Rutgers, Mini-MBA, and the Death of the Real College Degree
I ran across this Certification Program…err….I mean “Mini-MBA” program offered by Rutgers and for some reason that escapes me it rubbed me the wrong way…oh wait I know why….because its bullshit. I don’t want to come off as some intellectual elitist or anything, but as someone who completed an MBA program (I guess Rutgers would call that a “Maxi-MBA”), I am just a tad put off at the “flavoring” they have added to the degree.
For anyone who has toiled through Grad School, they know the dedication, sacrifice, and grind that’s required to complete the program. Especially for those coming to an MBA program from a non-business background, the rigors of tackling subjects like Finance, Accounting, and Marketing are not for the unmotivated. My recollections bring back memories of grueling coursework, endless reading, arduous group work, all-night study sessions, nerve-racking presentations, and a course-ending thesis (Corporate Crisis Communication).
As someone who jumped off the 9-5 treadmill and re-entered College after 6 years of ‘real-life’ experience, the challenge was daunting but at the same time enormously gratifying and rewarding. It made me realize just how much I didn’t learn as an undergrad. In the end, I got my sheepskin and have ever since been proud of the blood, sweat, and tears that piece of paper represents. I am an MBA dammit and have accomplished something only a small fraction of my peers could claim. That ‘MBA’ means something.
So let’s get back to Rutgers. They are now peddling a variety of these “Mini-MBAs” in subjects like “Business Essentials”, “Going Digital – The New Rules of PR”, and “Pay Per Click (PPC)”. Are you fucking kidding me? Your going to subtly equate a session in “Conversion Optimization” with an MBA???
Note to Rutgers, what you have here are “Training Sessions” or “Certifications”, you know, the kind of things you do that get you a photocopied “Certificate of Achievement” that no one gives a shit about. Hell, its not really of any more value than any of the 400 free webinars you can ingest daily if you aren’t busy actually doing something. And its certainly nowhere near the education you get actually applying knowledge in real life as opposed to learning about how people apply things in real life.
As I said, I don’t know why this tweaked me so much… it’s just semantics right? After all, I am a huge proponent of life-long learning as a means of professional survival. But I guess where I start to seethe with rage is knowing how this will play out with some (I said ‘some’) of their students. All of a sudden there will be a population of people professing their “mumblemumbleminimumble MBA” degree. Trust me, I have seen enough fabricated resumes to know that the practice of outright fictional representation of one’s experience and achievements would make J.K. Rowling proud. Throwing a faux MBA to these professional career hucksters is almost begging them to “mistakenly” drop the “mini” part of their educational acumen.
At minimum, Rutgers is marginalizing what an MBA is and the work necessary to achieve it. It’s academic malpractice and they should be embarrased to having added MBAs to the list of products like “Vitamin Enriched” Pop Tarts, “Low-Fat” Ice Cream, and “Anti-Aging” Wrinkle Cream that have been misrepresented by overzealous marketing people .
I’m sure I am blowing this way out of proportion, but go get yourself a “real” degree and tell me if it doesn’t feel cheapened by Rutgers “Mini-MBAers” Class of October 2011.