My daughter Marissa made her selection. She is going to Washington University in St. Louis for her MBA starting this fall! I am very proud. It got me thinking, when should you go to graduate school or seek additional schooling?
Graduate school is very expensive and time consuming. It takes two years and a bucket of money. Getting out of the workforce for two years to attend full time is very risky.
Imagine the opportunity cost – what else could you be doing with that money?
Here are some thoughts:
- Career change if you want to go into a field that requires an advanced degree or for which an advanced degree will enhance your experience.
- When there is a gap between your education and experiences and what the employers want. But don’t make an assumption. Be sure by asking questions. Marissa is moving out of a political life into the business world. Her education and political experience support a political life not a business career. The degree and experience in grad school will help her choose a field and translate her political experience into business credentials.
- If you have been out of the workforce for a while additional education can bring you up to date on current trends especially in highly technical fields.
- When the credential is required to do the job you want. If you want to be a doctor then grad school is mandatory. If you want to advance in business perhaps not. If you want to be a CPA then you need education to get that credential.
- If you did well in the academic life and are likely to do well in grad school then the degree, done well, can enhance. If you floundered in college and hated the academic life then seek out a program or a way to get the credential that fits with your academic style. Marissa was a great student so grad school is a good idea. But she learns best hands on so she sought out a program that emphasized experiential education where she will be a better fit.
- If you have the money it is a great idea. If you rack up significant student loan debt then find another way to get the credentials. The debt might not be worth it. Marissa has been saving so she will minimize debt.
- If the program itself is highly ranked then it is worth more than the same program from a low ranked school. Marissa selected the program ranked highest by several rating services including U.S. News and World Reports. She checked with employers and alumni to the jobs she can get when she graduates.
Marissa did the research and made a sound choice but there are no guarantees. Time will tell what she does with this choice!!