What is a Master’s Degree Worth?

Many students are considering whether or not to get a master’s degree because the economy is so weak. In fields like finance, engineering and science a master’s might be essential. If you are a liberal arts or business grad who wants to go into business, go through a thorough thought process on the pros and cons, the timing and the experience you may need before you go.

While data shows that students with master’s earn roughly 15% more than students without master’s, it is not a “safe haven.” In fact, employers often take a dim view of students who have only been in school. So, if you are thinking about getting a master’s and you just graduated from college, consider working part-time even if that work is volunteer work. Future employers will want to know that you can work through and with others, that you have strong thinking and problem-solving skills and that you know how to shepherd a process to completion. Many of these skills can only be learned from a job or volunteer responsibilities. If you “hide” in school and miss these experiences, you might be a twenty-five year old with very slim job options instead of increased job options.

So, figure out how you can build your leadership skills, your influence skills by working through and with others and your ability to deliver projects and plans on a deadline. Look for problems within the organization that you can solve. Find ways to save the company money or improve the corporate culture. Figure out how you can make real contributions through your work so that you can leave the position better than when you started. That is job security—master’s or not.

New York Times
by the Editors

Room for Debate recently published two forums on the burdens of student loans, and heard from a lot of former students, parents, professors and others who shared personal horror stories, blunt advice and critical observations about higher education.

A number of economists and education researchers say that the student debt problem, while real, has been overblown by the press and loan-forgiveness advocates, and that most students do not graduate with too much debt.

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