on business essentials to help them progress in their careers.

And this credential-building apparently has results:

The class has given [job seeker Tom McKinley] a boost in the job market, says McKinley, who has since added the credential to his LinkedIn profile and other job networking sites.

"I'm already getting more interest in my résumé since taking the class and I'm certainly promoting it as I go forward," says McKinley. "People are going to ask me, 'What have you been doing since you've been unemployed for six months?' This is one of the things I can point to."

But while a mini MBA is certainly an alternative to a full MBA, it isn't necessarily a replacement for an MBA. A full MBA includes more in-depth coursework, and also demonstrates a higher level of commitment.

Then again, I'm forced to admit that there are those who question whether a full MBA has any value in the first place.
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