The answer isn’t as simple as “either” “or” because there are compelling arguments on both sides. It comes down to “The Genius of And” a term coined by Jim Collins, author of Good to Great. It’s where two diametrically opposed ideas can both co-exist at the exact same time, like a living Venn Diagram where the only overlapping ideas are learning.
On one side we have business school. It’ll cost you $50,000 plus for an Ivy League education per year. Oddly enough that’s the poverty level for a family of four. On the other hand, we have mentoring, SCORE, business classes at local libraries, workshops through the local chamber of commerce, Youtube videos, Talks at Google, HBR IdeaCasts and lest we forget an entire library of college courses online, all of which are free.
I propose that both are equally valuable and one can’t exist without the other. They’re simply conduits to learn.
You see, truly exceptional scholars want to learn for the sake of learning. They’ll read all of the books necessary to work toward a goal. They’ll do their homework. They’ll research. They’ll learn. Just because it’s not in a classroom doesn’t degrade the merit of the experience. Sure, there isn’t a fancy placard that comes from learning through trial and error and Internet research to solve a pressing business problem but then again, you’re not paying an institution thousands per year just to get the paper anyway—unless, that is, you just want to be educated and not learn.
In college I had a lovely professor named Virginia Kugel-Zank who once asked the question, “What’s the difference between education and learning?” After much thought I concluded that education is where someone spoon feeds you information, learning is when you digest it.
Education is amassing a deluge of information before an event occurs when you need to apply it; learning is the application of it. Both help you become successful but neither will get you there alone. You have to have knowledge of what to do and then have the will to act on it.
So if you go to b school just to become educated and don’t bother to learn from it, you’re not successful, you just paid your dues. If you experience business lessons and don’t bother to research it, find a mentor or grow from the experience, you’ve just paid your dues. But if you bother to learn—really learn from the opportunities afforded to you, regardless of their price tag—you’ll be successful and that’s the most cost effective way to learn.
In my opinion truly remarkable businesspeople embrace both sides of the continuum: education and learning.
About the Author
Named Top 100 Leaders by 2012 Magazine, Jasmine Grimm has been nominated for Central Penn Business Journal’s “Top 40 Under 40,” and The Lancaster Chamber’s ATHENA Award.
Jasmine founded Ruby, Inc. a personal styling business that teaches women how to dress for their body types and became a two-time nominee for Inc. Magazine’s Top 30 Under 30 Top Young Entrepreneurs in America. She won the 2013 SCORE Business Development Award, the won the Central Penn Business Journal’s Top 25 Women of Influence Award in 2013 and the 2013 Leadership Award from the MS Society.
She has been a popular guest lecturer at the Maastricht Institute of Entrepreneurship and has been featured in Under 30 CEO and Productive Magazine, was the cover story for Harrisburg Magazine and her writing has graced National Geographic Television and Film, Harvard University and more.
She’s a 5,3,8,3 on the Kolbe A Index and her strengths include input, relator, learner, responsibility and achievement.
For more information visit her Google + Page.