I received an invitation in the mail the other day to attend a MBA presentation put on by the University of Redland’s School of Business. They just opened a new branch in Temecula so I called and got more information. The sticker shock was expected but the overall program will probably not work for me. With my education background and my focus on technology certificates instead of a degree, I would be looking at 4 to 5 years of work to complete the program. The price tag in the $50,000 dollar range will also be a little difficult to justify.
I work in the K12 education field and master degrees are very common and required for upper level management. A few of our senior cabinet members even have doctorates. Given my age and my goals I have some interesting choices. I can bite the bullet and spend the next 4-5 years of my life with little spare time and a singular focus or I can pursue something a little different.
In researching this topic I’ve found many other people in the same quandary. Most people are frustrated but I found an interesting little manifesto on changethis.com that may help. Entitled “The Personal MBA“, this program consists of reading 42 books on business and applying what you learn to increase your effectiveness at work.
The books cover a wide range of subjects and are written by many popular business authors. The manifesto was written by Josh Kaufman and he has put together a website with an online forum for comments and an ongoing discussion. Josh lists the pros and cons of the program on his site…
- Can a traditional MBA program help you? Yes. You’ll meet a lot of great people and get acquainted with a few professors and corporate HR recruiters who can help you land a new job. You will also sink very deep into debt. If you decide to enroll in a full-time program, the opportunity cost of lost wages and future investable savings is huge.
- Will a traditional MBA teach you anything you can’t learn by yourself? Probably not. Classroom discussion can be beneficial, but there’s nothing presented that you can’t learn by studying a good book on the subject.
- Is a traditional MBA worth the time and money? Sorry – there’s no universal answer. If you’re looking to go into advanced corporate accounting, finance, quantitative analysis, commercial real estate, consulting, venture capital, or investment banking, an MBA or MS in a business-related field may be expected or required. In those cases, caveat emptor: once you decide to attend, the only certainty is that your bank account will be significantly smaller.
If you decide not to go to business school, the Personal MBA is a low cost way to educate yourself about business. (Even business school graduates can benefit greatly from reading these books.)
The bottom line: You get the education but not the piece of paper (degree) that may be critical. After looking at the list of books and the probable time commitment, I considered doing this. I asked myself the question… How will this fit into my time schedule and can it be somehow worked into my 12 habits program? When will I be able to read 42 books? I thought to myself… I’m already time strapped and a commitment this big may not fit.
Just then my e-mail popped up and there was a special offer from Audible.com for audio books.
The light went on…
Do this program with Audio books on my Ipod…
Another light went on…
Do this program while I’m already doing something else…
Another light went on… it was getting brighter..
Do this program while walking or exercising… something I’m already doing 30 minutes a day.
A crazy flashing light went on…
Walk or run in different business areas for greater continuity
Neon lights popped up…
While out walking Interview business owners about the subject material
A bright white spot light came on...
Blog about the results. Create an online thesis…
An MBA on the Run!
I can do this!
So here is my plan and my 6th habit in my 12 Habits quest. Listen to two new audio books a month and create two new articles or posts about the subject. While putting together the material interview a real-world business owner about the subject.
My first Audio book will be “Purple Cow” by Seth Godin and I plan to listen to this while walking through Old-Town Temecula. The goal will be to assimilate the material and find a remarkable business that is truly a “Purple Cow”. A short interview with the business owner should make the material come alive.
I’ll need a few materials to make this happen. Technology is the key to success.
2. Audio book from Itunes or Audible
3. Pocket voice recorder for doing the interviews
4. Naturally Speaking from Dragon software for speech to text translation
Other books should be easy to choose and many good ones have been listed on Rosa Say’s Love Affair with Books. A few good ones come to mind like Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazi and another of Seth’s books… All Marketers Are Liars
The exercise part of this plan is compatible with Five Factor Fitness and Core Performance Essentials routines.
Since this program will use Audio books the book selection will be somewhat different than the Personal MBA, since some of those titles are not available in Audio form. I will purchase some of the books that are good for reference in both audio and bound versions. Given the two books per month timetable a great education can be put together over the span of two years.
The synergy of this program combining exercise, learning, communication, and writing is very powerful and it ties in great with my ongoing 12 habits program.
The entire cost of the whole program… under $1000 including the Ipod, pocket recorder, Naturally Speaking software, and 50 audio books. This is much cheaper than any conventional MBA program that I have found.
The upside is a great wealth of blogging material, an online thesis, and online stories (and possible podcasts) of real business success. This may not be a conventional MBA with a sheet of paper but I think this might look pretty good to a prospective employer especially with comments and feedback from readers of this blog.
I picked up all of the materials this week and they work great. Naturally speaking is amazing and the little pocket recorder will record up to 8 hours of speech. The Ipod allows you to bookmark sections of the audio book for future reference.
The first step starts… today