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Is It All Worth It

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Is there an advantage to having an advanced degree in business or economics for a business librarian? Elisabeth Leonard uses her personal experiences and the results of a national survey to compare the expected benefits to the actual benefits (and disadvantages) for acquiring an advanced degree. From the SLA CUBL breakfast in Seattle June 2008.

Published in: Business, Education
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Is It All Worth It

  1. 1. Is it all worth it? Elisabeth Leonard, MLS, MBA
  2. 2. First, some background <ul><li>BS in international business and German </li></ul><ul><li>MBA was free for me and encouraged by my director, the Vice President of Academic Affairs, and the CFO </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why did I do it? <ul><li>I wanted more background than my BA provided, esp. on areas I was weak in </li></ul><ul><li>I wanted to increase my job possibilities </li></ul><ul><li>I wanted to hone my skills and knowledge </li></ul>
  4. 4. What benefits did I see? <ul><li>The faculty were very proud </li></ul><ul><li>The students related to me differently </li></ul><ul><li>The University administration knew me </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Economic development committee </li></ul></ul><ul><li>I was able to bring business knowledge to my job *esp. marketing* </li></ul><ul><li>Made some great friends and some good contacts </li></ul>
  5. 5. Asked for other opinions <ul><li>111 with advanced degrees </li></ul><ul><li>100 people said what the degree was </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Master's in accountancy 2.0% (2) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Master's in business administration 77.0% (77) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Master's in public administration 4.0% (4) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Master's in economics 6.0% (6) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other: Master's in (organizational) communication and technology; Master of international management; JD; Master of Business & Technology; Master’s in international business </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. How did others benefit? Top benefits 33.0% (32) 27.8% (27) Increased the amount of respect and/or credibility I receive from faculty 43% (40) 19.4% (18) Provides opportunities outside librarianship Very Beneficial Beneficial (n=98) 32.0% (31) 26.8% (26) Increased the amount of respect and/or credibility I receive from colleagues 76.3% (74) 19.6% (19) Increased understanding of my patrons 79.6% (78) 17.3% (17) Increased subject knowledge
  7. 7. Other benefits <ul><li>Made me a better manager/leader/team player </li></ul><ul><li>Helped me get a promotion </li></ul><ul><li>Self-fulfillment </li></ul><ul><li>Increased understanding of how business information flows, what is helpful for analysis, what is not so necessary </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledgeable as to how to help patrons; can speak with authority with business faculty re research needs of students; considered expert in field by colleagues </li></ul><ul><li>Consulting work </li></ul>
  8. 8. Disparity between perceived benefits and actual benefits Very beneficial Beneficial Perceived 57.3% (59) 26.2% (27) Increased subject knowledge Very Beneficial Beneficial Actual 79.6% (78) 17.3% (17) Increased subject knowledge
  9. 9. Disparity between perceived benefits and actual benefits Very beneficial Beneficial Perceived 16.0% (16) 33.0% (33) Increased understanding of my patrons Very Beneficial Beneficial Actual 76.3% (74) 19.6% (19) Increased understanding of my patrons
  10. 10. Disparity between perceived benefits and actual benefits Very beneficial Beneficial Perceived 24.5% (25) 18.6% (19) Increased the amount of respect and/or credibility I receive from students Very Beneficial Beneficial Actual 33.0% (32) 27.8% (27) Increased the amount of respect and/or credibility I receive from students
  11. 11. Disparity between perceived benefits and actual benefits Very beneficial Beneficial Perceived 30.4% (31) 30.4% (31) Increased my salary Very Beneficial Beneficial Actual 24.7% (24) 25.8% (25) Increased my salary
  12. 12. Not all wine and roses <ul><li>Some librarians see business as evil and thought I might be corrupted </li></ul><ul><li>Others believed I had ulterior motives and was trying to make a statement </li></ul><ul><li>These impressions have lingered in contacts with other librarians </li></ul>
  13. 13. Drawbacks for others? <ul><li>It wasn’t worth it: 11% (n=12) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not as relevant as expected (4 people) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cost too much for the benefits received (2 people) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Although it enhances my credibility with and elicits greater respect from the faculty and students, it does not do the same with my librarian colleagues and library administration…. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Library colleagues seem to be jealous of the degree & look for opportunities to devalue it relative to their degrees. I actually had a supervisor (who had no advanced degree) who told me my MBA was &quot;irrelevant.&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It made me &quot;overqualified&quot; </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. The verdict from the survey: Recommended! 76% said it was worth it  
  15. 15. Do it because…(comments) <ul><li>I think it should be a requirement. How can one possibly serve their clients adequately if they are not versed in the subject matter.  </li></ul><ul><li>Personally, it was valuable to me because I have and had a strong interest in the topics. Professionally it was valuable to me in the sense of being more knowledgeable etc. in performing work. </li></ul><ul><li>Depends on the librarian - the opportunities are there, but it requires more of a love for the subject matter than an expectation of higher salary, etc.  </li></ul>
  16. 16. Personally? <ul><li>First some caveats… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>$$ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interest </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>School you choose may matter I enjoyed it </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Then, my takeaways </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I learned from it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I saw benefits to me, my students, my faculty, and my library </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Thank you!

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