The new valuation for higher education

“No. You don’t understand. It’s a masters degree. It will make you so much more employable.” The old man who didn’t appear to be purchasing anything was making his case to the young woman behind the counter. She didn’t appear to be buying it. I moved closer so I could hear more.

He continued to tell her about the benefits of additional education. He was emphatic and adamant. I left before he finished.

As I walked back to the conference I thought about what he said. It resonated with me because at one time I thought the same thing. But, it’s different now. The narrative of additional education used to ring like a tuning fork, and now it sounds like a gong hit on a kids drum set – plastic and hollow.

For the first time in forever I am second-guessing the value of additional formal education. It’s expensive, the content is often out of date within a few years, and the whole thing is being sidelined by technology that is changing access to skill and knowledge.

In short, the value equation is changing.

What will matter in the future workplace is not where you went to school or what you studied, but what you are able to do. Your ability to learn, to run teams, to experiment, to think creatively, to flex, to produce. That matters and now it matters more.

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership

Published on June 10, 2019

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