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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Forte Forum

I went to a thing last night in the city for women who are considering an MBA - the Forte Forum. I haven't seriously considered an MBA, but it's in the list of options. In my fantasy world where I have the money to take two years off of work and focus on learning new skills, it's on the list of options to pursue.

Unfortunately, I think it had the opposite of the intended effect. First off, I felt immediately like I was too old to do this. Only 18% of MBA candidates are over 31. The average is someone who has been out of college for 3 years.

The second problem is that money thing. For most programs, I'd need to take 2 years off work and pay the tuition as well, which ranged from $45k to $100k a year. Wog. Even "Executive MBA" programs geared toward working professionals still have big tuition cost issues. That'd be great if Stanford paid for it, but their annual tuition assistance for staff is $2450, which is to say, feeble.

(It's always been one of the things that's vaguely offended me at Stanford - we can't take classes here and they don't facilitate our getting an education elsewhere. The attitude feels a bit like "You'll do what you were hired to do and don't get all uppity thinking you need more education." I feel like an educational institution would be more interested in furthering the education of its staff, but that's not how it is. The children of staff, yes, to the tune of up to $18,000 a year at the institution of your choice, but not the staff. Grumble.)

The third problem really came from the event. They had a panel of speakers and they each told where they went to school, asked them a few prepared questions, and then opened it to the audience for questions. My question was about what skills they'd learned in their programs that were the most valuable. Thoughtful looks from all of them, but nothing they could pull up. Finally one said, "Learning to work in a group as a team." The others all agreed, and added in that it's really so much about the people you meet and build a network with.

Group/team work I've learned in my teacher credential program and further in my project management certification courses. I've become a much bigger fan of group/team efforts than I ever was in my youth. Of course it helps that in my youth, group work meant that things would get divided up, I'd do my work, and everyone else would flake or do a crap job and I'd either do their work for them or take the bad grade. In the APM courses, everyone would do what they were assigned and care about the content.

As far as building a social network, for better or worse, I have one, and I like the one I've got. It's not career-based, but it sometimes allows for career networking.

So, put myself a hundred grand in debt for a degree that may or may not be a good fit for my career path? Um... don't think so. But it's nice to have that option off the table. There are other things that I think I'd go for if I had the money. (But I don't have the money, so it's all mostly moot.)


  • It seems odd that the best thing would be the social network. I figured you would learn a bunch of quantitative skills, at least as far as accounting and finance. Didn't Fred get an MBA? If you want more info, it might be informative to ask Fred what he got out of his MBA program.

    By Blogger Chris, at 3:08 PM  

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