The truth about professional certificate programs from Ivy League schools
The Six Percent Entrepreneur
The truth about professional certificate programs from Ivy League schools
June 28, 2021
In this episode, we talk about why character and authenticity are way more important than titles and recognitions.
There are so many online degree programs out there, so many certification programs out there. People are pretty much-doing everything and anything they can to be able to get an edge on the competition. So you have all these certificate programs such as the PMP for project management or you might have one for quantitative finance or you might have all these different courses on Coursera. Are these even valuable? What about those online degrees and online certificate problems programs from Cornell or MIT, etcetera? Are these worth it or these valuable at all? 

So I'm gonna answer that question in today's podcast and I'm answering that question from the perspective of a person that did a lot of job interviews for a major corporation. And in my shop, so I'm speaking directly about a company that I work for just energy. I was on the load forecasting team and we were pretty much in the front office, in the commercial office and any time we interviewed someone, this type of role like it was really all about teamwork and we wanted to make sure that we were getting the right people on the team. 

So a lot of us, we were actually involved in the hiring decision and every time we had a new resume come through and we would meet this person I can tell you 100% that the degree does not matter. Certifications don't matter; Coursera classes actually might matter. And I'll explain why when you have degrees and certificate programs especially these Cornell certificate programs or MIT Executive education programs things like this those things they're just marketing schemes. There are ways to increase the revenue for those schools. They don't really bring too much value. And the thing is the reason why you might be even considering taking those certificate programs is so you can try to get the credibility of those degrees, of the actual degree giving institutions. 

But the thing is you are not getting a degree right? You're doing something online. And people that are in positions of hiring in the corporate world, they're hip to this. They know that this is a simple online degree. So one of the first things that we question is is this an online degree, is this something that someone has got online, or were they actually on campus doing it? And is this something like a two-week, eight-week program that doesn't really mean anything? And it's a program where anyone can get in, there are actually no selection criteria. If there are no selection criteria, then absolutely, we consider that person as someone who just wasted their money on this degree program that's definitely not going to help them. 

When we are hiring. What we are looking for is we are looking to see if we are going to like this person because this person is going to be on our team and depending on what our culture is and just energy, for example, we were a very high-performance team. We were really fast but we're really intensely and you have to be able to keep up. And this is actually one of those jobs where I did not get high the entire time that I worked at the job because my team, my managers, and everyone in the company, they were just so sharp and so bright that I did not have the chance to actually get high. I think now I probably could have still hung, but I was a little intimidated when I first started that company. So it's something that I didn't partake in and didn't do it all. 

Anyway, I digress. The whole point of this is is if you are taking these degree programs, trust me, they really don't mean shit. So if you want to go get European peace certificate or want to go get all these certificates, they don't mean anything. When people are hiring, they want to know that they can hang out with you and if they can hang out with you and they know that you're just a smart person that can pick up on this, then your degree, your certificate. None of that matters. In fact, Ana who is such a close teammate of mine, when she was wrapping up her degree, I could care less about her degree because I know for a fact that whatever she's learning in her degree is not something that's going to be of any use for what we're doing. Because that information is so old. And just speaking with Ana, hanging out with Ana, talking with Ana, I know how Ana's brain works. She picks up things really quickly. She's smart, she gets it. She understands what we're doing. She's creative and tries to figure out new ways on growing the business and she keeps all the trains running on time. 

So a degree doesn't tell me anything about that. I never asked her for a degree. I never asked her for her grades. I don't care. All I saw was her character. I saw that she is proud to put her name on any type of work that she wants to do. And those are the type of people that I want to hire. I could care less about a PMP certificate or anything like this because whatever I need Ana to do on the job I can teach her or I can point out the resources where she can learn and I know that she's capable of learning and that's the first step. 

So if you're considering doing these online certificate programs or taking a lot of these certificate things, um these programs at Cornell, these executive education programs, etcetera. These are all garbage programs. Trust me, they're not going to help you. You are actually wasting your money because people will look down upon you if you have these kinds of things because they know your clout chasing. It's evident people are hip to this and you're gonna spend $20,000 - $40,000 or trying to chase this cloud and it's going to have the opposite effect of what you're actually looking for, which is you're trying to crack the interview right? You're actually trying to get in and you're hoping that the certificate program will be an end, but it's not and it's not at all. The way you get in is by talking to people and by networking and that's how you get an interview. Because if you come through as a referral, a referral is going to have a much higher chance of getting a job than someone that has an executive education degree from Cornell or one of these other schools I didn't mention earlier, however.

Coursera is a little different. So Coursera might not necessarily help you. But where Coursera is different is if I see Coursera on someone's resume this kind of tells me that this person is actually genuinely interested and I'm actually hoping he's interested. If it's on the resume and you know they have some kind of like certificate thing where they're trying to show some kind of knowledge they have. Then it comes across as self-serving and you kind of know why they're doing it, they don't really have interest, but if they're truly interested and we can see that they're interested and when we actually question them on the classes that they took at Coursera or Tedex or any of these other things and they can actually explain it and we see that they speak with passion than that we want to see because this person wants to learn, they go out of the way to learn on their own. They're actually passionate about stuff. They're not just doing things to check off boxes are not just doing things to get that certificate for a foot in the door. 

They're actually doing things because they want to do it and people want to be around authentic people who are genuine and not trying to put up a front. So if you are looking to get one of these certificate programs, like a PMP and Executive Education, something like that, it's a front. You know it. I know it, I would just leave it alone, save yourself the money and go do it the right way to start talking to people, do things that actually interest you. Be genuine, be authentic. This is Robin Copernicus, boom bam. I'm out. 

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