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Today in academia: when an M.B.A. doesn't count for much, Harpers enrolls at a for-profit college, Occupy Wall Street themed class walk outs, and the first CA school to offer an LGBT studies major.

  • Trend: it's much cheaper to hire someone with a bachelors degree than an M.B.A.  A well qualified applicant with a bachelors degree is almost as good as one with an M.B.A.--and much cheaper, reports The Wall Street Journal, finding anecdotal evidence that, "A number of companies in finance, consulting and consumer products are bypassing M.B.A. candidates." This is a particularly deflating finding. But it makes business sense. "[T]hey have begun opting for younger employees who, in many instances, are just as talented as M.B.A graduates but willing to work for about half the salary that M.B.A.s normally earn." [The Wall Street Journal]
  • Today is a day that undergrads skip class to go to Occupy Wall Street, or a similar themed protest.  There are lots of colleges nationwide planning walkouts today, including student organized versions at New York schools. "We're inspired by people giving up entire days occupying. The least we can do is give up a few hours," said one NYU student organizer to The Village Voice's Runnin' Scared blog, which refrains from predicting what a potential turnout would be. It looks like the Columbia University walkout Facebook page--an unreliable indicator--has 364 people planning to attend at the moment. 1,833 people are "awaiting reply" just in case their friends decide not to go. [The Village VoiceIvyGate blog]
  • San Diego State is the first college in California to offer a major in LGBT studies.  The public university, to predictable grumbles from conservatives, announced the new major two days ago. "The university received approval late last week from the Chancellor's Office of the California State University system to offer the major. It will begin accepting students into the program in spring 2012," The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. [San Diego Union-Tribune via Chronicle of Higher Education]
  • What it's like when Harpers magazine enrolls at the University of Phoenix. Christopher R. Beha's excellent October issue report on enrolling at a Jersey City campus of the University of Phoenix doesn't exist online. But it's well worth reading, especially for Beha's handling of the face-to-face recruiting tactics, like one Phoenix college counselor's definition of application "recommendations." Excerpt transcribed below:

Near the end of the application process, we arrived at a page labeled "recommendations," with spaces in which to provide contact information. It occurred to me that getting a reference letter would mean enlisting an accomplice in my deception.

"I can just pick anyone?" I asked [the University of Phoenix admissions counselor]. 

"Anyone you think would be interested in getting a college degree."

They were asking for referrals. 

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