Bethany College was founded in 1881 and is located in Lindsborg, Kansas, right in the center of the state about 65 miles north of Wichita. It's a 4-year, fully accredited undergraduate college with a 53-acre campus. It's a real college offering real degrees, and starting this Fall they will be offering a degree in marketing with an emphasis on network marketing. They are also developing an online certificate course which will focus on network marketing that will also award college credits.
You can read their press release here:
I wrote an article 13 years ago about why mainstream academia will never offer courses in network marketing. This was a response to the urban legend, then popular and still believed by many, that either Harvard or Yale had actually taught network marketing as part of their curriculum. My case was based on the simple thesis that no college or university would ever want to expose their student body to a career option that didn't require a college degree. I suggested back then that the only way a college might prove me wrong is if they could find a way to make the inclusion of M.L.M. into their curriculum profitable, such as having the institution itself participate within an M.L.M. opportunity. While it is yet to be seen if Bethany intends to do this, and if so how, they do intend to offer a very extensive online program emphasizing network marketing which will involve 6 class hours, and will probably cost somewhat less than their normal $400 per credit hour (costs have yet to be determined).
Why Go to College When M.L.M. Education is Abundant - and Free?
This is one of several questions that have arisen since word first got out about Bethany's ambitious endeavor. They're all covered in the most recent edition of my "Inside Network Marketing" show where I interviewed David Frost, the Assistant Professor of Bethany's Business & Economics Department, and who is spearheading their network marketing projects. You can listen to the 49 minute interview here:
The monofilament among all the questions that have been raised so far (that means, "common thread" -- I paid $200 for these Verbal Advantage CDs and I'm damn well going to use these words for something) seems to surround the long held position within our profession that network marketing may not be easy, but it is simple. It's a form of entrepreneurship that "anyone can do", that "levels the playing field", and that "doesn't require any special education or skills". So, why pay 100K in tuition fees and spend four years in a classroom? Well, let's first, and finally, acknowledge that this long held position is complete and utter BS, and I don't mean Bachelor of Science. If this business is so simple, and so easy, and practically everyone already possesses the knowledge and skills to execute it correctly and effectively -- then why do over 95% of them fail at it? I'm not suggesting network marketing is not relatively simpler, easier, and less financially risky than most conventional businesses, and it does offer myriad other benefits and advantages,
Especially long enough. Several major M.L.M. companies today provide an annual commission breakdown which includes the average earnings at each rank in their plan and the average number of months it takes for reps to reach those ranks. The rank where a significant net profit can be virtually assured is achieved, on average, in 6-12 months, and a minimal living income of at least $2,500 per month takes, again on average, 18 to 24 months. What most would identify as "wealth" takes 3-5 years. Yet, the large majority of distributors quit, usually to start over with another opportunity, within their first 6 months, and most of those drop out within their first 6 weeks. Of course the huge majority of M.L.M. distributors don't make any money at this business -- because the huge majority quit too soon.
The primary reason for this is that there is little invested, thus little at stake if they fail. One age-old M.L.M. tenet that is quite true is, "Easy in, easy out". Those who invest $1.5 million into a Taco Bell franchise (in fact, that is the going rate) usually don't quit after a few weeks because it was harder than they thought it would be. Most franchise owners spend considerable time investigating what's involved with running a business of their chosen type, and apply the level of commitment and tenacity that a $1.5 million potential loss affords them. Most network marketers are more than willing to eat the cost of their $25 distributor kit, and literally eat their initial inventory, after the first couple of nos. However, I'd bet that someone who devotes four years of their life and a $100,000 student loan to their business might not give up on it so easily. They'd also be acutely aware of what they are getting themselves into and what is necessary to achieve success. Bethany potentially offers a solution to the single greatest cause for failure in this profession -- lack of commitment. They'd also be much better equipped to evaluate and select the opportunities they wish to pursue, thus offering a solution to arguably the second greatest cause for failure -- lack of loyalty. Also, considering this is a marketing degree with an emphasis on network marketing graduates would still be eligible for conventional marketing positions, and would be prime candidates for M.L.M. corporate positions.
Also, consider the credibility boost to the industry if Bethany College should succeed with this program and any of the other 2,350 private colleges and universities in the U.S. (4-year and 2-year) should decide to duplicate it.
A Myth That Became a Fact
Until now no U.S. college or university has ever included M.L.M. as part of their accredited curriculum. No, not Harvard or Yale, and no, not even University of Illinois at Chicago. The latter offered, years ago, a for-profit weekend "certification" course (meaning someone had access to a laser printer) as part of their Continuing Education program. That's where campuses have empty classrooms on nights and weekends and rent them out to anyone who wants to teach something. I once taught a class in network marketing for four consecutive Tuesday nights at UNLV. The catalogue that listed my class also listed classes in UFOlogy and Tarot Card reading. That doesn't mean UNLV offers these classes. And no, not Utah Valley State College, although they did once offer courses tailored more to those seeking employment with an M.L.M. company. UTEP appeared to be close back around the turn of the century, but nothing came of it. To my knowledge, Bethany College will be the very first institution to finally make the "M.L.M. is taught in college" myth no longer a myth.
And they'll prove me wrong.
Founder & CEO - MarketWave, Inc.- http://www.marketwaveinc.com/