Tuesday, June 23, 2009

╠ I wish...Death of University ╣

This weekend just past I had a curious meeting where the organization I volunteer for had to talk down to a sub-organization because of their lackluster results. Promotion was a huge issue for them and what I found interesting was that our head said that him and myself were the people on committee to approach because I had been formally trained and he had experience.

This made me realize how little University does for you. This year I've been stumbling through the brand manager position learning everything I have to just before I have to do it. None of which was covered in Uni.

One of the questions raised during the meeting was how do you advertise on twitter. Any marketer would know twitter and how to utilize it, however it has not been mentioned in a single class of mine. I've been at Uni for almost 3 years now and I honestly feel like this one year of experience volunteering as well as blogging has taught me more than what Uni can.

The curious thing though is that in my career management class which contained two parts, one presentation (Which my group rigged so we all got full marks), and then the plan itself I scored 6/10 meaning the plan itself got 1/5. Seems volunteering in the role you actually want to do, blogging about your area of interest and building network contacts is a horrible career plan.

University isn't what it promises to be. It's simply teaching you the core outdated elements of broad career interests. If I had just volunteered for 3 years as the branding coordinator for my organization and used the money I spent on uni to feed myself better and maybe invest in an online journal or two then I would be in a better state than what I am now.

Personally I think what University is should be shrunk down instead of being extended. They should teach you all the basic elements in a year like TAFE and then it's up to you to find experience, or you can come back for another year to be taught more advanced stuff, the latter being the 'if all else fails' option.

So overall this is me once again saying, if you're in Uni and doing nothing else to help you towards your desired career, I worry for you.


Adam said...

Well what Can I say. Your right, spot on, 100%. When I started my Industry placement job I had to learn alot. Quickly, very quickly.

I even had this convo with a marketer who I work with. He has completed his marketing degree, and a finance degree. Worked in the industry for a number of years, and never been taught anything to do with social media.

What's even worse is it's like this for business in general. If you don't know something, you learn it quickly while your working, or in your time off. Then you go and do it.

If you do a uni course, then nothing for two years. It's practically redundant.

lyndellnm said...

I'm a marcomms professional who is a little, well, older. I learned my craft on the job after studying classical piano at uni. (I upskilled a little later with a Masters degree in Marketing.)

My advice to anyone at the same place you're at is twofold. Firstly - it's illogical for anyone to rely solely on their degree to get a job post graduation. You need to differentiate yourself to future employers from the thousands of other graduates also with marketing degrees. Personally, I think your approach of blogging, etc, is a fantastic one. (Particularly because older people like me need young people like you to help us understand social media. We weren't taught that at uni either.)

Secondly, don't write off what you may or may not have learned Uni too prematurely. Remember, I studied classical piano at uni. Did it help me in my career? Not specifically. It did however help me build other skills that have shaped me personally and professionally over the years. (I know I sound like a grandma saying that, but, sigh, it's true.)

Tannie said...

@Adam: So glad you agree with my point because admittedly this was actually a half rant.

@lyndellnm: Thanks for your insight. Good to get sort of backup of my opinion and I do also agree with your point about not discrediting it. Whilst I think industry experience is better I still have learnt a few things here and there at Uni that will be useful. So not a waste, just perhaps slower and less targeted than straight experience.

Maggie Richardson said...

I agree - going to University only teaches you HOW to learn. When I look at a resume and there is a degree on it I know the person has learned 'survival skills' in the academic environment as well as being able to 'stay with the program' for a certain length of time until the job was done. The subject matter is irrelevant.

While teaching in the NEIS program I often had applicants who believed that having a degree in business meant they didnt have to do the lesser qualification. What they didn't know was the degree did not qualify them to operate in the REAL world at a small business level.

Tannie said...

Great point Maggie. That really does summarize it well. It's also to get insight on what you see the value of a degree as. It also makes me feel a lot better about my aims of finishing and jumping straight to trying to get more experience rather than bothering with honours.

Coming out with a commerce degree as much as they've taught us there's no way I'd be any better at unning a small business than anyone with actual experience.

haze said...

I agree with you, when it comes to business and marketing degrees. Success in business requires so much more than Uni can teach you. In a perfect world, I think it would be much more valuable for people to go out and work for 5 years, then take a sabbatical and do a degree.

What about other fields though? I'd be pretty uncomfortable if my doctor, dentist, architect, lawyer etc hadn't been to Uni.

Tannie said...

You make a really good point Haze. However I think that those fields aren't exactly the same. Doctors still have to do experience before they can do any serious roles.

Those roles are heavily knowledge and theory based though so the experience goes hand in hand with the set knowledge.

By that means I also wouldn't feel too confident with a dentist, lawyer or doctor fresh out of uni with no experience.

Head Honcho said...

lyndellnm said You need to differentiate yourself to future employers from the thousands of other graduates also with marketing degrees" ... well this was true pre-Internet where learning was local in a building in a class room behind a desk in a chair. These are now things we can do from our cell phones, thus allowing for a better twofold; uniwork! Besides, the money on uni lights, lawn, building s, and student driving to uni have a large impact on the environment. Nissan has been telling us for years... _shift

Gibron T. Williams
Head Honcho
Oevae Marketing Consultants