Once you have that bachelor’s degree in your hand, you have a brand new decision to make: Begin your career right out of school or enroll in graduate school to continue your education? With an undergraduate education becoming more accessible, do you need a graduate degree to stand out when competing for jobs in our […]
Once you have that bachelor’s degree in your hand, you have a brand new decision to make: Begin your career right out of school or enroll in graduate school to continue your education?
With an undergraduate education becoming more accessible, do you need a graduate degree to stand out when competing for jobs in our current economy? Is real world experience more valuable?
I asked the members of our community where they stood on this issue:
If I have the real world experience, is it necessary for me to go to grad school? Will it enhance my chances of moving forward in my career? What do you guys think? What’s been your experience?
Here’s what they had to say…
Define your career path & your goals:
Allison Cheston: It’s a great question and one that has a frustrating response: it depends. What are you trying to achieve? Is there a next level job that requires grad school? It may enhance your chances of moving ahead, but I believe that it’s mostly about what you do with your new learning that counts.
Melissa: I think that the answer depends on whether you want to learn, what you want to learn, and how you want to learn it. At the end of the day, though, go to grad school for the skills you will gain rather than the letters after you name—the skills are the better long-term investment. Consider where you will obtain more of the skills that you want–2 years of school or 2 year of work.
Choose Grad School:
Katie Perry: I think grad school is worth is, because Master level positions pay more, allow you to advance your career, etc. Also, when you are in the classes, you learn new, updated techniques to use for your work.
William Sanchez: As a Staffing Consultant, my experience has been that a graduate degree is usually a “Preferred” requirement for most company positions. Graduate degrees holders are generally viewed as individuals who have developed a career focus, and have completed more in-depth preparation for that career.
What’s the ROI of a graduate degree?
Renee Powers: I’m earning my graduate degree with an assistantship, meaning I don’t pay a penny for my MA. I think that’s the only way to do it. That said, some industries require an advanced degree, some don’t. I can’t be a professor without my PhD so that’s why I’m sitting in a graduate office that I share with 15 others. But, for other paths, I think the value of a bachelor degree is going down. If you can earn an advanced degree without going into debt, I think it’s a good way to keep yourself ahead of the game.
Travis Power: Get your employer to pay for your education. They will have an extra bit of interest in your professional development while you are employed by them. You will have a job where you can apply your newly learned skills, and most likely you will see an immediate ROI. Depending on the cost of the education and your situation your payback period can be less than 3 years, or immediate if your employer pays for it.
Get real world experience:
Kevin Li: I’ve talked to a few recruiters and with this economy, 2 years of experience is worth more than 2 years of grad school in my field (marketing).
Edward Antrobus: Aside from career advancement that requires a graduate degree, I’d say “real-world” experience is better than an advanced degree.
Why not do both?
Jamie Nacht Farrell: I’m a huge proponent of “getting out in the world and getting some experience” and THEN going back to grad school once you have an idea of what you want to do. I think “real world experience” for 5-10 years and then grad school.
Mike Diliberto: The advantage of pursuing my MBA after a few years in the business world was that I found myself re-evaluating past business decisions in the light of the new perspectives that I gained during my studies. I learned quite a bit in school and quite a bit more in these types of retrospective analyses. Rather than eliminating the need for graduate school, I found that real world experience enhanced the benefit I received from my studies.
What do you guys think? What has your experience taught you? Share in the comments below or in the original conversation thread.
Join us on Thursday February 3 at 8 PM EST for our Network Roulette Debate on this topic and help us decide which is the best choice for young professionals to make.