The value of earning a Master’s degree is better appreciated by someone who has finished it and not by someone who still aspires to acquire one. Being infrequently included among your typical list of career goals, your efforts in finishing a Master’s degree can be seen by many as being not directly contributory to your career growth. You may have also heard from a few that working on a graduate degree may turn out to be just a waste of time and money. And some may add more damage by claiming that a graduate degree does not guarantee you landing a better job or even adjustments in pay or benefits. Many even tend to downplay its importance; most of whom disdain the formal educational system that favors certain players and stakeholders, and their set of values. But people who have finished a Master’s degree have varied reasons why they decided to pursue and finish the degree.
This article draws mainly from this writer’s experiences in pursuing an MBA degree. Previously, he also started pursuing a Master’s degree program in Industrial Relations but decided not to finish writing the required thesis to complete the degree final requirements. His experiences after finishing his MBA include being belittled by specific employers (both real and those he imagined), or even being subtly ridiculed or envied by some people he knows. They include those who have started pursuing graduate studies but had to quit for one reason or another.
With discipline and focus, you have to round off all the requisites of a Master’s degree because:
1) it indicates the level of aptitudes that you can ably demonstrate if faced with a testy situation. The degree does not show potentials or even your mental prowess. But it can serve as a guide to people on how to assess your abilities and credentials.
2) you gain as a job applicant a definite edge, if push comes to shove, even when a graduate degree is not explicitly required. Take this with a grain salt from this writer who did recruitment works for over 15 years. Gaining an edge over in recruitment situations happens especially when all applicants to a job vacancy have their Master’s degrees. If you happened to lack the degree, your application may just be ignored or placed at the bottom of the files.
3) doing so marks the social abilities of the person who has acquired it. Master’s programs require the need to build and hone skills as a member and leader of a team. People who have a Master’s degree have more chances of improving the ability to work with teams. While in class, the learner will soon find out that [s]he needs the valuable help of others to complete assignments, projects, and tests.
4) you will have all the opportunities to test your skills in a different educational setting. The workload while pursuing a Master’s degree becomes heavier and more demanding as the learner (student) needs to focus his (her) limited attention and time on many competing interests and passions within the same period. The learner needs to do more readings and researches that are best done when shared actively with others in the program. And at the same time, the learner has to come up with an image of being a professional student, despite the load, which will speak volumes about the character of the student.
5) you will be provided with opportunities to do an independent, research-oriented study. The lessons and experiences you gain will expand your horizon after your have finished the program. As such, you may have to pursue a Master’s degree just for the sake of it, which remains to be the best reason and not because someone else’s interests or inducements have persuaded your to pursue the degree. In the process, you become more capable in motivating yourself inwardly, and not mainly through outside pressure.
6) you beef up your reserved ammunition in handling life’s ups and downs with critical life lessons. And the degree consequently widens your perspectives when facing and formulating thoughts and ideas. Most of all, you get rewarded the benefits of learning from a graduate school setting and getting trained in a more defined and clearer path of thinking. Depending on how serious you have studied during the program, your training will go a long way and become most useful as a strong anchor especially in life’s many and ever competing distractions.
And with the degree tuck under his sleeve, this writer asks: “Was it worth it?” Or the question should have been: after having finished a Master’s degree, has one’s quality of life become even better or happier? For sure, it has been. Some certainty of happiness can be gained when a devoted student has finished a Master’s degree. Not everyone has the resources, time, focus and discipline to pursue a Master’s degree. Not a small educational accomplishment by itself, a master’s degree is inestimably worth finishing. And it does not matter where you finished your Master’s degree. It does not matter, too, in what field of concentration you have focused on. You have acquired it honestly and thru hard work. Be well-pleased of an educational degree that you will always have for the rest of your life.