Job vs Master’s: How to Make a Meaningful Decision

After completing a bachelor’s degree, many people have to make a crucial decision and choose between starting their career or pursuing higher studies. Some want to work for a few years after their graduation and then embark on further studies, while others prefer to complete their master’s degree before they venture into the corporate world. Nonetheless, this is a vital choice that decides the turf of how your career will turn out to be. With new technologies in learning changing the course of education, now is a good time to take full advantage of such opportunities.

What Exactly are You Choosing Between

One can understand the most significant problems of decision making under the umbrella of opportunity cost and value addition of each choice. Here’s the technical breakdown, which you might be interested in, and can come in handy.

Higher studies are divided into a total of 8 branches, two of which are the bachelor’s degrees (BA, BE, BTech, LLB) and the master’s degrees (MA, ME, MTech, LLM). Both are preceded by foundation degrees (in the UK, “Associate degrees” in the US) and followed by Licentiate degrees, Specialist degrees, Engineer’s degrees (Aerospace, Mechanical, Civil, etc.) First-professional degrees, Doctoral degrees (Ph.D., Engineering Doctorate, LLD).

With all these acronyms of the various courses that universities offer and the designations available for graduate bachelor’s at a steady rise, the choice can become a dilemma. To understand which one might work for you.

BONUS ROUND ft. Honours

An honours degree can have different meanings in the context of degrees and education systems. Typically, it’s referred to as a variant of the undergraduate bachelor’s degree that has a larger volume of course material or a higher standard of study, or both. Honours degrees are sometimes indicated by “Hons” after the degree abbreviation, e.g., “BA (Hons),” “B.A., Hons,” etc.

The Sooner The Better

The choice is essential for the final year or students completing graduation, but the decision is worthwhile. Even for those who are currently still in their graduation or anyone else considering higher education, it’s important to decide one’s path.

First and foremost, you need to devise a strategy based on where you currently stand. If the field in which you’re considering post-graduation does not require any specialization, you need not spend more on it for a fatter pay. On the other hand, professions in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) imply that a more in-depth specialization will guarantee better pay.

Advanced courses that require specialization also necessitate a considerable amount of in-depth knowledge and expertise, such as teaching, research, medicine, all mandatorily require a postgraduate degree. Think about it like this, how likely is it that you will visit an MBBS as opposed to a specialist. 

The time for this decision, however, is not the same for all. Some feel like switching fields in the middle of their bachelor’s, and some remain uncertain after completing their courses. While some start their careers and then want to change their fields after some time, some wish to do an additional course to move up in their company organization faster.

The crucial thing to decide, is if you can see yourself succeeding and growing in what you choose to do. If the market you want to be part of requires you to have more experience than technical knowledge, by all means, you should opt for experience. When they say “follow your passion,” it means that the technical expertise of subjects that one is passionate about will be the easiest to grasp.

With the introduction of digital courses and a significant rise in ed-tech startups that facilitate university degrees, many courses are now easily accessible online. As a result, many people can pick up majors in a relatively shorter duration and also switch fields easily. Consequently, the transition after completing a course in Arts, say English Literature, to starting a career in a technical field, say Data Analytics, has been made extremely easy.

Here lies the problem, with so many options landing in different fields and sectors, many people make an impulsive choice and end up regretting their decision. The most important thing to remember is that the courses, institutions, and other facilities will not abruptly disappear. The resources to learn will remain in their exact places, but if someone frequently hops from one choice to another, there will not be much scope for growth.

There are exceptions, like the people who start their career and decide to do courses along with their jobs. In some cases, the company employing the individual recommends specific courses to capitalize on the employees’ full potential. 

How to break it down?

As an applicant, this is the easiest and also the toughest part, to decide with which one you should go ahead. When you sit down and start to measure which one will work best for you, you’ll probably end up being more confused than before. To understand the gravity of choice clearly, consider this; while measuring the pros and cons, you’ll find scenarios in which a master’s degree would be ideal while other situations will require experience.

An employee working at a managerial level should ideally be considering an executive program which takes place on evenings or weekends. An entry-level employee/a fresher who wants to take up work while studying will find a distance, part-time, or an online course. The significant thing to notice in both instances is the value-added for the individuals.

  • Executive MBA (EMBA) – Designed for experienced professionals who wish to develop their leadership skills while they continue to advance their current careers.
  • MBA – Designed for early to mid-career professionals, this program will develop your full potential and open doors to genuinely global career opportunities.

A more significant factor that is almost as important as deciding the medium of education is the cost of tuition. While making a choice, you need to be assertive. A postgraduate degree will give you a better salary after four years of university and put a sizeable hole in your pocket. A job, on the other hand, will allow you to earn right now with slow and sometimes stagnant career growth.

What’s the risk?

Choosing to work right out of college isn’t as bad as it’s said to be. Although it has garnered a negative image, it’s an incredibly bold decision to make. Some of the greatest, modern-day business leaders started to work right after earning their bachelor’s degree. Starting a job as a young adult helps to gain meaningful career experience and establish significant networks and relationships in the industry. 

Eyeing a job immediately after graduation implies a certain level of confidence or spark which most companies look for when hiring freshers. The point of working after graduation is not to understand the “work environment” or “familiarize oneself with the corporate world,” it is to learn the practical application of the technical knowledge accumulated in the years of gathering information so far.

So, there is no real risk because there are no right or wrong choices. If you take your time, tread carefully, and make consciously aware decisions, you’ll be okay. If you depend on various articles (including this one), mentors, and counselors, you might make a choice that isn’t entirely yours. You’re a smart potato, who’s well capable of dealing with what life has to throw at you, so buck, stay sharp and get to work.


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