Charging for What You Learn

When I was a student, I assumed that I was not ready to enter the real world. After all, I did not yet have my degree! And, in fact, this was rather convenient. Because I was not ready to enter the real world, I did not need to think about doing things with the real world. I might do an internship or small project, but these things were ad hoc. Not so important compared to the over-riding objective of getting my degree.

As I look back on this, I see a lot of waste in that attitude.I refer to wasted effort in the learning process. Because I was not connected to the real world, I did not develop a theory about what I might offer the real world. And without that theory, I was engaged in a random walk — an experiment of sorts, that what I was picking up would somehow become useful later in an environment that I did not understand. Using Lafley & Martin’s vocabulary, I was committed to make the effort in my work (I had no choice but to study) but I did not have a winning strategy.

Could one do better? Pressures are mounting on the academic and real world to reduce the gap between these worlds. That fact creates an opportunity for students seeking to market what they are learning. They can sell their experiences — if they are able to write about them in a compelling way. 

It is an audacious idea. I will be on the lookout for students who do it.

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