I am 36 yrs old with only a couple of college credits. I wasn't prepared for college (I was too interested in partying) right out of high school and have gotten some outstanding sales/technical/management experience over the past 17yrs. I had dinner with my Director the other night. I value that type of one on one time with someone that i consider to be my #1 fan and #1 internal champion. He said that I probably had one more step up before having a college degree would make or break a hiring decision. I'm ready.

My questions are:

1. Since I am doing this mainly for credentials would I benefit just as much by using an online only type curriculum such as University of Phoenix or do I need to accept the fact that I will have to attend local colleges (some great ones nearby - U of Richmond, VCU, Randolph Macon, etc)? I'm married with 2 little girls so either route is going to take some time away from them but at the end of the day, it will be in the best interest of my whole family for me to do this.

2. If you are a VP/President of a company are reviewing my resume does it matter where my degree is from given the amount of real-world experience that I do have? (i.e., University of Phoenix vs. University of Richmond). I don't want to take the time to do this and then be embarrassed to put Univ of Phoenix on my resume...


MattJBeckwith's picture

Yahtzee, I'm not sure about your industry but when I review resumes for management candidates, education is not the first thing I look for... nor is it necessarily a deal-breaker. I always ask candidates what they learned in college and if how they believe having a degree (or not having one if that's the case) affected their employability.

I think having practical work experience along with a degree is strong but you would need to articulate why you felt your degree made you a strong candidate.

My opinion? All things else being equal, Univ. of Phoenix or Univ. of Richmond... either one. I'm going to hire a candidate for who he is, not what school he went to.

I happen to be a huge fan of the non-traditional schools like Univ of Phoenix and Nat'l University and I see a lot of strong candidates from there.

Also my humble opinion... I would rather hire someone who worked for 10 years and then got a degree than someone who got a degree and then worked for 10 years... all things being equal.

bren811's picture

I'm in Australia so I'm sure there are differences in the systems, but:

*I'm studying for my MBA externally - all done online, from home, just have to go in for exams, and they arrange for me to do that a local campus. The degree I finish with is identical to what I would get if I attended classes. The quality of education is as good as the effort I want to put in.

*Straight out of school vs after 10 years experience? No contest - I learned more in the first 6 months of my MBA, while working as a manager, than I did in 6 years of University straight out of school. I think most employers would value experience over credentials.

bflynn's picture

Maybe I'm the minority, but a remote degree does not get me turning cartwheels.

I'm glad to see someone take the initiative to learn. However, my experience with remote courses first hand has been that they're lacking in completeness and rigor. Of the three I've taken personally, I have not felt any were up to par with a classroom course. Because of that, I downgrade any degree earned outside the classroom.

A recent statistic I saw reported that the percentage of corporate recruiters who treated online and classroom as equal was "way up" to 41%. Its still less than half, so if you're OK with that, go for it.


Mark's picture

Later in one's career, the caliber of the degree-granting institution rightly loses cachet, or more precisely, translation into commercial value. This is a function of the "experience" of college, and the period of one's life in which it normally occurs. Moral, physical, and spiritual maturation are all part of gaining one's independence while "in college" around 20 years into one's life. Certain colleges - often due to beliefs of those who went there and are now recruiting from there - do this better than others, and thus are considered more valuable recruiting grounds. Agree or disagree,

Later in life, the confluence of forces that create the unique value of Harvard or Cal Tech are GREATLY attenuated. But if you interview with a top school alum, THAT connection will get you $5k. (Please - accept some humor to make a point about value as an opinion versus a fact in the marketplace.)

Nevertheless, please remember David Ogilvy's remark: "Consumers are statistics. Customers are people." YOUR experience is NOT going to mirror market trends exactly. That 41% number is worthless, as you will not ever work with 41% of the market... you will work with a recruiter, who is on one side or the other of the equation.

Univ of Phoenix is a great way to go for you. LOTS of senior people have your background, and NONE of them that I know of go back to a 'cachet' school.

If you can take courses at Richmond to supplement UP, great - do so. More is better. Betcha you can't discern an enormous value proposition differential....

No VP I know of who would interview you would make a big distinction once they do the math (and they WILL double-clutch, and THEN see what happened) that you have JUST gotten your degree.

Work trumps school for the rest of your days. And family trumps both.


yahtzee's picture

I appreciate all of the replies....I just dont want to put alot of effort into this and then regret where I went to school. I am not hearing alot of good things about online schools in general (especially, U of P). I'll keep digging around.


TomW's picture

[quote="yahtzee"]I appreciate all of the replies....I just dont want to put alot of effort into this and then regret where I went to school. I am not hearing alot of good things about online schools in general (especially, U of P). I'll keep digging around.


I'm about a year away from graduating from Kaplan University Online with a BS in Information Technology. The reason I picked their program is because it was heavy in management and communications courses. It was really geared toward managing people in the technology field. I often joked I was in school so I could be qualified to do what I already do.

If you have any specific questions that you don't want to fill up the public thread, feel free to Private Message me.