Is Grad School Still Valuable?

Categories: Professional Development

mastersdegree

When I graduated with my BA, I wanted to get as far away from school as possible. I was ready to start my career and to know what it feels like to read a book for pleasure and not because it was part of my class readings. However I soon went back to get a certificate in Corporate Communications because my undergrad degree had not given me the hands on experience I needed to get a job in my field. An intense certificate program and rewarding internship got me started and I don’t regret at all having gone back to school.

It’s become common now to pursue further education after undergrad. Having a BA has almost become not enough, thus requiring more folks to head into graduate school, post grad certificate programs or apprenticeships. The need to keep on learning is so important as technology and innovation continue to change various industries such as healthcare, engineering, communication, etc. However, as so many of us get into post grad programs, has the value of further education become devalued?

A recent US Department of Education study found that the MBA was the most popular graduate degree, however liberal arts and humanities were the most popular undergraduate degrees. Are all these liberal arts majors getting their MBAs? This is happening because employers are more often asking for graduate degrees for positions that used to only require a bachelor’s. Even though the study found that companies are compensating those who complete their MBA at a top college about 36% more than a candidate with a bachelor’s degree, they also found that a degree from an ivy league school doesn’t guarantee graduates with leadership skills.

So with the change in the makeup of recent undergrad graduates, post grad studies are becoming highly favoured as a way to stand out. But how much can you stand out if everyone is going to grad school?

I asked a friend of mine who is currently switching grad school programs what motivated her to go to grad school in the first place. She replied that she “felt as though I had two choices; (1) work very hard to climb up the corporate ladder by putting in lots of time with an organization/corporation or (2) work in an organization/corporation I can see myself growing in while continuing my education. Then once I obtain my degree I’d have both the education and experience to back me up for whatever position I may want to apply for in the future.”

As she looks to switch programs,I asked her how is she determining whether the degree will be useful to her in her career. She noted that she asks herself questions such as  “what do you enjoy doing?” and “what career can you see yourself happily waking up to every morning?”. She believes that the answers to those questions as well as researching in high demand jobs that have longevity will form her post-graduation goals.

Knowledge is so powerful, that’s why the first word revealed in the Quran was ‘Iqra’ (read). Even  El Hajj Malik El Shabazz (aka Malcolm X) noted that ‘education is the passport to tomorrow’. So no matter what path you dream of or road you end up on, choosing to continue your education will be like choosing to travel with a flashlight instead of traveling in the dark. It’s your choice but having further education in whatever form, will always be beneficial.