Real World Risk Institute, a follow up

When he’s not pushing women’s weights at the gym or losing his temper on Twitter, he’s still pushing his useless/scam ‘Real World Risk Institute’ mini-certificate program on his followers:

I wrote about this in 2016 originally. Nothing has changed except the website no longer looks like it was created on GeoCities. [Here is the original homepage from 2016.]

According to the sales pitch, it’s cheaper than an MBA or a substitute for an MBA, which may be true, but unlike an MBA, his certificates are still useless as far as being a valued credential in the eyes of employers. Employers, by in large, want degrees, not certificates.

There is nothing about his certificate program that in any way confers mastery of material or expertise that would make it desired by employers. To get an MBA from a top-tier institution requires a competitive score on the GMAT, which is like an IQ test, but no such screening system exists for this. He says that no background knowledge of math, or anything for that matter, is required to apply or graduate. The only requirement is paying the tuition:

Also, many of its instructors are past attendees, sorta like an MLM scheme. For example, one of the instructors listed is “Trishank Karthik Kuppusamy, computer scientist and past attendee.” After you’ve wasted money on your useless certificate, the only way to recoup your losses is to become an instructor.

The price has been cut from $7,000 to $3,000, but that is because it’s being held online. If you’re a fan of Taleb’s books and have cash to burn, then perhaps meeting him in person would be worth the price alone, but then what’s the point if it’s being held online.

This is also why certificates, videos, and online learning, overall, faces major hurdles at competing with traditional higher ed. As much as both sides may bemoan the dumbing down of education, videos and certificates are even more dumbed down than college. College-level STEM courses often require having to complete problem sets, and then an exam to test for mastery under a strict and supervised setting. But what does a video signify, only that you have the attention span to watch a video?

Watching some videos or taking an online course may be good enough for developing a basic intuition of how something works, but as far as the ‘knowledge economy’ is concerned, employers want skills that can be applied to solve problems. Knowing how correlation works means understanding the actual formulas for calculating correlation and how to apply them, not just having vague idea of what it means.