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College educated or not ?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by Shades of Green LService, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. rcreech

    rcreech Sponsor
    Male, from OHIO
    Posts: 6,058

    I think we did too......but I don't remember! :laugh:
  2. Swampy

    Swampy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,435

    I'm a current student in Landscape Horticulture with only prior 3 years in the industry. So I don't know to much about the industry as a whole, but we have students in my class that have 7yrs 10yrs even one guy with 20 yrs in the field. But with college you can go get a degree, but its what you make out of it really. But within my program they other a lot of identification, plant health care, turf, construction, and tree and shrub maintenance classes.
  3. Grandview

    Grandview LawnSite Gold Member
    from WI
    Posts: 3,251

    B.S. Soil Science, UW-Stevens Point with a couple classes from University of Illinois in forages and crop production. I think my degree helps me sort out all the BS in fertilizers.
  4. turf hokie

    turf hokie LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,744

    Is that why they call it a B.S. ??
  5. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,083

    Undergraduate in Criminal Justice with some Master level courses in Public Administration for a career I left a life time ago.
    I also have an undergraduate in Turf Grass Agronomy and am working on my Masters in Agronomy.
    I know several of the USGA's staff Agronomists, all of whom are heavily encouraging me to finish so I can be hired but any corporate job right now would be a significant pay decrease.
    Plus I like the autonomy of running my own operation - it really is true, once you work for yourself it's hard to return to a corporate mentality.
    That said, I believe the primary purpose of a college degree is too illustrate how to acquire data, process the data, implement this data into your program then adjust the program where necessary. The actual degree is less important than acquiring this mindset. Obviously a degree in your program field is an added advantage.
    One can achieve some level of capability without a degree, however, the time/economic opportunities lost while acquiring the language necessary tends to support the need for a degree now and a business later.
  6. Whitey4

    Whitey4 LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,448

    I have something like 28 credits in business classes. Frankly, I don't think acedamia creates a whole lot of transferable skills to actually knowing how to run a business. First, it seemed geared towards managing in a corporate environemnt rather than in nuts and bolts small business teachings.

    Maslow's hierarchy of needs is philosophical, theory based stuff. Peter Drucker's management by objectives is slightly more usable, and can be at least partially implemented in a small business, but again, it's geared towards the fortune 500 business manager in terms of usefull theory that can be implemented.

    I have found that just a couple of good small business books proven far more valuable than anything I learned about business taking a bunch of college courses ever did. So much about business is just common sense. Knowing that the key to sales is to listen before talking. Listen to what the customer is concerned about. If he doesn't offer that info, ask. React with a sales strategy that addresses those concerns instead of some set sales pitch. Common sense.

    Now, the technical side of things.... that requires education.... and experience. It can't be replaced by using common sense, or any intuitive ability an individual may have. It has to be learned. I wish I wasn't such a screw up in high school, but wisdom for people such as myself often has to come with some big knots on yer skull first. Given a choice, I think that horticultural learning is more difficult to obtain, and is far more valuable than a formal business education.

    Ever heard of expert leadership? One if the few things that I learned in college business classes that was usful. Knowing more about the technical side of any horticulturally based business than anyone else in the organization, or even against one's competitors is the strongest form of leadership one can have. When an expert talks, people listen. Just about anyone can learn how to make a business run smoothly with common sense.... being an expert.... has to be earned.
  7. lawnservice

    lawnservice LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 589

    i was at an all day seminar a few weeks ago. one of the speakers was a CPA (actually there were 3 CPAs at this seminar)
    Anyway this one guy starts talking about his software business. In the middle of his talk he pauses..........then says "you guys thought I was a CPA? I am a CPA but the worse CPA you could ever meet. My clients didnt like that I would always say 'close enough' so I started a business software business"

    moral of this story?
    there are many educated fools around. Just because one has that degree framed hanging on the wall dont mean he knows much.

    4 years at URI (university of Rhode Island for those who are wondering) didnt quite get my BS in turf management
    I didnt realize i was in school for an education, I thought I was there cuz thats where the chicks were and the all nite parties. Happy to report though that the student loans are all paid off
  8. americanlawn

    americanlawn LawnSite Fanatic
    from midwest
    Posts: 5,859

    lawnservice -- I'm with you. I wasted away much of my college days while in Business College at the U of Iowa. I always knew which bars had ladies night and which ones had happy hour. It wasn't until I studied horticulture that I enjoyed what I was doing.

    shades -- I have learned nearly everything thru two things.....and it wasn't from any university. 1) First-hand experience. 2) The internet. This industry evolves every year, so in order to stay on top of things, I consider "the web" as the best source of information. Land grant university instructors ask guys like you and me what's new. Even the guys at my land grant university have asked to use info/pics from lawnsite.com.

    If I had it to do all over again, I would not attend college. Instead I would have started a lawn service back when ChemLawn was still in its growing stages.
  9. Turfdoctor1

    Turfdoctor1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 705

    B.S. in Turf Management M.S. in Horticulture from the University of Arkansas. There is no doubt in my mind that my degrees help me with a general understanding of why we do the things we do. It's not hard to learn what chemicals to spray, what fertilizers to apply, etc., but I am thankful that I know why it works the way it does.

    Now, that does not mean that I think my education solves my problems. Quite the opposite. Hands on experience with different products, different turf species, dealing with customers, all of these things are more important in what I do on a daily basis.

    In the end, common sense and people skills are the most important part of success. Take a dummy, give him two degrees and tell him to run a business, and he is still a dummy. Take someone with intelligence, equip him with the degrees, give him some experience, then watch him succeed.
  10. BeautifulBlooms

    BeautifulBlooms LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 613

    Bachelor of Science in Environmental Horticulture

    Spent 10 years on golf courses before moving to Lawn and Landscape Maintenance

    Paper means nothing, still learning everyday. College is good for you more for presentation than anything. Its not like you can say to your customers oh I have a bachelors of science so you are in good hands. They need to see you have the knowldge and can put it into action.

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