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Achieving an MBA Degree Based on Life Experience: Beware of the Diploma Mill Scam

written by: Dr. Ranee Kaur Banerjee•edited by: Elizabeth Stannard Gromisch•updated: 11/25/2013

Beware of Diploma Mills that will sell you a degree based on life experience. These schools are not accredited and are a scam! Learn more here.

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    The Diploma Mill Scam

    Did you know you could buy online degrees and diplomas on the basis of your life experience? In less than a couple of weeks, you could call yourself an MBA from an “accredited" university in the United States and have all the documentation to prove it. No applications, no admissions, no classes, no examinations, no studying at all: just your “life experience" can get you a degree that looks authentic along with a set of transcripts and letters of verification.

    Any form of “life experience" including but not restricted to military service, work experience, college time, certification of any kind, travel, achievements in any field, professional development, training programs and workshops you may have attended, community service or volunteer service you may have done can get you that degree without any additional class time and at the cost of a few hundred dollars.

    Welcome to the Diploma Mills that sell you your dreams on easy street. Of course, you know free lunches don’t happen, don’t you? That “accredited" university is accredited not by any of the officially acknowledged agencies but by bodies that may be made by and of the same Diploma Mills for their own convenience and commercial interests. The only schools accredited by BOUA or WOEAC or WHeAS are in most probability the same schools that solicit your dollars in return for your MBA or PhD in “life experience." Therefore, that official looking "life experience" MBA degree that you pay so much for will not be recognized by any prospective school or employer and is, in all respects, as fake as faux fur.

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    Credit for Life Experience

    That said, some legitimate and reputed B-Schools in the United States will give you credit for life and work experience that you can prove is relevant to your area of study. This credit may come in the guise of lower admission criteria or exemption from GMAT but it will, under no circumstances, be enough to get you an instant MBA!

    The MBA is desired by business professionals because it has practical value for them and is recognized all over the globe as the professional standard for management education. Thus, it makes sense that B-schools will value the quality of your work and life experience and give you credit for the type of responsibilities you have held and the skills you have already accrued as a result of that experience.

    It is only fair that your work and life experience should count as a differentiator and make it easier for you to get into an MBA program. However, once you’re in the program, you will become part of the undifferentiated student body and will have to do the work and the time before you get your final degree.

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    The Advantages of Life Experience for MBA students

    With all professional knowledge, there is a hands-on component that is absolutely necessary for the completion of your education. You are expected to make your living and career out of the practice or application of the theories and concepts you have learned in the classroom.

    Most professional education begins with the theory and goes on to the practice but interestingly, the MBA is built the other way.

    The MBA program was conceived and constructed for people who were working or who had substantial previous exposure to a workplace and who were now ready to take their chosen career to the next level and help in the administration and policy making of the organization they belonged to.

    While the MBA curriculum is designed to give you all the knowledge you will need in order to fill a managerial function in an organization, it also presumes a certain level of maturity and exposure to a few years of working in a business enterprise. This is because all the skills required to become a good manager cannot be taught from the classroom alone. Many of these skills are taught naturally by life while you go about your daily tasks and routines and live through your social and familial relationships. The MBA classroom can polish and hone those skills to perfection once you’ve acquired them. It cannot get them for you.

    The actual, sensory knowledge of workplace dynamics gives you the founding material on which your MBA education can be built and your life experiences contribute to your emotional and physical maturity which, in turn, makes you better able to relate to and to absorb the material taught in an MBA curriculum.

    Teamwork and group assignments are more rewarding and you can participate much more in the peer learning and networking process if you already have the confidence and exposure to a work culture

    And finally, you become a more attractive package to recruiting agents if you have a differentiating experience to support your MBA degree.

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    References:

    http://www.geteducated.com/?diploma_mill_police=show Use this service to check whether you're being lured towards a worthless MBA degree.

    Go to http://www.elearners.com/resources/diploma-mills.asp to learn more about diploma mills and how to identify them.

    Visit http://www.elearners.com/resources/agencies.asp for a list of accrediting agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and/or the Council for Higher Education.