To which we say: As what?
Edtech is an industry – a niche one at that, and definitely a trendy one.
The main issue for BSers saying that that’s what they want to do is, more often than not, these are BSers who are coming in to the MBA a little clueless.
Often, it’s candidates who’ve worked in education already, often from TFA (or TF* depending on their country) — and often those who end up at TFA out of college are the kids who were a little directionless in the first place. Not always, but sometimes.
TFA is like the Peace Corps: It’s the
dumping ground springboard to new opportunities for really smart kids who don’t know what to do with their lives.
So you come out of your TFA commitment and you look around and you realize you still don’t know what to do with your life.
So it’s either law school or bschool, baby!
But then you soon discover, crap, they want to know what I want to do with my MBA.
That’s a head-scratcher.
The two options that we see most often are edtech and top tier consulting firm in their education practice.
Those both seem like totally viable goals, right?
Except one of them is not a goal, and the other needs massive work to show that you’re qualified.
A simple fact seems to escape many BSers: Working as a consulting for an industry is not at all the same as working in that industry. Often there’s a knowledgebase that is very useful and relevant. But saying that “I worked as a teacher, so I am qualified to be a consultant in education” is like saying, “I worked at a gas station, so I’m qualified to be a consultant in the energy industry.”
Do you see the disconnect?
Teaching is not the same as working to solve the problems in the entire field of education. Yes, it may give you some perspectives, but gosh, no, not at all the same level of skillset or knowledge. At least, not right off the bat. Not unless you’ve been working at a higher level in education administration (and even then, if the administrators were so good at that stuff, they wouldn’t need consultants, right?).
The other common disconnect is that there just aren’t that many consulting gigs in education.
Education is not a part of our society where the money tends to flow.
Consultants are expensive.
It’s only the organizations that are flush with cash that can afford to bring consultants on board to solve their problems.
It’s not like there are zero jobs in consulting, it’s just that there aren’t that many.
The ones that exist are going to go to those who are well qualified.
Being well qualified means showing you have the right skills and experience to contribute.
The starting point to show that is to have an awareness of what the job is about and what opportunities are available in your industry.
Back to edtech.
When you say “consulting for education” then you’re naming an industry, and that’s all you’re doing when you say “edtech” too, but the issue with goals is more complicated here.
“Consulting” is both the function, and the type of company.
“Edtech” is only the type of company.
There are gobs of people who work in edtech who do many and varied things.
There are only consultants who work in consulting.*
When you say “consulting” then we (sort of) know what job you’re aiming for.
When you say “edtech” we have no clue.
So “edtech” is just a starting point.
BSer, what do you want to DO??
*Obviously that’s not true, but we’ve never yet heard of a BSer saying “I want to go to work at a top consulting firm so that I can do marketing.”
oh HEY LOOK! UVA has an article about edtech!! Not specific to Darden, but Darden is certainly a school that would be a great choice if this is a niche you are interested in.