Master's or work after graduation?

Graduation came and went. You passed your state exams, and your thesis was a success. Now you’re faced with a difficult decision: Should you continue your education with a Master’s program or should you enter the workforce? This can be a daunting decision to make and is dependent on several conditions including what you intend to do after graduation. To help you navigate this decision, here are the questions you should ask yourself when trying to decide.

What did you study for your Bachelor’s degree?

This might seem like an obvious question, but it’s nonetheless an important one. There are some fields where getting a Master’s degree significantly increases your expected pay growth while in others it won’t make much of a difference. For example, according to Forbes getting an MBA that focuses on Finance can increase your pay growth by 88 percent, while a graduate degree in Nursing won’t get you that much more money. If your Bachelor’s program becomes more lucrative with a Master’s degree, it might be a great idea to fast track your career with graduate school.

What can you afford to spend?

Depending on the university, graduate programs can be expensive. Sometimes the best indicator of whether you should enter graduate courses is if their price tag fits in with your budget. Since you already asked yourself if getting a Master’s would benefit you financially, you can weigh that with how much you will be paying to see that kind of pay growth in your career. If you’re going to be spending a large amount of money for a degree that won’t give you a good return on your investment, then perhaps getting work experience is better. When you’re looking at university graduate programs, many schools, including UNYP, will offer scholarships or financial aid, as that can help bring the cost down. 

How does your CV look to an employer?

Whether you worked your way through your undergraduate program or studied full-time, a great CV will have a good blend of both professional experience and education. If you have a great academic record but are shy on job positions, then taking a break between your Bachelor’s and Master’s programs could allow you to fill in those gaps. Afterall, you could bring a unique perspective to a Master’s program after you’ve spent a year or two in the workforce.

On the other hand, several Master’s programs offer great opportunities, such as internships or access to conferences, that will give your credentials an extra edge. For example, if your previous job positions aren’t as impressive as you’d like, showing that you interned at a well known international company or participated in something like Model United Nations or Young European Council will elevate your CV that much more. So as you’re looking at programs, also take into account the current condition of your CV and what you need to give it that extra something that will grab an employer’s attention. Evaluate a university’s student clubs, internships, and extracurricular activities when making your decision. Afterall, a Master’s degree is supposed to demonstrate an extra level of knowledge, so make sure you see the value the program will add to your credentials.

What is your reason for going?

Perhaps one of the most important questions to ask, why exactly do you want to go to graduate school? Are you excited to gain more knowledge and expertise in a certain field or are you going because you’ve been in school your entire life and you don’t have a job lined up for you after graduation? Understanding your motivations can help you make the most of your graduate studies and make sure you don’t end up graduating without an idea of where you are headed.

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