Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Should You Get A Master's Degree Or Graduate Degree

Master's Degree

I want to answer the question as to whether or not you should get a master's degree or some other postgraduate degree. And to that I ask, why are you asking? What's driving you to look into a master's degree? Do you really, really want to go back to school? When I was rapping at my undergrad program, I was asking myself a very similar question of whether or not I should pursue a master's degree or some sort of degree after I graduate.

  • When I think about it, it wasn't something that I wanted to pursue because I felt I needed it, it was something I thought I should pursue because I thought I had to do it. My plan was to do some research, first of all, I talk to my science professors and the thing that they told me was that "yes" I need a master's degree and if I want to work in the states and be treated seriously you might as well skip the masters altogether and get your Ph.D.

At the same time I was suspicious of their advice because my follow-up question was, what kind of jobs could I get out there after I graduate either with a bachelor's or with a Ph.D.? And the answer wasn't that great as they hesitated. So my suspicion was that the professors are coming from a place of academia, coming from a place of college or universities where a Ph.D. or masters are highly respected. To me, I felt they were living in an academic bubble and they didn't have an accurate picture of what's outside of academia and what's happening in the work world.

It was just a suspicion I thought that maybe I'm wrong, so I wanted to pursue this further, I decided to talk to professors outside of the science faculty and these are professors that I highly regarded, and I thought that they would give some really good advice, so I asked them, what was out there? What are possible career options, and they just give me wishy-washy generic advice that I could have found anywhere and it was really disappointing, I mean, you've got these professors who are very, very smart but they have no idea what's out there? We're looking to them for some sort of guidance and I realize these guys don't really know anything else beyond their course material.

What Are The Average Income For The Various Degrees

  • Bachelor's Degree: $40,000/year
  • Master's Degree: $45,000/year

One of my business classes professor put up a slide on what the average incomes would be for the various degrees. I remember how disappointing that was, I think for a bachelor's degree, you're making on average about $40,000 a year, and of course, these are all stats in terms of right after graduation, these are entry-level jobs, but with a master's you're looking $45,000. I'm sure these stats are way different now, I mean, this was 10 years ago, but at that time, a $5,000 difference in earning potential was nothing, it did not justify me spending tens of thousands of dollars as well as 2 to 3 years of my time into a master's program.

You Don't Need A Master's Degree or Ph.D. To Break Into The Industry.

I wasn't done, I wasn't fully convinced, I really want to exhaust all my efforts so what did I do? I networked with people in the industry, I reached out to people in the food sector, biotech, Pharma, and even the natural health products industry, they all said the same thing, you don't need a master's degree or Ph.D. to break into the industry, you can do very well yourself with just the bachelors.

That pretty much sealed the deal for me, I made the decision that I don't need a master's degree and if I ever need to further my education well, guess what? The school is waiting for me. universities, colleges, they're going to be there forever. 

Get Some Real Experience In The Industry

The more I dug into it the more I realized was that what I needed right now is a real experience. Provide way more value to me than me spending 2 to 3 years back in school and spending tens of thousands of dollars. So get some real experience in the industry, go at it as hard as I possibly can, learn as much as I can to network with as many people as I can, so that I can get that next promotion. Get me into a leadership role thereby increasing my earning potential significantly. If I hit some sort of ceiling and realize that my earning potential is capped in order to get to the next level I need to get a master's degree or an MBA, well, hey, I'll just go to school then, and better yet, chances are a company that I'm working for will probably pay for it. 

Should You Get A Master's Degree?

For those of you reading or considering whether or not you should get a master's degree? Let me ask you this, does that job that you want, require you to have a master's degree or Ph.D.? Well, if yes, then hey, by all means, get your masters. if no, don't bother. If you're not sure definitely start looking into it, do your homework, talk to people, reach out to them and ask them what the requirements are. Otherwise, I say skip grad school and get as much as you can out of the degree you've spend slaving over the last 4 years over. 

That is it for me, thanks for reading.

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