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Are You Ready To Go Back To School- Seriously

Graduation, conceptual image

One of the most dangerous enemies of successful careers today is a university degree. Worse still, an MBA. Madness? Maybe not. Read on.

Now please- stay calm! I am a huge believer in tertiary education. It teaches us many life and career skills beyond the course content. And of course MBAs and degrees have a powerful role. But here’s the problem.

Many professionals rest on the laurels of a degree earned years ago. Their commitment to formal education is over. Now it’s all about ‘on the job’ training, and fine-tuning skills in the trench warfare of their industries. That’s useful learning, but it’s not enough. Here’s a much better idea to stay relevant, and a value-adder:

Commit to doing a ‘Nano Degree’- every year

Bit of context, and then I’ll explain it. Now is the time for every ambitious professional to make a renewed commitment to ‘education.’

It’s time for all of us to go back to school. And to accept that education has to be part of our lives for the rest of our careers.

We all know the pace of change is fast, relentless and inevitable. As a result, there is just no way our knowledge and relevance is not going to be compromised by innovation and newness. To counter this, we have to get brilliant at what Tony Robbins calls ’the most important skill to master in this day and age…. the ability to learn rapidly.’

My friend Ryan is a brilliant entrepreneurial leader in the education sector. He talks about wanting to create a ‘Nano Degree.’ It’s basically a never-ending degree. Every year the professional commits to say two units of new learning- on stuff just invented or just evolving. Companies commit to providing this degree to staff. It becomes part of their DNA. “Don’t spend $30,000 on an MBA,” he says. “Rather, spend $2,000 a year for 15 years learning what you need to know now or at that moment in time.” Makes massive sense to me.

Here’s an example.

I’m a leader in the communications industry. If I was signed up to this Nano Degree, I’d be selecting these two units this year: a) Virtual Reality, and b) Facebook- its strategy, future and implications. Those are the two burning issues I need to ‘learn rapidly’ more about to stay current in what I do. Oh, and maybe a third never-ending unit on Mobile, Mobile, Mobile and Mobile.

And next year? Who knows? What I need to learn then to stay at the edge of my industry will become apparent. It hasn’t become a burning issue yet. Give it another 12 months and it will be screaming out to me.

Now, these Nano Degrees don’t exist yet. Perhaps they never will. It’s the concept that counts. There are plenty of options available for you to take that approach now- but ‘do it yourself.’ Find courses, lectures, seminars, workshops. Search out the books, presentations. TED Talks, conferences. Find mentors. Be the CEO of your own on-going commitment to education.

Here’s the thing. If we don’t get cracking in keeping pace with new learning, we will quickly be over-taken by those who are being brought up with the stuff we don’t know.

Change the game. Commit to your own Nano Degree- the continual quest for education and new learning which will keep your career thriving for as long as you want it to.

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9 Responses to Are You Ready To Go Back To School- Seriously

  1. Henry July 26, 2016 at 5:22 pm #

    ‘Be the CEO of your own ongoing commitment to education’…sage advice, thanks Chris!

    • Chris Savage July 26, 2016 at 10:54 pm #

      Thanks Henry. Chris

  2. Suzie Batten July 27, 2016 at 10:39 am #

    Great advice thanks Chris, very motivating!

    • Chris Savage July 27, 2016 at 11:31 am #

      Thanks Suzie!

  3. Richard de Crespigny July 27, 2016 at 10:50 am #

    I agree Chris. We must all commit to a lifetime of learning.

    • Chris Savage July 27, 2016 at 11:32 am #

      Thanks Richard! Chris

  4. Bill Bremer July 28, 2016 at 2:21 am #

    A well-respected educator acquaintance of mine espouses the same concept. To him the very definition of the word education is “life-long learning.” It not only makes excellent business sense, but also enables you to wring more pleasure out of your life on a daily basis. Thanks for articulating it so well, Chris!

    • Chris Savage July 28, 2016 at 10:29 pm #

      Thanks Bill!!

  5. George Garrop July 31, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

    Hi Chris,
    Great post, and let me be upfront and say I am in the education game.
    There are 3 quality providers of very short courses, online, today. Udemy, Lynda and Typsy. They are good quality, short and cheap.
    Where I work (Torrens University) we are developing bite sized chunks of learning which would occur on a lifetime basis and would build into a qualification over time. The biggest challenge is regulatory.
    But it’s coming. You and I have discussed the new work paradigm, where a new worker will have 10 jobs in 30 years and retrain every second job. My view, my assessment of the new world. No study, but by the time a study is completed it is out of date. Time for a coffee Chris and more discussion. Best, George

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