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Those Star-Belly Sneeches

Sneeches Another semester is ending at Drake University, and I'm deep into grading final exams, final research papers, and final presentations.  The question I always ask myself at the end of a semester is whether my students "get it."  Do they understand that earning an MBA is merely part of a journey as a lifelong learner?  That the degree is a short-term tool that has a limited shelf life, and it is imperitive that they start planning now for how they will USE THIS KNOWLEDGE?  Do they really comprehend that earning the master's degree in and of itself will do nothing for their career advancement?  That the sheepskin and cap and gown no longer automatically translate to promotion and corner office?

Scott Berkun posted a great question the other day about the value of Project Management Institute's (PMI) certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP).  I'll admit I've been a bit of a comment hog on Scott's post, but the use (or misuse) of this certification has alarmed me over the years, and I've become a bit passionate about the topic.  There are organizations out there that promise "zero to PMP in five days."  The PMP, when originated, was not about the test.  It was truly about differentiating yourself from the crowd and earning a sense of accomplishment in the project management industry.  Similar to my comments on Scott's blog, I know uber-talented project managers with no interest in the certification, and I know complete and utter WUHOTs who wear the PMP like a parade sash.  That's what concerns me.  I've had my PMP for 10 years now, and each time I recertify I question the value.  The pride of ownership, of use as part of my personal branding, has definitely diminished in the last decade.

One of my favorite children's books of all time is The Sneeches by Dr. Seuss.  It was originally about class warfare backfiring, but I see many of the same parallels showing up in the project management certification debate (as well as the MBA issue)... especially in hiring and staffing decisions.  Maybe PMI needs a Sylvester McMonkey McBean to show us the folly of our ways.

Thanks, Scott, for raising the issue.

What are your thoughts?

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Comments

Lucia Mancuso

Scott raises some great points... and so do you.
I remember being in school - totally paranoid about getting a good grade - and seriously - I really haven't used much in life that I learnt in school. I'd say 90% of my professional career has been self taught and I can say that it looks that way for most people I know as well. I am greatful for the things I learnt in design school- however majority of the things I do now with it I taught myself
.
I can say that school does teach you on how to be disciplined and in university multi tasking between partying, studying and all the insanity that came along with living on campus was extremely difficult.

That is why I posted about effort... I think that if their was a mandatory course in all curriculum that actually taught people how to get jobs in the real world - students would really benefit - who are we kidding - they would cram the night before stuffing everything in their short term memory so that they aced the exam.

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