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Choosing a Non-Traditional Path: From Ph.D. Dropout to Entrepreneurial Success

Years ago, the conversation about gaining employment centered around obtaining a higher degree. In the simplest of terms, in order to be successful, one had to have a degree from an accredited university. People were actually losing jobs to "more qualified candidates" - ones who looked good on paper and had college degrees.

But let me share a bit about my own journey. I embarked on a path to earn a PhD in Business with an emphasis on Organizational Leadership. It was a promising academic pursuit, one that aligned with the traditional notions of success. However, somewhere along that path, I made a pivotal decision that would reshape my entire career trajectory.

I dropped out of my PhD program to follow my passion and entrepreneurial spirit. I founded my own consulting firm, M.A.C. Enterprise Consulting, with a new goal in mind - to shift from helping employees to developing leaders, entrepreneurs, and businesses as a whole.

If you were to take a step back and reflect for just a moment: Do you recall the rise in the availability of online courses during that time period?

People were tired of giving up their longevity on the job - their years of hard work and dedication - to young adults who had "arrived" right out of school. New job descriptions were being developed, and sure enough, one of the requirements was to have a college degree from an accredited university. As time progressed, online education grew exponentially in popularity. Job descriptions were then altered to read:


Without the most basic of higher degrees, it appeared as if some people would never be able to keep up with the ever-changing needs of a job! To make matters worse, job-seekers had to fight the battle of exactly WHERE their BA or MBA came from.


It has been said that one's perception is their reality. The truth is this: Perceptions and facts are the complete opposite, yet we are so sold on our own biases, we 'marry' the two…and for what?

Hiring Managers and Executives cringe at the mere mention of some online universities - regardless of their curriculum. They recoil in disgust because of the idea of what he or she feels those types of universities represent. For some, it is the idea of knowing how much work went into attending a brick-and-mortar school, along with the prestige of the school itself, that makes an individual more marketable than someone who "sat at home".

The huge elephant in the room (so to speak) is that in many cases, WHERE the degree comes from matters. An individual can have a remarkable set of skills and qualifications, yet the uphill battle remains: WHERE did he or she get that BA or MBA?

A Special Note to Hiring Managers and Business Owners:

Job-seekers can become very discouraged when faced with this challenge. They feel they are taking all the right steps to further their career when, in some cases, nothing more than fulfilling a personal goal is being met. There comes a point in time when we need to look deeper than what's on paper and acknowledge the dedication and discipline it takes to work a full-time job AND obtain a college degree - whether traditionally or online. We all have our fair share of circumstances that hinder us from accomplishing certain things, yet we must mature and tackle those tasks at some point. Don't be the person who only sees what's on paper. Be the individual who can look past the specifics of a job description and truly understand the factors that make up this thing we call "LIFE".

Far too many people go to school and have NO idea what the real world looks like beyond the books. Sure, they have the academic side of things locked down; however, can school really teach a person how to manage others through a tough time…such as when they are laid off? Can school really show others how to deal with disgruntled employees? A better question is this: Is there a significant difference between a brick-and-mortar school and online that can teach others how to deal with people's development in such a way that change is embraced?

Which side do YOU want to be on?

A. The side that seeks to understand the totality of a person; or

B. The side that sits in a cubicle or office and throws darts to determine which applicants will be interviewed…based on what you see on paper alone?

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