Last weekend, I met some old friends who talked of the problem of undergrads who 'outsource' their assignments. They said it was difficult to get these students to understand the importance of doing their own work. Then we segued into the topic of degrees, universities and rankings.
I used to wonder why a degree was such a big deal. Does a period of four (or three) years in an institution really make you a person fit for employment and induction into the officer & managerial ranks? Can a certificate encapsulate your skills, talents and potential??
But by this 'ripe old age', I have learned what a degree represents to potential employers.
First of all, that cert testifies to a certain capacity to withstand stress while having the discipline, patience & sheer tenacity to see a course of study to its fruitful end.
Second, it attests to the ability to collect data, analyse the collection of data and distill a year's worth of research &reading into its most concise and benefit-laden form (hopefully!) - the thesis.
Third, it indicates an ability to work in teams (or better yet, HELM teams) as well as deal with & satisfy the idiosyncrasies of some of the most eccentric people in the world, the academicians.
Such a wonderful package of skills and abilities, eh? But...one MUST go through the course of study inch by mentally-painful inch in order to acquire said abilities. A true graduate is like gold refined by fire... while graduates who cheated their way through their course have only cheated themselves out of this refining of self.
To people wise in the management of people, such half-baked graduates stand out like a sore blister. In the teaching profession, such half-cooked graduates go on to create other half-cooked versions of themselves.
Very sad when you think of it :(