Another "yes, and..." article today on the thread of education.
Last week I posted an entry titled Having a Degree Matters More than Where You Got It...Except... wherein I advocated the position that, well, it doesn't really matter where you earn your degree except to people you potentially work with that ALSO graduated from the same place. It's no coincidence that I filed that post under the category of "Networking"
The other Dave took umbrage with my post (probably because he went to UMD --- JUST KIDDING Dave!) -- based on his post and some feedback that's flowed in I thought I should clarify the my intent.
My post was written from the "outside in" perspective. I didn't say that it didn't matter at all where you get your educational experience. I just simply said that it mattered MORE that you completed the journey.
And that is what education is about: A Journey.
Now, from the "inside out" perspective, I agree that location plays a role. The institution, the physical surroundings, your peer students, the quality of the faculty, the support network of friends and family matters very much.
Getting the degree in and of itself can be as enriching or as vacuous as an experience as you make it.
To you the learner, the MOST important part of the process is "HOW"
Personally, in 1986 I started my undergraduate education, fresh out of High School, out at what was then called Mankato State University (MSU) before dropping out my Junior year to pursue fame and fortune consulting which took me all over the world. In 1991 after traveling back and forth to Japan for the better part of two years, I decided I need to finish my degree and set my sights on getting a Masters degree, so I enrolled at the U of M and took a couple of general education classes. Coming from the mid size campus that was MSU, I found the U of M to be daunting. So I applied and was accepted at the University of St. Thomas (which has one of the best Masters in Software programs in the world) where I found an incredibly warm and receptive environment that placed a high degree on personal learning and practical education for life. A year and half later, my Bachelors Arts degree in hand, I enroll in graduate school. A couple of years later, I drop out to start up the ISP part of BackPack Software. But again, I went back with a renewed energy and passion for learning and finished the MS by 1999.
Along the way of building the business, I discovered that I had a passion and natural, yet unrefined ability, to be an entrepreneur. In order to refine that I needed formal education and applied to the U of M's Carlson School of Management (CSOM) -- they'll never admit it, but I'm pretty sure that it was my experience and passionate essays that won me a seat in 2005, since my GMAT scores were only average. Again, I like to think that actually HAVING a Master's degree is more than enough evidence to suggest that you'll succeed, versus what a standardize test score can ever reveal.
How and where I earned my education matters very much to me, but not in any entitling kind of way. Could I have received a better education anywhere else? That's impossible to know, and largely nonsensical to argue. It's ridiculous to compare two individuals and say one is better suited for a role based on where they went to school. Remember, George W. Bush went to Yale where he earned a cumulative GPA of 2.35 -- see my point. It just doesn't matter.
So if I really had to answer the question, of where I went to school, I would have to enumerate all the places I've been that had classrooms. But that would be doing a HUGE disservice to all the supportive friends, family, mentors, co-workers, countless authors and other random people I've met from whom I've learned the most important lessons over the fourty-one years I've been on the planet.
This is why I don't think the where is as important as the HOW and the HAVING. To put it in perspective, a joke if you'll indulge me?
"What do you call the medical student that finishes dead last in their class? Doctor."
You can do better than that.
Today's Big Idea: "Life in general and Education in particular: The Journey is the Destination"