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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » A college degree as credibility (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Close.Up.Dave
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Obviously you don't need a degree to do card tricks. Or in some cases you don't even need one to build multi-billion dollar companies. That being said, this December I will be graduating with a degree in Speech Communication specializing in Public Relations (I double minored in Philosophy and Journalism).

The reason I mention all of this is because I'm looking for people's opinions on how I can best utilize my degree in my magic. I often see corporate performers list their business degrees as credibility for business oriented shows, and Steve Cohen utilizes his degree in Psychology as a way to enhance the mystery around his mind reading miracles.

I decided to brain storm this idea a bit on my own and came up with a couple ideas:

1. Create a motivational show to market to Public Relations agencies. It would specifically relate the similarities between the public views of magicians (as deceptive tricksters) and of PR workers (as deceptive "spin" doctors). The tricks would be surround that central theme and ultimately convey the message that projecting the appearance of transparency often produces the most amazing results. I mentioned this idea to my teacher (who worked for an agency for 15 years) and she loved it. Obviously I would need to write the show to make it a more solid idea.

2. Create a motivational show to market to high schools or colleges. It would be a show that encourage kids to follow their dreams and to overcome obstacles. I've had quite a strange life up to this point and I think a lot of people my age or younger would benefit from hearing my story. Obviously someone who is older might have more stories to tell, but people my age and younger could probably relate to me better than someone who is much older.

These are just some ideas that I came up with and I'd love to hear other people's ideas. Thanks!

Dave
Mindpro
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To me a degree doesn't offer any advantages or make one bit of difference unless it is directly related such as in Stev's case. Or unless it's in teaching education if you are presenting in schools. I sat in on a meeting during a consultation with a discrict of school assembly coordinators, activity directors and advisors. We reviewed about forty promo packages from assembly peformers and presenters. What I observed was quite amazing and not what most would typically think. On about four or five occasions, when they saw someone with a degree in something non-education related (one actually was someone who had a degree in broadcast commuications), several members of the committee commented on it saying "I guess the broadcasting thing didn't work out so well so now I'll be a magician". Word for word that is what they said, along with similar comments on others presenters with degrees that seem not to be doing work that utilized their specialized education. They immediately discarded every one of these performers or presenters from consideration.

To me mentioning a degree, unless directly applicable, has no benefits at all. This meeting confirmed that belief even more. It also confirmed the way they perceive kids entertainers, magicians specifically, which was not very favorable. Now again remember this was for Assemblies, not after school or PTA-type entertainment.

As far as the high school motivational show, they are a dime a dozen, especially the theme you mentioned. Unless your story is the featured highlight and it offers useful, applicable benefits that can directly benefit students, it may simply get lost in the shuffle. Yes these programs still exist but have or a good many years now, and schools rarely will repeat the same assembly. Once they've had it, they're looking for something else. My advice to anyone pursuing the school market is to create a unique theme or topic that is directly of interest and benefit to them to offer yourself the best chances for success.
TheDean
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Joshua Jay speaks to how collage has helped him in magic... worth a look-see.

Video Here:
http://www.youtube.com/user/ohiostatewri......QSgiD71w

Hope that serves...
Dean
<><
Dean Hankey, *M.D. - The Dean of Success Solutions!
Serving & Supporting YOU and Your Success!
"Book More Shows... Make More Money... SERVE MORE PEOPLE! - Not Necessarily In That Order…"

(*Marketing Doctor) Smile
Close.Up.Dave
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Mindpro, thanks for the reply. I definitely understand where you are coming from and think the things you said are great to hear. So what, in your eyes, would make for my degree to be directly applicable? (if at all) A friend of mine who has his doctorate in Speech Comm does motivational speaking on creativity; he told me recently that I should go for my masters at a minimum. Maybe the reasons you listed were why. Although it makes me wonder how he started doing creativity talks or writing creativity books when he studies communication.

I see a lot of magicians on agent's websites (who are big name corporate pros) list their degrees that they have as something that adds to their credibility. I'm wondering why this seems to add to their credibility when it can take away from others?

To be honest, everyone I meet when performing (when the subject of education comes up) asks me why I'm bothering to get an education if I'm already good at magic. The answer I always give is that what I'm learning is actually helping me promote myself, etc.

I don't necessarily need to do any sort of motivational type talks. I just was looking to see if my degree added to my credibility, or if it could be directly applied to some sort of show. Perhaps it might be worth waiting a few years to see where else life takes me.

Dean, thanks for the link, I plan on watching it when I get home Smile

Sincerely,

Dave
Bill Hegbli
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Many times the sales department of a company hold sales training at home headquarters. This is usually when magicians are hired to convey the theme of the training classes through their magic.

This is also true if one could break into the Industrial Trade Show Business, here you are used as a pitchman to draw potential clients to their products. Again, combining magic presentation with the companies message.

Magic and Communication can be a good tool to have, as well as acting and theater training.
Scott Burton
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Unlike perhaps when 40 years ago when my parents were in the job market, a university degree no longer guarantees a secure job. With so many people earning degrees these days, it's become simply the minimum requirement to compete. Undergrads these days must prove their worth above and beyond just presenting their degree.

I see this situation in parallel to performing and business. With so many people having undergraduate university degrees, it is no longer all that significant to mention. A Phd (or perhaps to a lesser extent a master degree) in a field directly related to the value you provide I can see being worthy of stressing (a "Dr." in front of your name would be great!).

As a Commerce Honors Degree graduate myself, I remember the pride of my degree thinking that I was so prepared (on the Dean's Honour List...oh ya!) until the real world presented itself. Graduation is really only the beginning stages of learning. Focusing too much on promoting your degree may actually hurt your credibility as people will look for real-world experience and results that are not being stressed.

A person certainly does not need to be a university graduate to become recognized highly in a field such as communication, business, etc. My thinking is that a degree gives the graduate a set of tools for their tool box (which can certainly be an advantage). How a person uses - or does not use - those tools will determine the graduate's success. University graduates can certainly be a total failure in working. As mentioned, credibility comes from what you can and have done for others.

But is there value in mentioning it? I think so. My opinion is that it isn't something to put special emphasis on.

Just some thoughts. Hope they help.
TheDean
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Super quickly, then I’ll have to come back early next week. (Cuz I owe you guys some answers on another thread… just slammin’ is all. – A good thing.)

From the BUSINESS and Marketing perspective, you ‘credentials, degrees, designations’ are as important as you ‘appropriately’ make them.

I realize that this may get a broad range of replies and response, but PLEASE pay attention to the “APPROPRIATLY” in the comment.

Though it CAN be used, over used and/or under used, this is something that can be applied in your business and marketing depending on how you choose to ‘appropriately’ use this information and designation in your business marketing.

Gotta go, but I think you get the basic jist anyway. Some will right away, other may need some clarity and distinctions offered and added... that's ok. just wanted to share a quick .02 cents worth.

Hope that serves…

I am at your service and in HIS Service,
Deano In Reno
<><
Dean Hankey, *M.D. - The Dean of Success Solutions!
Serving & Supporting YOU and Your Success!
"Book More Shows... Make More Money... SERVE MORE PEOPLE! - Not Necessarily In That Order…"

(*Marketing Doctor) Smile
KevinWisch
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Close Up Dave, a few thoughts since I am a somewhat recent MA,MBA graduate and probably around your age (28). I landed a Marketing Manager position with Intel right out of school. While I'm not a "magician", I'd say my father is probably one of the best close-up guys in the world and I've always been honored to have him as my Dad. I have a great love for the art because of him.

1) A degree is "worth" whatever value someone else gives to it. School name brand, type of degree, rank of school, etc all play a role in how much value your degree has. To get to where I wanted to be, I knew I had to compete with the Wharton's and Harvards of the world. This gave me two choices- 1) Go to Wharton or Harvard or 2) Get one more meaningful degree than my competitors had so I could level the playing field. I chose number two and, therefore, I got two Master's Degrees (MA in Corporate Communication, MBA in Marketing).

2) A degree's value in "magic", I would imagine is quite small in almost all cases. Yes, Steve Cohen talks about his psychology degree, but that isn't the reason people hire him or go to his show. They go to his show because his show has cache and prestige being at the Waldorf. I can almost guarantee you that the Waldorf didn't hire him because he had a psych degree. They hired him because he could entertain them and because he had recommendations of his peers and network. He markets the show well- he's priced the tickets right, requires people to come in "white glove attire" and acts very "stately" throughout his magical performances. All of that isn't by accident but well planned.

3) If you know you ONLY want to do magic, then a degree beyond what you're getting isn't worth much. However, if you think at any point you might want to enter the business world, then your friend is wise- get at least a Master's degree if you can. Getting that degree gives you options; I have many friends who'd say that they wouldn't care if it was in basket weaving- having an MA gives you credibility and shows employer's that you're in this for the long haul.

4) That said,get as much education early-on as you can, but for the right reasons. I knew what I wanted to be (a Marketing Manager at a Fortune 100) and knew what I needed to do to get there. Most people said I was "too young" for my degrees (I had my MA when I was 24 and my MBA when I was 26) but because I knew what I needed to get to where I wanted to be, I simply tuned them out. I am the one who is laughing now. Smile

5) I wouldn't waste my money on any of the specific Marketing "classes" that magicians pedal. Buy yourself a copy of the classic "Marketing Management" by Philip Kotler, read it cover to cover and you'll know more about marketing than anyone, I repeat, ANYONE in magic claims to know. There are so few people in magic who utilize true high-level Marketing strategy, segmentation, messaging, etc and too many performers who concentrate on tactics (i.e. creating a specific show, raising prices, etc).

Hope that provides some insight. I've often thought of writing a true "Marketing in Magic" book, because frankly, most magicians (including many who are acclaimed gurus in marketing in the magic world) THINK they know marketing, but trust me, they don't. Smile

All best,
Kevin

Quote:
On 2011-08-26 18:24, Close.Up.Dave wrote:
Mindpro, thanks for the reply. I definitely understand where you are coming from and think the things you said are great to hear. So what, in your eyes, would make for my degree to be directly applicable? (if at all) A friend of mine who has his doctorate in Speech Comm does motivational speaking on creativity; he told me recently that I should go for my masters at a minimum. Maybe the reasons you listed were why. Although it makes me wonder how he started doing creativity talks or writing creativity books when he studies communication.

I see a lot of magicians on agent's websites (who are big name corporate pros) list their degrees that they have as something that adds to their credibility. I'm wondering why this seems to add to their credibility when it can take away from others?

To be honest, everyone I meet when performing (when the subject of education comes up) asks me why I'm bothering to get an education if I'm already good at magic. The answer I always give is that what I'm learning is actually helping me promote myself, etc.

I don't necessarily need to do any sort of motivational type talks. I just was looking to see if my degree added to my credibility, or if it could be directly applied to some sort of show. Perhaps it might be worth waiting a few years to see where else life takes me.

Dean, thanks for the link, I plan on watching it when I get home Smile

Sincerely,

Dave
TomBoleware
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It's kind of like that pretty parsley stuff they put on your food.
If it's there you can expect to pay extra. Smile

Most of the older uneducated self made millionaires (and it is many) had one thing in common.
They all wish they had a better education. And many did get it later on in life.
You need it, maybe not to do, but to be.

I too think it's worth mentioning somehow.

Tom
"Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week"--Lori Greiner

www.tomboleware.com
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