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Buying an education or buying a brand?

Seth Godin asks the question that many parents are asking each other... "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?"

Source: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/04/buying-an-education-or-buying-a-brand.html

What is your opinion on the matter? - by Jeff Blackwell
I read his article and I believe his question is rhetorical.

Obviously the answer is no. - by Gary A Boye
I know Seth Godin was taking in apprentices and trained them personally; I've read him say something like what you've quoted in that context. I'm not sure if he said this in a general context.

In my view, the benefits of a good school (even if very, very expensive) vis a vis a mediocre one are the following, in the following order of importance:

(i) The quality of students who come to that school, and the opportunity to interact with such bright students

(ii) The brand value of the school

(iii) The infrastructure & facilities available with the school

(iv) The quality of faculty.

The best investment one can make in life is in her/ his children's education. The best of the best of Star stocks can't give that kind of dividend. This is the native wisdom of Indians, which is why even poor parents would starve to give their kids the best of education.

I'll any day send my children to the best of schools investing all I can. The returns from good schools are NOT 10, NOT 100, but immeasurable times higher than your investment... at least in the Indian context.

Ganesan. - by ezynes
Hi All,
I think this depends on what your major is and what you want to do afterwards. A bachelors in nursing from Harvard is not much different than one at a public university - unless you are trying to get to a MS in anethesiology (or similar) where the competition is tough and you need the edge of graduating from a top tier school. But even then the cost of a top school will not likely justify the ROI for the expense. I think MBA programs make a good difference in where you go - specifially for the reasons Ganesan mentioned. I have an MBA from a top tier school, yet have instructed my children to go to community college for the first 1-2 years and then transfer to a public 4-yr school for thier degree. Saves a lot of money (and debt..) and thier grades may end up better due to less distraction (living at home rather than on campus) in the early years.

my 0.02 cents... - by dlytle1
I am going to take this farther than education and go down a different road

I am going to use a sports analogy for every Terry Bradshaw there are 5 Joe Montana’s. The context meaning you can find more superstars from larger schools than smaller schools. So is branding worth more. Absolutely it is worth the extra money. Ask Ryan Leaf, a bust if the branding was worth it.

I wonder what percentage of college students actually work in the field of their degree and I am not sure education is measured in the way suggested but with dollars and cents. Ten times the education would not really be the criteria to measure the school. Could they make ten times more money than the counterparts that received their degree from a lesser school? - by rich34232
I think the primary benefit of an expensive education is not the education itself, but the access that having attended the institution will give you.

The price that one pays to attend is the price to have the post graduation access to positions that would otherwise be more difficult to access without.

While the education may not be 10 times better than what you could find at a more affordable school, or even on your own, the benefit of the access may be. That benefit of access will become success and higher income only when the opportunity is met with strong ability and performance.

While there are many people with less prestigious educations that could perform as well as those with the prestigious degree, the reality is that road for them is longer and more difficult.

Having received my undergraduate degree from a school of great reputation, and then pursuing a graduate degree from a school of much less renown, I can say with some credibility that the difference in quality of education is not worth the premium, but the access may well be. - by thesalesgiant
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