Sunday, September 16, 2007

Bitten by the study bug

I always knew this would happen. Once I'd finished my second round of tertiary studies (my library grad. dip.) I was pleased as punch, and very happy to get my life back - but I still knew I'd go back to more study at some point. Maybe it's a generational thing. I've read that "our generation" tends to see study as something that you dip in and out of, rather than get out of the way early in life.

For some time now I've been vaguely interested in doing an MBA - I like management, I like planning and strategy and marketing and people management and communication and yes, even budgeting. When I think about the jobs I've loved and what I've loved about them, it's often the management aspects. So it kind of makes sense that I would consider further study in that area.

On Tuesday I went to a Postgraduate and MBA Expo at Town Hall, where a bunch of different unis were on hand to tell me all about their MBA programmes. And it was fantastic. I'm so eager. I want to start right now! I got to talk to them about workloads, I got to look at some lecture notes and assignment questions and readings and it all seemed interesting and achievable.

I'm eager to study externally. I like the freedom and because I'm ultimately a nerd I love the way you can work ahead. And I want to study with an institution that only offers the course externally, because then we're all on an even footing. When I did my grad dip externally I felt as though the course was delivered to the internal students, and there were these other people off to the side. The other advantage I noticed is that the courses that are delivered only through external study are priced accordingly - i.e. they are much cheaper. So it's become quite affordable.

I came away with a shortlist, and I think I've picked my institution - University of New England. They have good ratings, the flexibility I want, external delivery, and a decent library. It took me a moment to notice that one of the providers I was considering - Chifley Business School - didn't have a library. The rep at the expo tried to use that as a selling point - "they provide you with all the reading material you need!" - but to me that says that they're not giving graduates information seeking skills. How often in business will you get every piece of information you need delivered into your mailbox? Seems kind of unrealistic to me. So I stood up for the library, and struck them off my list.

There don't seem to be many MBAs in library land, and I'm not sure if that will work for or against me. Either I'll have an edge over other applicants for management positions, or I'll be terribly over qualified. But I have to admit that despite my recent crisis of faith being dealt with, I do like the idea of having a qualification that can be recognised outside of library land. And, oh golly, the average graduate starting salary? Ahem. Somewhat higher than that of library graduates. From a purely financial point of view, that is one fine investment.

So hooray to being a student again!

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