A Culinary Degree? Is it for You?

now-what-graduateI am often asked by my students and a number of career changers: “Should I go to culinary school? Do advanced degrees, like a BPS (Bachelor in Professional Studies) degree in culinary or pastry, really make a difference in my job prospects in the food industry?”

HERE ARE FIVE Reasons NOT to Enroll in a BPS Program

  • It’s a waste of time: I already know everything.
  • I already have a degree (though not in a hospitality-related field).
  • It costs too much to get a BPS degree.
  • I’ve been offered exactly the kind of job I would hope to get without having a BPS degree.
  • A BPS from a culinary school is not as prestigious as a BA or BS from a “real” college or university.

AND FIVE (or More) Reasons to Continue My Education

Let me begin by saying that only one person knows everything and that person is your mother.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman recently wrote:

“Today there is no such thing as a high-wage, middle-skill job.

Now, high-wages are paid only to those with high-skills and higher education.

Every middle-class job today is being rendered obsolete or replaced faster than ever. That is, it either requires greater technological skill or can be done by more people around the world or is being made obsolete faster than ever. Technology has replaced many jobs that will never come back.”

Have you ever seen how fast a robot can chop an onion or make sushi?

So, let me offer my observations to your continuing your education concerns:

  • Yes you have gained experience but on a balance sheet, a tangible degree counts for more than experience even if you have worked for one of the Masters of the Culinary Universe.
  • You say you already have a degree from another school. Great. Only 30% of the population has one degree: having two degrees makes you more marketable. The more skills, knowledge and experience you bring to the table, the more attractive you will be to a prospective employer.
  •  You say a BPS degree costs too much. How much is too much? If you invest in the stock market, there may be a crash. If you invest in real estate, a hurricane can destroy your investment. If you invest in yourself, you keep the power in your own hands.
  • A BPS degree will almost certainly guarantee you a higher entry-level salary. Over your working life, you will earn, on average, between four and five times more money as an employee without a graduate degree. However: It’s not just what you have learned but what you can do with your knowledge.
  • IF you agree with the idea that knowledge is power, you may agree that the more knowledge you have, the greater will be your opportunities for success.

If you were your own best friend, (which I hope you are), would you advise you to make the decision to shut the door to your future?


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