This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

January 18, 2000

Whither Education? Part 4: Home Schooling on the Rise

348 days until January 1, 2001

Graduate school education is at risk. Students are questioning the value of the masters degree, particularly when the labor market is crying for them to get to work already. High tech companies, particularly the growing internet start-ups, are actively recruiting on campuses across the country. A number of these companies are deliberately bypassing the traditional college placement offices to go right to the students themselves. Wise move on their part: the placement folks want to get jobs for graduates, not for current students that will drop out to pursue their careers.

While enriched academic exposure is certainly valuable in the grand scheme of life, the new drive is for practical, current knowledge. Graduate students are rebelling against being fed the same old stuff that professors dished out ten, five, or even two years ago. They want to concentrate on the leading edge, what's-happening-now knowledge that will enable them to compete more vigorously in the world of work. As these students realize that they'll really be in control of their own careers, they're hungry for the kind of education-and training-that will keep them highly marketable. They want to be able to write their own ticket, and learning out-of-date material won't give them that power.

MBA students are already challenging their professors more aggressively. They expect their instructors to be very current, preferably leading edge. In most schools, the students don't believe that's the case. Alternatively, grad students will ask-demand-that today's captains of industry-and e-industry-be brought in as speakers and resources.

The traditional on-campus time will also be up for challenge. In our digital world, why can't more instruction be done through the internet? Live classes can be conducted on-line, enabling grad students to take a class break from their real-world jobs to keep learning. Watch for more on-line universities to be accredited in the next few years. We expect to see more flexible course scheduling, internships, and coop relationships established. The links between the campus and the world of work will become stronger, enhancing the value of academic, corporate, and individual benefits.

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