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April 17, 2011

Buying an education or buying a brand?

I found the following article on Seth Godin’s blog and thought it was a valuable talking point. South African students might be getting themselves into the same predicament.

It’s reported that student debt in the USA is approaching a trillion dollars, five times what it was ten years ago.

Seth Godin's BlogAre those in debt buying more education or are they seeking better branding in the form of coveted diplomas?

Does a $40,000 a year education that comes with an elite degree deliver ten times the education of a cheaper but no less rigorous self-generated approach assembled from less famous institutions and free or inexpensive resources?

If not, then the money is actually being spent on the value of the degree, on the doors it will open and the jobs it will snag. If this marketing strategy works big, it pays for itself in no time.

A marketing tactic might move the dial, but that doesn’t mean it’s always worth the money.

The question is whether a trillion dollars is the right amount for individuals to spend marketing themselves. What would happen if people spent it building up a work history instead? On becoming smarter, more flexible, more self-sufficient and yes, able to take more risk because they owe less money…

There’s no doubt that we need smarter and more motivated people in our organizations. I’m not sure we need them to be better labeled or more accredited.

Jacques de Villiers is a motivational business speaker and writer.

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