CEO Blues

A blog type thing


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Brad Pineau -

I took some business courses at UPEI and I came to the conclusion that Google can teach you just as much about business as school can. I totally agree with you that it's not business skills that make a company successful - it's the work done by the company that defines its success.

Rob Paterson -

I teach part time at UPEI in Business. I have come to the conclusion that we do not prepare the students for work at all. We teach finance but not bookeeping. No one has arranged a bank loan. We teach strategeic management but no one has hired, fired or dealt with a problem employee. We teach marketing but no one has ever sold anything. We teach entrepreneurship of all things and no one has had to make payroll

So as a graduate joining say the "Slice", you have no skills that you will need to help operate the business. Yoy have just spent 4 years and say 50k to know very little that will help you but of course you do have a BBA!

It is like at Hogwarts where Dolores Umbridge takes over the Defense from BLack Arts school and stops all practical work and has the kids read the text book. The kids see that this is stupid and ask Harry (Dan'"s Help) Harry's response is to teach the practical on the side.
Could we not do this?

I think that there is an opportunity to offer something better.

nathan -

The practical side can only be learned by experience. Attempting to teach practical skills in an academic setting will always fail because you'll always be one step behind what's happening in the real world. Academia is where you learn how to learn.

Peter Rukavina -

nathan, I agree. But I wonder if you can truly "learn how to learn" in academia when all the rewards are fictional. Perhaps that's where things went wrong for me: there was never enough of a connection between the paper, or purely intellectual rewards of university and the concrete rewards of real life. Once people starting <I>paying me</I> to go out and be curious on their behalf, academia couldn't compete.

Rob Paterson -

I did not say that UPEI should try this - I suggested that folks like us should and not in an academic structure. I could not agree with you both more. What about some kind of REAL APPRENTICSHIP? Not some government one?

Alan -

My paper has gotten more and more directly involved in paying off the more I get. Without my third university degree (the truth of which statement in itself would stun any number of former teachers) I would have not obtained my current position which I am thoroughly enjoying. It is, however, only now, after something like 11 years in post high school learning that I would say that this is true and take another in the full expectation of a direct benefit. And, as Nathan says, it is the combination with my own sort of common sense within a fairly narrow field which makes it work. <p>Had a number of factors of which I was not in control fallen into place, the paper and the common sense would not have made a difference. Result? I don't know if I knew in 1981 when I entered undergrad that it would take 22 years (22 years!) to get where I wanted to be whether I would do it again. Having friends closer to retirement than the start of their teaching careers, I often wonder.

nathan -

Peter, I agree, however I would replace "fictional rewards" with "personal rewards". The rewards in academia work for some people, and are very "real" to them, but not for others since it is a personal reward. At school I saw people who spent four years waiting to learn something they thought was going directly applicable to a future job. They were never happy with school and probably didn't get that much out of it. But that does not mean the system is completely wrong or broken.

I had the advantage of spending four years on both sides of the fence as member of silverorange and in a copmuter engineering program. I think that allowed me to experience the limitations of the "real" world. In fact it has shifted my view of what the real world really is.

The commercial world is limited by economics, marketing spins, public perception, technologies currently being offered by the large players in the industry, and then by your own ideas. The academic world is limited by your own ideas and the laws of physics. I realize this division and description of worlds is idealistic and there are many areas that overlap, but which of these extremes is more "real"? I'm not so sure anymore.

[An interesting aside is how the rewards of academia compare to the rewards some people get from contributing to open-source. This is discussed in this section of Homesteading the Noosphere by Eric Raymond (Part of the The Cathedral and the Bazaar series of essays)]