With the current economic climate and the reality that numerous university graduates swell the job market every year, having a Master’s degree can spell the difference between a hire and a turn down.
In terms of skills, going to graduate school was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. My professors would discuss with the class case studies and theories that were but footnotes on reference books back in my university days. Attending graduate classes also gave me an opportunity to hone my presentation skills and get constructive feed backs from classmates who are much more experienced than I was. Getting acquainted with the latest developments in the field and having the venue to debate and pick these apart prove immensely helpful in my job as well. One can’t complain about meeting like-minded individuals who are themselves connected to institutions – network that could prove valuable in the long run.
There are some drawbacks, though. One would be the tuition fees. Schools and universities are aware that in these tough times, people go back to school to gain more training, hence more demand, and this leads to sometimes prohibitive course fees. As some might not be able to juggle work and studies, a number of graduate students opt to study full time and are then dependent on loans or other family members who can help. This could be a source of strain on the finances as one lost income and an additional burden for at least the duration of the program. Consider your personal finances. Can you afford to pay for your own school fees? Is it practical to take a loan on top of other obligations one might have? These are important considerations.
For those who manage to work and study, it would be a very tight schedule. Working five days a week and waking up real early for morning classes Saturdays can be a bit draining. The amount of paper work and research that had to be turned out can get daunting at times that in the 10 months I was in the program, I was in constant busy mode and was sometimes irritable and uncommunicative (according to the spouse). It was intellectually stimulating and all but I would often find myself tired and burnt out. But I’m sure that with enough determination and careful balancing, one can get used to the grind.
While all this is true, having an MA attached to your name will not necessarily ensure a job. Consider your field and the current job market. Don’t just jump on the MA bandwagon but do a thorough research to make sure that getting that MA will work out for you.