Look at most job applications and they will ask for a degree. Bachelors, Masters or PhD. If you don’t have a degree, forget about applying. Imagine applying for a job as a 48 year old. One applicant has an MBA that she completed when she was 28 (i.e. 20 years ago) while the other has no degree. The MBA has a much higher chance of getting the job. Even though what they did was 20 years old.
An education is more the result of your parents than of you. The myth is that we have to get a degree. Is a year doing your own business not a better way to learn than simply being a passive student that showed up to a few lectures?
Universities used to be important. Knowledge was expensive. If you wanted to “stand on the shoulders of giants” you would go to a university which had libraries with thousands of books – something which an ordinary person could not afford access to. You had access to well read professors and could surround yourself with people with the same interests as you (accounting, finance, medicine etc…).
Along came the internet and things changed. Now the cost of distribution of books is pretty much zero. From your own bedroom you can have access to more knowledge than the libraries of the largest universities of the world. You can connect to the sharpest brains around the world from wherever you are in the niche in which you are interested in. You no longer have to move to Boston or Oxford.
The richest people in this decade didn’t complete their university degrees (Michael Dell, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Albert Einstein). The myth is that universities produce diamonds. The fact is that universities take diamonds in and push diamonds out. The fact that Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg got into Harvard meant that they were smart, ambitious people already. And from rich family backgrounds (not too many kids from Tora Bora apply to ivy league schools).
The university was the education system’s equivalent of a corporation. Ever been inside a university faculty room and you begin to notice the same games and politics being played as most corporations. What surprised me is the top business schools around the world still have financial and organizational behavior difficulties. Shouldn’t these universities practice what they preach? Everyone should love their jobs at universities, but many professors feel burdened by bureaucracy. Only a few universities are truly profitable on their own.
The good news for people around the world is that the “rebirth” of the teacher has come into age. The great religious leaders around the world were simply teachers. They taught people a way of life. They happened to be better marketers than the average Joe (or Abdulla, depending on where you are reading this) hence their message was better communicated and hundreds and thousands of years on their teachings are still followed by millions of people.
The internet enables you to begin “youism”. It enables you to teach in your little niche or your community. You don’t need to work at a big university. And the better news is that if you are posting audio, video or written content than your students can be around the world.
When I hire, I don’t look for university degrees. I look for attitude. A university meant that you were fortunate to be pushed by parents to get into a decent university which they could afford for you to pay. You could have gone their and partied hard for a few years. I meet so many people that switch off their learning after graduation. Its like getting a Ferrari but never taking it in to get serviced, or the oil changed. Sooner or later the Toyota Yaris’s on the streets will start overtaking your car. You haven’t maintained yours.
People will then talk about their 20 years of experience at job. Forgetting to tell you that its the same year repeated 20 times – not much value has been added.
I look for attitude from people that want to learn and are already spending their extra hours reading blogs such as www.sethgodin.com, www.entrepreneurs-journey.com or listening to shows such as www.mixergy.com. I know then that these people have the hunger from knowledge. They are looking to learn not simply so that they can get a few lines on their resume to let the world know at cocktail parties that they attended X prestigious school. But a thirst for knowledge that shows that they truly want to develop themselves and those around them.
The teacher as the brand will make an emergence. Teachers will become celebrities. Just as rock stars get stadium full of fans, so will teachers. I have seen Tony Robbins, essentially a teacher, with over 10,000 people at his 4 day “lectures”. In the Arab world, I saw Dr. Zaki Naik, essentially a religious teacher, with thousands of people in the crowd. Both these events were huge with devout followers and people discussing the content afterward. The world is crying out for teachers. No longer do they have to be stuck in the structure of a school where they are assigned 30 or so random students, half of whom don’t even care about the message.
Instead, the teachers can open up their content and their message to the world through the internet. In the past few days I’ve received messages from Brazilians, Mexicans and South Africans giving me feedback on what I had written. You too can be a teacher. You don’t have to teach about biology or physics but simply about life. You can start “YOUniversity” where YOU can be the only dean and professor. The amount of people you can help can be much greater than the “exclusive – you aren’t good or rich enough for us” universities that exist. That simply take people that are already doing well in life and giving them some branding to let corporations know that now they are good enough to hire.
The sharpest and the brightest people around the world are no longer at the universities – the pay simply is not that great. The sharpest and brightest are out changing the world. And now through the internet, they can teach what they are learning in the real word, rather than the bubble of academic life.