So you’ve finally got your degree… Perhaps you’ve got a job, perhaps not. Half way through your twenties, is now the time for a Master’s degree, be it an MBA, MSc or MA?
There is definitely pressure to be better qualified in a competitive workplace, but it’s worth thinking long and hard before you jump. Having advised people for a number of years now, here is some of my professional advice.
Study vs. Work-experience: Academic qualifications are important, but so is work experience. A master’s degree doesn’t guarantee a better job, especially if those with only a bachelor’s have better experience and work skills. Remember companies hire great individuals, not certificates. So ask yourself whether 1-2 years of additional work experience will be a better investment.
Timing: Studying full-time (home or abroad) for 1-2 years will take you out of the job market and companies will hire and promote other people. If you’re currently employed, always extensively investigate promotion opportunities first. If a job in a management looks likely, it might be better to go for that and build a name for yourself and then look for a master’s later.
Making the most of it: Studying a masters will always add value, but sometimes that value is multiplied when you bring prior experience to the table. I’d normally suggest having 3-5 years of post-degree work experience before studying a masters. For an MBA, I’d suggest at least 3-4 years in management roles before it becomes worth it. If you’re not sure and want some advice, give me a shout using the contact button.
Cost: A master’s degree is expensive, plus you won’t be working for a year or two (so no salary). The fees range from 400,000 to 2,500,000 pesos (MXN) or more and the interest on loans can soon add to this. Think about the ROI; gone are the days that a master’s guarantees a pay rise on your return. Try and map out a likely career path and earning potential before you go for it.
No Silver Bullet: Many people I coach think a masters, especially an MBA, will fix their professional problems. While it’s certain to add some value, remember companies want great people with great knowledge, ideas and skills. Working hard, gaining experience and studying all contribute to being a successful professional. Don’t assume that having a masters automatically puts you above others who don’t have one and guarantees you that next management job. Push comes to shove, managers hire whoever is going to do the best job, paper or no paper.
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