The recent mess in the Faculty of Business that has resulted in the suspension of five professors is shocking for the high-profile nature of the situation, while simultaneously being unsurprising for the issue that it’s over. The hostile work environment described in the documents that have been released so far concerns differing opinions over who is worthy of tenure and leadership positions: those with doctorate degrees or those without – but with extensive industry experience.

The faculty feud is indicative of two things: one, that bullying, infighting and plotting are not left behind at high school graduation; and two, that the debate between higher education and work experience is not over, and is worth revisiting.

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As upper-year students begin submitting their applications to Masters programs, post-grad college programs, second degree programs and continuing education, questioning – in our personal lives – what the DeGroote professors questioned becomes an important conversation to have with ourselves.

With the job market becoming ever more competitive, many students are turning to post-grad studies as the inevitable next step. Friends of mine in this position are either uncertain about what they want to do so they figure more schooling will give them answers, or they know what they want to do but are convinced competition is too fierce to get anywhere without more education. Maybe this is an appropriate approach. But maybe it’s not.

As I begin to search for jobs for when my time here comes to an end, I’m repeatedly reading about the amount of years in the field that companies are looking for. A degree, from a variety of potential programs, is required – but it’s not the emphasis and it’s non-specific.

I’m currently trying to decide if I ought to go back to school – do a post-grad college certificate and amp up my credentials – or just try to directly enter the working world. If the turmoil in DeGroote can be any lesson to me, perhaps I should just try my luck with finding a job and focus on industry experience rather than more years of theoretical knowledge.

Easier said than done, of course, when you need experience to get a job and you need a job to get experience. Still, perhaps more students will start choosing job experience to precede their names, rather than more letters to go behind them.



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