Earning a college degree will leave many young adults in debt for the next... oh, let's just say, the rest of their lives. And you can wrap your head around that, at least to some extent, if you think the investment you make in that degree (which generally falls between $100,000 and $200,000) will be the ticket to higher salaries, quicker promotions, and a better quality of life.
But is that just a lot of Ivy Tower propaganda? Does college really prepare you for a career?
GlobeSt.com, a commercial real estate media site where I once worked, suggests in a post this week that it doesn't, at least not in real estate. In "Baptism by Fire: On-the-Job Training Best Schooling for Young Brokers," John Salustri notes that brokers often benefit most from experience.
When Clark Finney, 29, joined Cushman & Wakefield in 2007, he came with a newly minted business management degree from Washington & Lee College tucked in his resume. But he says his real education started with his first day on the job, under the guidance of executive vice chairman John Cefaly and his team.
“The business major doesn’t really translate hugely into real estate,” says Finney, who started as an associate and after three promotions is now senior director. “Going to Washington & Lee helped because as a liberal arts college, it gave me a full background in writing, properly drafting documents and analyzing what you’re reading.”
But in terms of professional development, he credits “everything I’ve done to John and to [vice chairmen] Rob Lowe and Gus Field. They take great pride in mentoring junior team members. And from Day One they gave me the opportunity to actively participate in their transactions.”
The story raises, one again, the concept of the value of higher education. We've discussed that here before. (See: College Loan Debt... Even After Death; Earn Nothing, Learn Nothing; and What I Learned About Loans in College.)
But as parents nationwide trek to stores like Target and Bed Bath & Beyond to stock up on all of the stuff their soon-to-attend college kids need for the year -- and spend countless hours comparing the merits of raiding the 401k versus taking out a 7.9 percent federal Parent Plus Loan to pay the little darlings' tuition bills -- it's worth considering once again.
Weigh in. Is college a good investment?