Join Workforce Or Study For Post Graduate Degree?

You have earned your bachelor’s degree and are probably at a crossroads wondering whether you should pursue postgraduate studies or enter the workforce. (12 minutes read)

You have earned your bachelor’s degree and are probably at a crossroads wondering whether you should pursue postgraduate studies or enter the workforce. Getting a post-graduate qualification may lead to a premium lifestyle, while work experience early on may equip you with those practical skills that cannot be learned at university.

Indeed there are several factors to consider to determine which option will best fit your needs or give you the maximum benefit in the long run. It is wise to look at the pros and cons on both sides so that you can make the best decision.

For starters, a few considerations to bear in mind include your financial capacity, the subject or course that you might study, the skills you can acquire, the return on your investment you expect, and your commitment to staying the course. Before any of this, ask yourself why you are choosing to pursue graduate studies or join the workforce.

Getting a Master’s Degree

A decisive element while considering taking up graduate studies is the wage payoff you are going to get after you are employed with this additional academic merit. While higher salaries are given to those with higher education qualifications in some fields, there are still a number of employees with master’s degrees who earn just as much as those with bachelor’s degrees and even less in some cases. This calls for some homework on exploring those career opportunities which can get you higher salaries if you pursue master’s degree.

The cost of the study is another aspect to take into consideration. While gaining a postgraduate degree may give you a bigger pay cheque, you also need to consider the additional costs of studying. You need to determine whether your finances are sufficient to cover all expenses for post-graduation degree. If your finances fall short and you are still adamant about getting that post-graduate degree, you can apply for scholarships or financial aid.

Some post-graduate programmes are geared towards the development of an in-depth knowledge of the subject. In this case, evaluate whether studying will ultimately benefit your career, especially if your goal is higher pay. Some employers may credit a specialisation with extra compensation whereas others may not. You also need to contemplate on how interested you feel about the specific course, since completing a master’s degree may be a challenge if the topic is not an area of special interest for you.

Joining The Workforce

Financial reasons may explain why you are not keen on further studies. Your budget may not be enough for a master’s degree. One advantage to joining the workforce immediately is that you get earning power. It may not be as much money as you dreamed of, but it may be sufficient to support yourself.

Joining the workforce gives you an early start in climbing the corporate ladder. You begin to acquire professional skills and experience that might be beneficial to your career later on, and you will gain this quicker than those people spending one or two years getting a master’s degree.

At the workplace, you may also be offered career advancement opportunities that can compensate for the wage payoff that employees with postgraduate degrees may receive. Another benefit of joining the workforce is that you have time to create a professional network. You can meet the right people who can help you achieve your career goals.

You can also assess whether your career goals actually require further study to avoid investing in a master’s degree that may not be useful. As mentioned earlier, some occupations will not mean extra compensation for an additional degree since they might prefer a solid professional background. In such cases, an early start in the workforce can give you a competitive edge, especially since not all skills can be acquired academically.

Finding A Midway

If you think that more studying may be beneficial to your career advancement, you can always look into professional certifications that tackle only the specific area of knowledge or skill that you want to strengthen. This is not as expensive as pursuing a post-graduate degree but results in the enhanced skills you need.

In some cases, work experience actually gives you leverage if you are considering pursuing further education at a later date. If you are in the field of business, several years’ work experience is an advantage since some MBA programmes highly value experience when considering applications to their post-graduate courses.

Whether you choose to study or join the workforce, either option can improve your professional character. It is only a matter of selecting what option will best suit your priorities, and what choice would be more cost-effective in the long run as you pursue your goals.

Aakash Balasubramanian
A budding entrepreneur with a huge appetite for travel and adventure for food. I believe every idea can be big, but not everyone possesses the skills to make something grand of their idea. I feel confident of possessing myself with the requisite skills to push my ideas to the next level.
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