Category Archives: Education & Learning

Bachelor Graduation – An analysis of my UK degree classification

I am officially a university graduate! My degree title is Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Marketing and Music & Media Management.

I am a university graduate!

The following paragraph is all about stroking my ego and helping maintain my healthy self-esteem. Afterall this is what I worked hard for the last three years.

I am proud to announce that while studying in my second language in a foreign country, and at the same time traveling the world and gaining professional experiences, I was able to achieve a First Class Honours Classification. Continue reading →

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Just Start: Take Action, Embrace Uncertainty, Create the Future

by Harvard Business Review Press

I would like to share the following book with you, which I stumbled upon today. This is a definite one to be added to my reading list.

Just Start: Take Action, Embrace Uncertainty, Create the Future

Just Start: Take Action, Embrace Uncertainty, Create the Future

In a world where you can no longer plan or predict, when change seems to be the only constant, “Just Start” teaches you how to achieve success in a state of uncertainty. This is based on the approach developed at Babson College, one of the world’s top entrepreneurial business programs. Continue reading →

Seeking new inspiration – California Summer 2011 – BUNAC, J1 Visa and USA Internship

Todays written words will be predominantly random thoughts related to my current state of mind here in London, where we are slowly moving out of European winter into Spring (thank god!). As happens to most of us, I got caught up again (shame on me…) with the obstacles of my daily life. Blame it on the deadlines and required mental focus on my studies. In the end high academic performance is nevertheless important to me, and I have set my studies as my priority throughout my time in London. Continue reading to find out about my plans to spend summer in beautiful California…

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Want to read more?

PERSONAL POWER Programme by Anthony Robbins

Today I would like to share with you a programme I am currently listening to on my IPod on a daily basis. It is called PERSONAL POWER by ANTHONY ROBBINS. Read more…

Seth Godin – The coming melt-down in higher education (as seen by a marketer)

For 400 years, higher education in the US has been on a roll. From Harvard asking Galileo to be a guest professor in the 1600s to millions tuning in to watch a team of unpaid athletes play another team of unpaid athletes in some college sporting event, the amount of time and money and prestige in the college world has been climbing.

I’m afraid that’s about to crash and burn. Here’s how I’m looking at it.

1. Most colleges are organized to give an average education to average students.

Pick up any college brochure or catalog. Delete the brand names and the map. Can you tell which school it is? While there are outliers (like St. Johns, Deep Springs or Full Sail) most schools aren’t really outliers. They are mass marketers.

Stop for a second and consider the impact of that choice. By emphasizing mass and sameness and rankings, colleges have changed their mission.

This works great in an industrial economy where we can’t churn out standardized students fast enough and where the demand is huge because the premium earned by a college grad dwarfs the cost. But…

InflationTuitionMedicalGeneral1978to2008 2. College has gotten expensive far faster than wages have gone up.

As a result, there are millions of people in very serious debt, debt so big it might take decades to repay. Word gets around. Won’t get fooled again…

This leads to a crop of potential college students that can (and will) no longer just blindly go to the ‘best’ school they get in to.

3. The definition of ‘best’ is under siege.

Why do colleges send millions (!) of undifferentiated pieces of junk mail to high school students now? We will waive the admission fee! We have a one page application! Apply! This is some of the most amateur and bland direct mail I’ve ever seen. Why do it?

Biggest reason: So the schools can reject more applicants. The more applicants they reject, the higher they rank in US News and other rankings. And thus the rush to game the rankings continues, which is a sign that the marketers in question (the colleges) are getting desperate for more than their fair share. Why bother making your education more useful if you can more easily make it appear to be more useful?

4. The correlation between a typical college degree and success is suspect.

College wasn’t originally designed to merely be a continuation of high school (but with more binge drinking). In many places, though, that’s what it has become. The data I’m seeing shows that a degree (from one of those famous schools, with or without a football team) doesn’t translate into better career opportunities, a better job or more happiness.

5. Accreditation isn’t the solution, it’s the problem.

A lot of these ills are the result of uniform accreditation programs that have pushed high-cost, low-reward policies on institutions and rewarded schools that churn out young wanna-be professors instead of experiences that turn out leaders and problem-solvers.

Just as we’re watching the disintegration of old-school marketers with mass market products, I think we’re about to see significant cracks in old-school schools with mass market degrees.

Back before the digital revolution, access to information was an issue. The size of the library mattered. One reason to go to college was to get access. Today, that access is worth a lot less. The valuable things people take away from college are interactions with great minds (usually professors who actually teach and actually care) and non-class activities that shape them as people. The question I’d ask: is the money that mass-marketing colleges are spending on marketing themselves and scaling themselves well spent? Are they organizing for changing lives or for ranking high? Does NYU have to get so much bigger? Why?

The solutions are obvious… there are tons of ways to get a cheap, liberal education, one that exposes you to the world, permits you to have significant interactions with people who matter and to learn to make a difference. Most of these ways, though, aren’t heavily marketed nor do they involve going to a tradition-steeped two-hundred-year old institution with a wrestling team. Things like gap years, research internships and entrepreneurial or social ventures after high school are opening doors for students who are eager to discover the new.

The only people who haven’t gotten the memo are anxious helicopter parents, mass marketing colleges and traditional employers. And all three are waking up and facing new circumstances.

Seth Godin – Accepting limits

It’s absurd to look at a three year old toddler and say, “this kid can’t read or do math or even string together a coherent paragraph. He’s a dolt and he’s never going to amount to anything.” No, we don’t say that because we know we can teach and motivate and cajole the typical kid to be able to do all of these things.

Why is it okay, then, to look at a teenager and say, “this kid will never be a leader, never run a significant organization, never save a life, never inspire or create…”

Just because it’s difficult to grade doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taught.

Never mind a teenager. I think it’s wrong to say that about someone who’s fifty.

Isn’t it absurd to focus so much energy on ‘practical’ skills that prep someone for a life of following instructions but relentlessly avoid the difficult work necessary to push someone to reinvent themselves into becoming someone who makes a difference?

And isn’t it even worse to write off a person or an organization merely because of what they are instead of what they might become?

Seth Godin – One in a million

The chances of a high school student eventually becoming first violin for the Boston Philharmonic: one in a million.

The chances of a high school student eventually playing basketball in the NBA? About the same.

In fact, the chances of someone growing up and getting a job precisely like yours, whatever it is, are similarly slim. (Head of development at an ad agency, director of admissions for a great college… you get the idea). Every good gig is a long shot, but in the end, a lot of talented people get good gigs. The odds of being happy and productive and well compensated aren’t one in a million at all, because there are many good gigs down the road. The odds are only slim if you pick precisely one job.

Here’s the lesson: the ardent or insane pursuit of a particular goal is a good idea if the steps you take along the way also prep you for other outcomes, each almost as good (or better). If pushing through the Dip and bending the market to your will and shipping on time and doing important and scary work are all things you need to develop along the way, then it doesn’t really matter so much if you don’t make the goal you set out to reach.

On the other hand, if you live a life of privation and spend serious time and money on a dead end path with only one outcome, you’ve described a path likely to leave you broken and bitter. Does spending your teenage years (and your twenties) in a room practicing the violin teach you anything about being a violin teacher or a concert promoter or some other job associated with music? If your happiness depends on your draft pick or a single audition, that’s giving way too much power to someone else.

Seth Godin – What you can learn from a lousy teacher…

If you have a teacher (of any sort) that you cannot please, that you cannot learn from, that is unwilling to take you where you need to go because he is defending the status quo and demonstrates your failure on whatever report card he chooses to use, you could consider yourself a failure. Or you could remind yourself…

  1. Grades are an illusion
  2. Your passion and insight are reality
  3. Your work is worth more than mere congruence to an answer key
  4. Persistence in the face of a skeptical authority figure is a powerful ability
  5. Fitting in is a short-term strategy, standing out pays off in the long run
  6. If you care enough about the work to be criticized, you’ve learned enough for today

Life Sign from Cyprus – ERASMUS Semester at University of Nicosia

Dear family and friends,

I hope you are doing well. I am herewith sending you my warmest greetings.

It has been a couple of months since I last wrote to you, and now that I am slowly approaching the end of my time in Cyprus my thoughts are with you.

I believe this is the right time to send you a little update and reminder as I am sure some of you are wondering where I am and what I am doing these days.

For those of you who don’t know yet or whose memory has let them down – I have been living in Nicosia on the island of Cyprus since February studying for one semester at the University of Nicosia.

The last month on this beautiful island is starting for me as I am heading towards my final projects and examinations. I am slowly getting ready for my time in South Africa.

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Just to let you know what has been happening:

It has been three months now since I first arrived on the Eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus (in case you wonder where it is located – South of Turkey, North of Egypt, East of Greece and West of Syria and Lebanon – I hope this helps!)

Cyprus is an independent Republic, but the island is split into two parts since the Turkish invasion in 1974. The Southern part of the island (Republic of Cyprus) is controlled by the Greek Cypriots and is an official member of the European Union. The Northern part of the country is occupied by Turkish troops and is unofficially called the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is only recognized by Turkey. The South and North are separated by the “Green Line”, a UN protected border that runs through the country.

I live and study in the capital Nicosia, which is a city that is split into two parts with the “Green line” running right through it – similar to Berlin during the time Germany was split into East and West.

The official languages in Cyprus are Greek and Turkish, but as Cyprus used to be a British colony, everyone also speaks or at least understands English.
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I am studying at the University of Nicosia (http://www.unic.ac.cy), the largest private university in Cyprus, with campuses in Nicosia, Limassol and Larnaca. I am taking part in the European ERASMUS programme (http://www.britishcouncil.org/erasmus.htm), which enables higher education students in 31 European countries to study for part of their degree in another country.

So far it has been an amazing experience to live and study in yet another country. Even though it is at times very demanding to continuously change ones place of living, having to readjust to new surroundings and establish new social friendships over and over again, it is an incredible learning experience.

Cyprus is such a beautiful spot, I can only recommend to anyone who has the opportunity to live here for a while or visit the island for a holiday, you should definitely go for it. You will find the most beautiful beaches, beautiful people from all over the world, perfect weather conditions and a great clubbing culture.

For me it has been a welcomed change to the fast-paced life in London. Life in Cyprus is much slower, calm and very quiet. Waking up to sun and blue skies every day, also again proved to have a very positive affect. Three months in Cyprus feel like as if I have been here for a very very long time. I wish the weather would be more like this in London (…that’s never going to happen!)

Even though university life is quite demanding here, with three times more assessments compared to my university in London, I have been able to settle in well. I live in one of the universities student halls, sharing a room with another student from my university in London. Even though it was quite a challenge to begin with, living with students from various countries and cultural backgrounds (incl. Finland, Poland, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Spain, India, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, etc) was yet again a very stimulating and inspiring experience.

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Looking ahead:

The coming month of May, I will be busy with my final projects and examinations for the academic semester. Once I am finished, I will then pack up my things and prepare for my three months stay in South Africa.

I have been longing to return to Mzansi since I had to leave again back to London last September. South Africa has become my home, and I have been missing it every day since I returned to Europe in December 2008.

I have been planning and saving up for this moment, and on the 1st of June the time has come for me to return once again to spend three months in the most beautiful city of Cape Town at the most Southern tip of Africa.

I will be doing another internship. I am currently in the process of applying to companies – with my first choice being COZA PRODUCTIONS (www.cozaproductions.co.za).

In September, I will then travel back to London to continue my degree studies at the London Metropolitan University. I might fit in a short visit to Germany in September, but I cannot promise anything at this point in time.

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Please feel free to contact me at any time. I would love to hear from you again.

If you would like to you can follow me on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/agladiac) or Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/marianzinn).

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Remember, irrespective of where we are right now, at one point in our lives, our paths have crossed, and I believe the day will come when they will lead us together again. It is up to us to maintain the relationships that are important to us in our lives. I am just trying to do my little bit by trying to keep in touch.

Today’s technology provides us with the amazing ability to foster friendships all around the world, to make the world one place, where people connect and share independent of space, time, borders, nationalities, without limitations.

You are in my thoughts.

I hope to see you again soon.

VIDEO – Clay Shirky on Cognitive Surplus

Watch Clay Shirky talk about the future of the media and society. His hypothesis is that new technologies enabling loose ­collaboration — and taking advantage of “spare” brainpower — will change the way society works – consume, produce, share: