With unemployment remaining near all time highs, many people are turning to education to fill their downtime, specifically folks with undergraduate degrees wanting to continue their education and obtain master’s degrees. Although many folks are now questioning the value of graduate programs and undergraduate programs alike, many folks including myself still see value in obtaining this secondary education in order to gain more opportunities in the workplace. What I’m going to tell you below will help you if you’re still considering getting additional education, and I wish someone would have provided this advice to me when I was younger.
- An MBA or masters doesn’t guarantee you an increase in pay or instantly open more doors for you: The fact is, a Master’s degree is a costly endeavor, if you can’t immediately begin recouping the costs (which range from 40k- much more), or do so in the near future, ask yourself if it’s really the right thing to do now.
- Get a job that will pay for a portion of your continuing education: Just because you’re bored or jobless doesn’t mean that spending tons of money on continuing education is the right thing to do. You maybe better off spending more time concentrating on finding a job, and or finding an new employer willing to spend money on their employees to continue their education (sometimes in exchange for committing to working for them for a period of time following their graduation). Many companies will pay half or more for their employees. Consider this benefit as a part of your total compensation, while minimizing risk in debt on your part.
- Make certain it pays to have a Masters in your respective field: In some fields, you need a Master’s to even get a job, in other areas, Masters degrees aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. Why get a Master’s if it’s meaningless, maybe a certification is the way to go in your field.
- Obtain a Masters with an emphasis in something, general MBA’s and Masters degrees are relatively worthless. This one really hits home for me, I wish more than anything I would have known more about this when I obtained my MBA. As an accountant, a general MBA is really meaningless, I could have gotten much more knowledge if I would have selected a program that emphasized in Accounting, instead I chose a general MBA and wasted time in my opinion. As my MBA program was little more than a recap of my undergraduate studies. Here’s my advice, if you’re undergrad degree is finance, get a master’s degree with an emphasis in Accounting. Use your Master’s program as an opportunity to supplement your undergrad degree with something similar, but different and unique.
- Look at investing in a Master’s program as you would any other investment: You’re going to lay out a ton of money and lock yourself into payments for 10 or more years. You should look at this investment similar to how you would for your personal investments. There’s an opportunity cost in time and money that could ultimately be spent elsewhere. Instead of obtaining a Masters and spending hours upon hours of studying, you could use that time to develop your own website or small business and spend that time creating something that could make you money.
This article is out there to make you think twice about obtaining further education, to get you to question whether or not you should really spend so much money in the face of so much uncertainty. If you’re going to do it, then heed my advice above, find an employer who will help subsidize the costs and enter into a program that helps diversify your experience.
Check out all my other Career Advice under my personal finance tab, there’s tons of great info to help you!