“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” — Benjamin Franklin

I am proud to share that San Diego, California based National University​, where I have taught undergraduate communication and MBA marketing courses since 2009 (both online and on-campus), was recently ranked 47th by Online MBA Today! The MBA program is profiled as follows:

“The School of Business and Management at National University features an online Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing.

This 100% online MBA is based on five pillars of education the school prioritizes from the direction of its administration. The themes valued and taught include Relevance, Accessibility and Support, Specialization, Application, and Technology.

This degree is divided between 63 quarter units of graduate credit and is priced at $416 per quarter unit making the total cost of tuition $26,208. The four courses required for the Marketing concentration include Consumer Behavior, Global Marketing, Market Research, and Strategic Marketing Simulation.

Qualified students can complete this degree with a minimum course load of 16 courses and 63 quarter units while students lacking the required academic experience can expect to take up to 19 courses and be responsible for up to 76.5 quarter units.”

You can learn more about the MBA program here and watch a short video about the value of the degree from Dr. David W. Andrews, President of National University below:

Apple-for-the-TeacherSteve Jobs serves as a reminder that, sometimes, passionately pursuing your dreams — not a formal degree — is the secret to success as an entrepreneur.

Likewise, a Wall Street Journal article questions the value of an MBA degree at startups — both the knowledge acquired and the cachet of the degree itself. The article introduces General Assembly and Starter School; both focus on action over excessive ideation — similar to educational innovators like Khan Academy, Team Treehouse, and Code Academy:

  • Offering courses in web development and user experience design, business fundamentals, data science, product management and digital marketing, General Assembly is as a “full-time immersive programs, long-form courses, and classes and workshops on the most relevant skills of the 21st century.”
  • Teaching people how to build software and start companies, Starter School focuses on learning by doing, emphasizing practical skills in three intense phases over 9 months.

Each program (and others similar to them) offer a simplified curriculum without the formality of a traditional degree. They’re designed to give attendees enough information to get an idea going without impeding their progress.

In a time when the median cost of a four-year degree at a public institution has risen to $16,000 per year, even people who aren’t business majors are finding themselves performing a cost/benefit analysis when it comes to higher education.

But, maybe these programs are irresponsibly encouraging acting on ideas without first thinking things through? Consider this Wired article warning that the ‘failure’ culture of startups is killing innovation. Despite  Jobs’ achievements with Apple, an MBA is still a tremendous value to individuals with entrepreneurial aspirations — present company included.

Receiving my
Receiving my “Outstanding MBA Scholarship” award at Woodbury University (May 7, 2005).

On this date in 2002, I took the first step towards earning my MBA at Woodbury University. I found tremendous value in my MBA program, learning a great deal about running a business and discovering a new career path into teaching.

In my experience with startups or businesses operating with that mindset, I’ve found that they don’t necessarily value an MBA. Most startups are focused on producing “results” even if those results are rushed and need to be reworked later.

Conversely, earning my MBA taught me the value of “measuring twice and cutting once” which results in a more methodological approach.  This doesn’t always fit with the startup way of work that often values quantity over quality, usually in an effort to impress investors.

That’s not say an advanced degree holds no value in a startup, but there is no guarantee that it will. But, in my opinion, education is always a worthwhile investment, as long as you are willing to invest the effort to maximize its return.

Antioch University Santa BarbaraOn Valentine’s Day most people receive flowers, chocolates or other gifts. I received an opportunity to speak at Antioch University on behalf of their new MBA Program in Social Business, Non-Profit Management, and Strategic Leadership.

Antioch’s MBA program will provide students with an understanding of the importance of social responsibility and stewardship. These are vital components of leadership, and will assist in meeting challenges of the future. Through a flexible Integrative Strategy Project students will explore leadership issues in social enterprises, non-profits, and traditional businesses.

Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action

Mirroring the “Golden Circle” concept suggested by Simon Sinek (who is mentioned in the presentation) three questions are asked and answered in this presentation:

1. Why should a non-profit “like” social media?

2. How can a non-profit leverage social media?

3. What is social media’s impact on fundraising?

Below is a 13 minute video of my presentation.

In addition, the presentation provides tips, tricks, and current statistics you can use when marketing your non-profit with social media. I invite you to review it and welcome your feedback and any additional information or insight you’d like to share.

One of my goals as an adjunct instructor — and reasons for this blog — is to share the pedagogical and professional knowledge I’ve gained through my experiences.

To that end, I have blogged about celebrating my fifth year as an adjunct instructor and how I began my career in academia — along with insights into using social media to find a job.

As we approach the start of a new year — and now that it’s clear the Mayans were, in fact, wrong about the end of the world — many of you might be curious about starting a new career as an adjunct instructor.

This blog post is designed to help you understand your options and leverage resources so you can do just that. To help you achieve your goal of becoming an adjunct instructor, I’d like to introduce you to Dr. Dani Babb.

An author, professor, and TV commentator, Dani is the Founder and CEO of The Babb Group, a provider of  resources and consulting for online professors, business owners and real estate investors.

Her website, TheBabbGroup.com offers an array of  resources for online students and online teacherscurriculum vitae templates, professional CV writing services, an online teaching newsletter, and more.

One very helpful resource is a service that distributes monthly online teaching job leads via email. For $7 a month or $75 for a year (paid via PayPal) subscribers receive leads several times per week.

Each lead includes the name of the school, the area of specialization, and the link or contact info to apply. All leads are verified by the Babb Group and you can cancel at anytime.

According to information provided to me by Dani, the emails are a successful job search strategy:

  • Within Six Months:
    • 88% of subscribers with a doctorate degree find a job.
    • 55% of subscribers with a master’s degree find a job.
  • Within One Year:
    • 94% of subscribers with a doctorate degree find a job.
    • 77% of subscribers with a master’s degree find a job.

Additionally, in the video below, Dani shares the most frequently asked questions about getting your first online teaching job:

In summary, her advice (along with some of my additional insights) is to:

  1. Network with Online Teachers (0:21): The Babb Group manages two resources, a Facebook Group and a Yahoo Group, which are tools you can use to develop relationships with more than 6,500 online teachers. Another resource is the Chronicle of Higher Education Forums.
  2. Prepare Your Curriculum Vita (0:45): Unlike a typical professional resume an academic curriculum vita — commonly called a CV —  is a comprehensive accounting of your entire career. A CV should include your work history, education, special training, honors, publications, presentations, community service, and other related information. Write as many pages as is needed to communicate your experience, abilities, and interests.
  3. Strengthen Your Letter of Introduction (1:19): Summarize your strengths in a way that is relevant to the opportunity, highlighting areas of your expertise that position you as the perfect candidate. Be sure to include your letter in the body of your email (don’t attach it).
  4. Research the School and Position (1:31)If you are working from a canned introductory letter, research specific points about the school and include those. Know about the position along with the school, its students, and its educational approach.
  5. Think of Related Experience (1:42): If you have never before taught online think about ways you have experience educating adults. Have you helped others understand a new technology where you work? Have you guest lectured? Have you been an online student? Don’t overlook any angle you can use to illustrate relevant experience.
  6. List the Learning Management Systems You’ve Used (2:11): Include clearly in your CV a list of all learning management systems (LMS) you have used — as a student and instructor.
  7. Disregard Doctoral Degree Requirements (2:26): Even if a position requires a doctorate and you have a master’s degree apply anyway; you might satisfy the position’s requirements in other ways or there may be another position open at the university for which you are qualified.
  8. Be Persistent (2:36): Getting a job teaching online is a numbers game. The market is highly competitive, and there are more online adjuncts today than ever before. Persistence pays off, however: sometimes it can take more than 100 applications to get your first online teaching job.
  9. Use a Job Lead Service (3:00): If you don’t have the time to hunt for jobs, consider using the Babb Group’s service that distributes monthly online teaching job leads via email (described above).
  10. Have Transcripts and Recommendations Ready (3:10): Have transcripts and letters of recommendations ready when  human resources or a dean calls; demonstrate your responsiveness and responsibility with actions!

In conclusion, as Dani explains in her video, even if you’ve never taught online, there’s no time like the present to start. We’ve all had no experience at one point, so why not start your online teaching experience now?

Sometimes music makes the moment.

If you’ve ever earned a degree you have most likely celebrated your achievement by parading to the music of a rousing march while dressed in a cap and gown en route to your waiting diploma. But, what is that march called? Today’s Music Monday explores and answers this for you.

The march you almost always hear is one part of a series of marches composed by Sir Edward Elgar that is most commonly referred to as “Pomp and Circumstance.” More specifically, the “Trio” portion of Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D (also known as “Land of Hope and Glory“) is the part of the composition to which graduates traditionally march.

Video of Elgar conducting a performance of it follows:

Why did I feature this piece today? For starters, this is the time of year when graduates celebrate their achievements by enduring commencement speeches of often questionable candor.

I also chose this piece because on May 7, 2005 I participated in graduation ceremonies for my MBA program at Woodbury University in Burbank, CA (although I completed the coursework in August 2005).

Matthew A. Gilbert, MBA -- Graduation Ceremony with then Woodbury University President Dr. Kenneth NielsenNotably, while earning my MBA at Woodbury University I also received the “Outstanding MBA Scholarship” award in the process.

My time at Woodbury was incredibly formative — equal to if not more so than my undergrad years at UC Santa Barbara — because experiences in and out of the classroom compelled me towards my current career as an educator.

Despite being one of the oldest business programs in Los Angeles (Woodbury was founded in 1884 as Woodbury Business College) it is lesser known than other Southern California schools. But I believe there is sometimes strength in smaller stature.

Case in point: my experience as a bigger fish in a smaller pond was one I could have never experienced at a larger school. And, I believe, it was precisely because of my more personalized engagement with professors that I took the first steps necessary to get where I am today.

Specifically, it was due to the direction of Satinder Dhiman, Ph.D., Ed.D. — a Professor of Management and Accounting, Associate Dean of Business, and MBA Program Chair — that I submitted my first academic paper to a conference.

The paper, “Intranets: Catalysts for Improved Organizational Communication,” was accepted by the International Academy of Business Disciplines (IABD) and was published in Vol. X (pp. 221-225) of the organization’s Business Research Yearbook.

Over time I would go on to attend nine such conferences and publish eleven papers! I look forward to future opportunities to publish and present.

Through my participation in these important events I perfected my presentation style and learned about the inner workings of academia. I remain friends with many people I first met at academic conferences and treasure the relationships I share with these unique individuals.

Given my experience, I encourage those of you evaluating educational programs to first consider your goals in enrolling and, second, the overall experience you might enjoy. Don’t buy on brand name alone so to speak — consider the holistic education you will receive during your matriculation.

One of the most important lessons I have learned about learning is that it is often less important what school you went to than it is what you got out of that experience and how you applied the knowledge you gained after graduating. Often the School of Hard Knocks is the best teacher of them all — Steve Jobs is proof of that!

At the same time, wherever you go, consider a degree that is universally recognized and understood — or one that is at least directly related to your reasons for having pursued higher education. That is one of the reasons I chose an MBA program and not others that I was considering.

In closing, for those of you graduating this year I congratulate you. For those of you just beginning your journey I applaud you.  And, for those about to rock, I salute you!

On Saturday, September 2, 2006 I “officially” enrolled in my second career: teaching. It was on that date that I taught — of all subjects — my first traffic school class! Crammed with 40 students into the meeting room of a motel in Woodland Hills, CA without working air conditioning on a 100+ degree day —  it was almost literally trial by fire!

After Teaching a Public Speaking Class at National University in Los Angeles, CA (10/29/2010)In the five years that followed I have matured immeasurably as an instructor and managed to forge my own path into the world of academia. I now teach a variety of on-line and on-campus marketing, management, communication and writing classes (in addition to the occasional traffic school class).

The schools for which I now teach include UC Santa Barbara (Extension), UCLA (Extension), National University, Strayer University, and Axia College of University of Phoenix.

While teaching at these (and other) schools, I’ve had the privilege of learning with students from countries including Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Kuwait,  Mexico, Mongolia, Nigeria, Norway, Paraguay, Russia, Spain, Taiwain, the Philippines, and Turkey.

For those of you curious about how I have found my way to teaching opportunities, my most common methods are through personal referrals, social media relationships, postings in the Education/Teaching Jobs section of Craigslist, HigherEdJobs.com and the jobs section of the Chronicle of Higher Education website.

Although I am dedicated to continually improving, I am confident in my abilities to create curriculum, inspire my students and manage a classroom. My students respond positively to my methods and I appreciate their consistently positive reviews. I’ve also become quite adept at driving all over Southern California to teach! On a related note, I am grateful for having taught traffic school: it helped me develop a casual, yet professional style in my classes.

Feeling Content Before Teaching a Class at DeVry University in Bakersfield, CA (1/27/2009)Numerically speaking, by my estimation, I have taught more than 150 classes (roughly 115 college level classes and 39 traffic school classes) and have learned with approximately 2,200 students! I am honored to have shared a learning experience with so many students and look forward to the individuals with whom I will have an opportunity to learn in the next five years!

Speaking of which, as a lifelong learner, I embrace Søren Kierkegaard’s idea that “to be a teacher in the right sense is to be a learner.” I join with my students on a journey towards generative learning which, according to Peter Senge, “enhances our capacity to create.” Learning generatively connects existing knowledge about a subject with emerging ideas about it, resulting in a more personalized understanding. In a classroom, a generative learning approach encourages students to individually engage material rather than passively listen to lectures.

It is for this reason that I am motivated by the motto “semper discens, semper faciens,” which translates to “learn continuously, live generatively.” To help my students learn generatively, I avoid assignments that require repetition of information in deference to papers, presentations and projects that provide a platform with which they can confront personal or professional issues. When possible, I customize curriculum to meet the needs of each class and am responsive to change throughout the term.

Acting as a “guide on the side” and not a “sage on the stage,” I combine learning with laughter and encourage students to pursue their individual ideas. Having taught students of various ages, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds, I am especially sensitive to the diverse challenges with which my students might be contending. Considering this, I believe an educational environment should encourage students to compete with themselves, not with each other. Learning should create community, not competition. When one of us succeeds, all of us succeed.

After Teaching a Marketing Class at UC Santa Barbara (10/28/2010)Interdisciplinary by nature, I teach courses in business, communication, English, technology and traffic safety. While each discipline is distinct, I consider their common intersection with humanity, technology and industry. I often include elements of one or more of them in every class, regardless of its primary focus. I encourage my students to shatter preconceptions and create meaningful knowledge.

In summary, although it can be as challenging as it is rewarding, teaching allows me to help shape the lives of others while giving my life greater meaning.

Just a few hours after I took this picture on April 14, 2009 events transpired that would forever change my life.Two years ago yesterday I posted my last blog post.  A week later, I found myself (to paraphrase Buddy Holly) “learning the game.” A month later, an unexpected discovery revealed I was the one who had been gamed.

Without revealing too many details, this discovery delivered an exceptionally financially and emotionally expensive education on all sorts of dichotomies:

  • conditional love vs. unconditional love
  • co-parenting vs. parental alienation
  • espoused ethics vs. ethics-in-use
  • fact vs. fiction
  • faithful friendships vs. false friendships
  • honesty vs. dishonesty
  • legal ethics vs. legal procedures
  • moral certainty vs. moral relativism

I had previously assumed the events and behaviors I witnessed only happened in Desperate Housewives, LA LawLifetime Movie Network films, soap operas and The Twilight Zone. While you’re at it throw in some Benny Hill Show and Beverly Hills, 90210.

Despite my natural inclination to find the humor in my recent adventures, there is a very serious tone to it all. Given my profession as a teacher and trainer, these past two years have revealed to me an important nugget of knowledge that I express as follows:

‎”The toughest, but truest lessons we learn don’t come from a book; they come from the people, places, and predicaments in our lives.”

Sometimes those lessons involve heartache and sleepless nights, but hopefully we emerge as more complete individuals. Trying times can reveal the worst of people, yet they can also reveal the benevolence of others. It quickly becomes clear who you can trust and who really cares about you when you are in your time of greatest need.

I am endeavoring to move forward from my experience and leave behind me the distractions and drama that filled the past two years of my life.

With storm clouds clearing, I am looking ahead to a positive new future on a wide open ride of life! While I won’t use the word grateful, I do feel that these past two years helped me to grow and mature in ways that would not have happened otherwise. My recent experience  is a tool with which I will build an exceptional new life.

I will also remain deeply involved with the two most important parts of my past life who are also the center of my present and future life: my sons Jacob and Max.

On a practical level, my “enrollment” in this endeavor has prevented me from updating this blog as frequently as I would have liked while also impacting my plans to pursue a PhD as I had originally planned.

I am reminded of the following words by Langston Hughes:

“What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore– And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over– like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?”

I refuse to let my PhD dream “dry up, fester, stink, get crusty, sag or explode.” Quite the opposite: once the dust settles I will focus forward on a doctoral program that will provide me with the skills to produce research while ensuring my success as college professor

Likewise, I will begin posting to this blog again.  It might take a few posts to get the rust out but I look forward to once again actively engaging in an educational and informational dialog.

Onward and upward!

Last week, after posting my last blog entry about Sir Ken Robinson’s riveting 2006 TED speech, I added a link to it from my LinkedIn profile status update, asking the question “Do schools kill creativity? Yes, says Sir Ken Robinson in his 2006 TED Talk!”

I didn’t think much of my decision to do so as I’ve been using my LinkedIn profile and my Facebook account to cross-promote my blog entries for quite some time. Additionally my most recent blog posts also display on my LinkedIn profile (as will this one). I typically receive a few comments on Facebook, but very few, if any, on LinkedIn.

This would be the case no longer.

Looking In from the Outside -- From 365 Days: 4/365 (December 4, 2008)After one positive comment from a colleague within my LinkedIn network, I soon found myself engaged in an unexpected, yet interesting electronic exchange about creativity versus innovation with another colleague.

His essential argument was creativity which does not result in a tangible good or service for which people will pay money is wasteful and void of value.

Further, he added society does not pay for the creative process, but the result of that process.

My counterargument was creativity is the foundation of innovation, that ideation without implementation is another word for brainstorming: an essential, though admittedly inefficient process.

What’s more, I argued the possibility of commoditization should not be the only indicator of value: a society worth living in should value ideas and reward creative thought. Notably, I found myself heretically disagreeing with management guru Peter F. Drucker’s canonical thoughts on the matter.

I’ve included a transcript of the exchange below, but I removed the name of the person with whom I had the conversation out of respect for his privacy (however, if you are in my LinkedIn network I presume it is something to which you have access):

Colleague: Sir Ken is great, but people aren’t paid to be Creative. Innovative, perhaps. The latter is operational; it includes implementation skills.

Me: Certainly the best ideas should be actionable. But can you have innovation w/o creativity?

Me: In a recent interview Guy Kawasaki talked about “ideas vs. action” as related to luck. I blogged about it: http://bit.ly/GoLuckYourself

Colleague: That’s my point. The obverse, that you can have creativity w/o innovation/implementation, is the concern.

Me: A valid concern, but re: ROI/measurement could it be argued that creativity indirectly leads to innovation by stimulating thinking?

Me: I suppose you don’t want to encourage aimlessness or hinder potential (w/ a BA in English and an MBA I see both sides).

Colleague: Everybody loves creative kids, but generally creative adults are misfits. Read Peter F. Drucker on “The Fallacy of Creativity.”

Me: But it is usually the misfits who make the biggest mark and through their rejection of assimilation render real innovation.

Me: Drucker says “creativity is no substitute for analysis and knowledge,” but I counter that creativity combines analysis and knowledge.

Colleague: Society doesn’t pay for (creative) process, it pays for contribution, for results. Process w/o results=waste.

Colleague: Matthew, I’m outta here! Have to create some clients!

Me: A society worth living in values ideas and rewards creative thought. Not everything can be commoditized.

Me: Process w/o results=brainstorming (which eventually leads to an idea that can be implemented).

Me: Thanks for the engaging discourse!

I appreciated this unique opportunity to engage in a spirited debate on LinkedIn. Ironically, one day earlier, I had espoused on Twitter that I often find myself unsure how to leverage LinkedIn because it seems to be the most formal and least interactive of all social media platforms I use.

How perfectly timed was this exchange to disprove my earlier assumption?! Coincidentally, I’ve been making efforts to participate more in the groups to which I belong and to add comments to the status updates of my colleagues.

In reviewing the exchange above, I realize there are some similarities between my colleagues thoughts and those communicated by Guy Kawasaki in my earlier blog post to which I referred my colleague. Specifically consider this passage:

“At the beginning of my career I used to think that the idea is the key, and once you get a good idea, implementation is easy. Now, I’m at the end of my career and I believe the exactly the opposite: I think good ideas are easy and implementation is hard.”

From that perspective I see my colleagues point: you can have all the ideas in the world, but until you do something with them or about them do those ideas really matter? In other words, you can think about doing something all day long, but until you actually do it, have you achieved your goal?

Yet, I also question how you can contribute without having invested time into the creative process? And, any reasonably person accepts that the creative process is, by nature and almost by requirement, inefficient and irregular.

Perhaps this is a chicken and egg scenario? Or, strangely, does it somehow connect to the age old existentialist question of “if a tree falls in a forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?”

What do you think: is creativity without contribution a waste?

Achieving and maintaining high performance levels in any organization requires an effective communication system — otherwise there will be no way to exchange information and share knowledge.

This paper explores a highly effective tool with which an organization can improve its organizational communication: Intranets.  The abstract of the paper reads as follows:

With increasing frequency, organizations are implementing intranets to improve their internal communication, increase productivity and reduce operating expenses. This paper defines the need for improved internal communication, outlines the history of intranets, explores their benefits, notes the risks and solutions, and offers implementation insights to which an organization can refer.

iabd-business-research-yearbookThis was the first scholarly paper I wrote that was published. I originally wrote it in the fall of 2002 for an organizational behavior and strategy class in my MBA program at Woodbury
University
.

Upon the suggestion of my instructor — Dr. Satinder K. Dhiman, the Associate Dean of Business and MBA Program Chair — I submitted it for publication in the 2003 Business Research Yearbook of the International Academy of Business Disciplines (IABD).

Fortunately my paper was accepted and I presented it at the group’s annual conference in Orlando, Florida that April. The experience was an exceptionally positive one that opened my eyes to the option of academia as a career path.

Two months later, in June 2003, I flew to Honolulu, Hawaii to present the same paper at the International Business and Management Research Conference (IBMRC), which had also been published in the organization’s refereed academic journal, The Business Review, Cambridge. I was also recognized with the “Best Presenter” award at the conference.

If you would like to read my paper, you can read it online on Academia.edu. I welcome your thoughts and comments — please contact me at doctorious (at) generative (dot) com.

Update: My paper was cited in the 2004 book “MBA In A Day: What You Would Learn At Top-Tier Business Schools (If You Only Had The Time!) ” by Dr. Steven Stralser. It was apparently used as a general source of information in a chapter dealing with Intranets! The citation appears on page 262 and covers material presented on pages 260 to 262.