I stopped by my mailbox yesterday morning and found an envelope from my alma mater.

Usually, they’re asking for donations for this or that, but this time, they were advertising new graduate programs. I sat down in my recliner, beat from my day job, and did a quick search.

Yes, they have new degrees, but, they cost twice as much as they did last year.

That’s right. Double!

So, I skip on over to another university that has online degrees, and I find an MBA in Entrepreneurship for half the price.


So, I asked myself the question. Am I going back to school?

I sit there in my living room, contemplating the question, and realize I have no desire to go back to grad school. Well, not traditional B-school, anyway. Not even online.

I mean, by the time I slap down the cash to pay for tuition, and set aside the two years it would take to finish the program, I would have a degree that would qualify me to teach Business at a local or online college.

Minimum wage time.

I would be better off getting a part time job than serving at the altar of student evaluations, in an industry that is on the verge of vanishing before our very eyes.

So, where does that leave me?

I have to ask myself another question. Do I really want to be a teacher in the first place?

Is that really what I want to do?

Not at all.

What I want to do more than anything else in this life is write. I want to write stories. I would like to side-step my way over to non-fiction, too.

But, I need to learn how to market my writing if I have half a chance at making enough so I can quit my job and live the rest of my life in blissful isolation.

It’s not worth going back to college, though.

Definitely not worth plunking down tens of thousands of dollars for a degree that’s really worthless already – will certainly be worthless in a few years from now.

Then it dawns on me.

It’s the perfect opportunity to stretch my legs and put in a real concerted effort at reclaiming a piece of my youth I missed out on.

It’s time to Hack my MBA.

So, I set out, thinking about all the myriad of times I’ve tried before to self-study my post-secondary education, only to be distracted by one thing or the other, get discouraged by the lack of credibility, etc. Let’s face it, you’re still kind of a red-headed step-child if you homeschool or unschool or get your degree online – let alone dive into the deep end of the autodidacts’ kiddy pool.

But, this time feels a little different, I think. For the first time, my illegitimate educational pursuits have a real world application.

And, it would be really foolish to go back to school if I could get the same education for free. I certainly don’t need a diploma to write or publish books. Amazon has pretty much taken care of the gatekeepers in today’s publishing world.

But, I do need to know more than how to string some words into a few sentences. I need to know how to sell books. I need to learn how to advertise. How to build a readership.

And, there is still a part of me that “wants” to “be in” school. Let’s face it. I like academic work. Or, let me rephrase that. I enjoy learning about things that interest or fascinate me. So, it’s a perfect marriage.

I call it “A Hackable Degree.”

I’m attempting to short circuit the traditional system, and overclock the current MOOC phenomena in order to leverage my love of learning in hopes of building a dream vocation as a writer in a new age.

So, I spent this weekend designing my very own self-directed, completely no-cost, MBA degree.

I used the course list at the other school as a guide, as well as Josh Kaufman’s “The Personal MBA” to design a degree that will fit my specific needs – heavy on marketing, social media, and indie-publishing – while providing a foundation in business.

After all, being an author is, from beginning to end, being in business for yourself.

I finished the study plan this afternoon and posted it on my website, under “Hacking an MBA in Entrepreneurship for Writers.” Check it out if you’re interested. I’m excited, and even got started on my first official “course.”

Hopefully, I’ll keep up the momentum and maybe even finish!

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