562 Is Education Useful?

Jeff and Todd talk about higher education.

Todd: Hey, so Jeff, you have an MBA, or you're studying to get an MBA?

Jeff: I'm studying to get an MBA.

Todd: OK, why did you choose to get an MBA. You don't seem like the business type of guy. YOu're always talking about nature and travel and art.

Jeff: Ah, this Master's of Business Administration in International Tourism, that's my focus, international tourism, is purely out of necessity, not really that I love to be a student or love studying but I think it's, in today's world, you need an edge to get a job, and I think this MBA will give me an edge to get a job in the future.

Todd: So are you learning a lot in your program? Is this a good MBA program that you're in?

Jeff: They say education is not burden, Max Lerner, I think said, "Education is not burden" but, and I do, the subject that I chose, international tourism is an interesting topic, and I enjoy it so, I am learning. I'm reading a lot, and I am learning a lot on the subject which is good.

Todd: I don't know, man, I'm actually getting a Master's and, I'm getting a Master's in Education, and I think it's a waste of time.

Jeff: Well, I never think education is a waste of time, but I think it's the opportunity cost: What you could be doing instead of studying, and I think that's, you really weight out the options of the opportunity that you're giving up when you're spending all those hours reading and writing, and if you have nothing else better to d then I think, well, then yeah, studying something you're interested in is a good idea. It's better than watching TV or playing video games.

Todd: True. True, but sadly I think most Master's programs, or most education systems are geared actually just to make money, and they have a system where they give the books, you read the books, you write the papers, but there's no real learning going on, and it's, in effect, I think it's a waste of time, but that's not the real way that people learn. They learn by actually doing things or having a challenge and trying to accomplish the challenge using any resource possible, and it seems to me that most Master's programs, MBA, Education, whatever, they don't really teach that.

Jeff: I agree with you. I think universities are now a business to make money and the bottom line, revenue is, this is what drives univerisity but I do think that there is active and passive learning like you said and I think there is room for both. (Sure) I think passive learning is good. I think active learning is better but I think it's harder to, it's harder to do. It's harder to get the, get the chance to do active learning, but I think passive learning's OK, as long as it's not all you do. (Sure) I think if you can couple them together, there's some passive learning, some active learning, I think there're good together.

Todd: Well, I think sadly passive learning, book learning, the reading and writing, it's cheaper to do so that's why univerisities tend to stress that.
Jeff: Yeah, but I'm, I think I agree with you. I think it is a little bit of a waste of time, but if you have nothing else to do that's any better, then I think yeah, education and studying and learning are a very good thing.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson


International Tourism, that's my focus.

Your 'focus' is your area of interest or where you direct the most effort.  We usually use this to refer to the topic of a report or an area of study.  Notice the following:

  1. His focus was saving money, but he didn't see that his plan was not practical.
  2. I want the focus of your report to be a solution to the problem.

need an edge

In today's world, you need an edge to get a job.

In terms of jobs, 'need an edge' refers to needing to have a skill or ability that nobody else has to help you get noticed, something that makes you a superior choice for a particular position.  Notice the following:

  1. She is a good singer, but she will need more of an edge to get noticed.
  2. He started doing volunteer work, because he knew he would need an edge to get a job in the architectural company.


They say education is not a burden.

A 'burden' is  problem or something that holds you down and doesn't allow you to move forward, metaphorically speaking.  Notice the following:

  1. Although she was very qualified for the position, her age was a huge burden.
  2. They discovered that having a big house to maintain was an enormous burden.


Most education systems are geared actually just to make money.

In this example 'geared' could be replaced by 'designed.'  The intention of the education system is to make money.  Notice the following:

  1. The movie is geared toward children, but parents will enjoy it too.
  2. This new automobile is geared toward large families that travel a lot.

room for both

I do think that there is active and passive learning like you said and I think there is room for both.

In this case, 'room for both' would imply that both ideas are good, necessary and effective.  Notice the following:

  1. He thought there was always room for both learning and improvement in his life.
  2. There is always room for both hard work and play in a well-balanced life.


Answer these questions about the interview.

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
focus • an edge to • a burden
geared • room
  1. The event is toward getting people interested in the school.
  2. She studies Latin American politics, but her is Ecuador.
  3. The economy is so bad right now that you really need find a good job.
  4. Having a pet can be kind of in your life.
  5. I don't if there is for both piano and karate in your schedule.