Monday, March 15, 2010

Poll - answer


Hi Ricardo
I was about to vote on your poll, but I thought I would add some extra thoughts on this matter.
When it comes to teaching and learning about management (and leadership?) the first thing that comes to mind is experience, and an individuals unique situation.
One of my friends graduated from the University of Alberta with a degree in mechanical engineering the same year I graduated from the Faculty of Education. He continued on and immediately completed a 2 year MBA program.
When it comes to accounting, and theoretical financial matters, he is far more knowledgeable than I am. We both graduated in 1988, but with the years of experience I have had, along with the challenges of starting a family at the age of 24, I have a better understanding of people, human resources, leadership, and I bring a much more pragmatic approach to management in general. His background in engineering lends itself to concrete theories and applications. My background in education lends itself to communications. The truth is that effective teaching (pedagogy) and effective communication are very close siblings.
In 2007 I started an online MBA program. Working full time, this is the only realistic way I can continue my studies. There is also one other consideration and that is age and time. Here in Canada, the University of Athabasca has one of best recognized MBA programs in the country. However the workload is far greater than I can manage, and with tuition costs close to $75,000, at age 44, the cost is a major consideration. Put this way, an MBA from the University of Athabasca is beyond my reach in both time and dollars.
The program I choose instead was an MBA from the University of Liverpool (on-line). Tuition costs are around $30,000 and the work load is considerably less than the University of Athabasca. It is a fully accredited MBA, but it doesn't carry the same status. Three years have passed and I still am a very long way from completion.
My point is that life and situations change. There is a lot of stress in my life right now, and time is an ever dwindling commodity. The University of Liverpool is a "pay as you go" program, so I may yet choose a different school. Right now I am looking at some MBA programs that are not fully accredited, far less work intensive, less expensive, but yet still carry a moderate level of recognition.
So in short, I would have to say that having some real life experience before starting a management program (like an MBA) is very valuable. If one can afford to take two years off of work and attend a "bricks and mortar" on campus program, that would be the ideal. In real life, and for working people, online work makes the most sense. However, as I pointed out, the range, options, credibility, and costs of online programs vary greatly.
As for coaching, nothing beats having access to the wisdom of our elders. My dad, who never went to university, worked for the Toronto Dominion Bank from 1949 to 1989. He was working on his 41st year of service when he retired. I have gone back to him many times for advice and wisdom. He has knowledge that just can't be found in any program.
Hopefully something in what I have outlined is of value. If you have questions, feel free to drop me a note and I will do my best to answer them.
Take care....
Can you share the Poll. We have 10% of the answers we want!!

1 comment:

Chris said...

Hi Robert,
Just a quick comment about Athabasca University. You mention tuition of $75,000. Actually, tutition for thier program is actually $43,740 for the 2010/2011 school year. This includes all learning materials (text books, etc.). I would certainly agree that AU has a great reputation. I am a student in the program and put in about 20 to 25 hours per week.