I have been realizing something lately that I wanted to bring to this thread. I work with a good handfull of people who are from various countries and most of them have graduate degrees. They don't have MBA, JD, or any of those specialized career degrees, they just have largely academic degrees realted to the industry. Now what we do at work has a very technical side, but it is also a business that requires intelligent deisions to be made about the company as a whole. I have found that people with these more academic degrees are more into "learning" then they are actually doing their job and thinking about how their job applies to the big picture of the company.
Let me give you an example, we have had two new people come into the group over the last year, both from two different countries, educated abroad and went to grad school at ivy leagues here in the US. This one guy, let's call him Tom is always proposing we go on these trips to seminars to learn about different issues. Mind you these trips are always far, like other states we would need to take a plane to far. Despite our company being very conservative and not willing to ever send anybody anywhere without damn good reason I asked him how could the cost of sending our group to a economic seminar across the country make you do your job so much better as to recoop that cost and turn a profit? He gives some hokey reason like, it can keep us in contact with people in the industry in different areas of the country and to network. There have been other times at meetings he has brought up going to seminars on things, which is all good and fine for general industry knowledge, but I can't see how any of it could make this guy's performance at his job any better. Mind you, he is lazy. He also likes to send out news articles to the entire group on all kinds of happenings that while some people might find them interesting are rather pointless to our daily work.
This other guy, lets call him Bob. Bob is newer than Tom also from another country with a higher degree. Both of them were put on a team with me to come up with a list of training classes that we felt our department could use to help us with our jobs. Needless to say they buddy up and are talking about taking all of these software courses, and seminars across the country. I have to say to them guys stop dreaming. If you want to learn about all of this broad crap go back to school, none of this is going to help you on a daily basis and the company is not going to give you the money to do any of this. If you enjoy this enough you are free to do it on your own time. Again, they give me these really big stretched ideas about how it would help. Bob doesn't do much either.
These are only two recent examples, but all in all my point is people that I work with with MBA's generally think about the company in the industry and help make real managerial decisions that have defined goals. A lot of these "academics" just don't get it. They seem to just want to learn about things and don't understand a business. It can be very asinine to work with because their input and their work sometimes is just not very useful to the business. I mean we know of these lifelong academics who don't ever really want to work so they just stay in school. I think in a lot of these cases these people end up in jobs where they do half-assed work because they don't like it, or the enviornment doesn't suit them. I think it is really important to know what you want when you are going into school. I want to learn, I have interests, but I don't expect the company to pay me to explore my greater interests about the industry if it is not going to result in some quantifiable benefit.
Ok, my rant is done.