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To do or not to do a Masters?

19 June, 2018Andreas Beckwith
man-studying-on-computer

If you are a student coming to the end of your degree and looking to enhance your profile, or if you’re in employment and looking for a career change, or if you just want to stand out from the crowd, you have probably considered doing a Masters Degree. 

Studying a Masters is an important decision and requires commitment of both time and money as well as an idea of what you want to do after your Masters. While there are several benefits to studying a Masters, it doesn’t provide a guarantee of a job, and is not for everyone. So here are some things to think about:

Specialisation

If you are looking to specialise in a certain area, then a Masters could definitely be for you.  For example, if you have studied a generalist undergraduate degree such as Business Management, and you want to go into a specific area like Accounting or Marketing, then a Masters could give you a head start in the area you want to specialise in.  It could also open up lots of networking opportunities to meet people in the industry you want to work in.  You could get the opportunity to attend industry events and fairs which are a great way to learn about a particular sector and build up contacts.

A new direction

If you have been working and are looking to get into another sector where you have little to no experience, a Masters could provide a really good base to change careers.  Not only would you learn new skills, but you can also take advantage of your university’s career service.  You could also do an internship whilst you study, and gain practical experience in the area you want to go in to.

A Masters degree can really boost your career prospects and make you stand out from the crowd.  According to a recent report from The Sutton Trust, people with a Masters earn on average £200,000 more over their working life than someone with only an undergraduate degree.  It could make the difference to you getting a promotion or moving into management, as some companies may require a Masters for managerial and directorship roles.

Question of time and value

A Masters is a big step-up from undergraduate study and requires considerable dedication.  A full-time Masters is one year, so if you are already working it means giving up work for a year.  You can do a Masters part-time, which makes it two years rather than one, designed to let you continue working.  But you need to consider what works for you. A full-time job and part-time study plus all the other things that come with life can be a lot to manage.

You should ask yourself whether studying a Masters is a productive use of your time and money, or whether you would you be better served working in the industry you are interested in to gain knowledge and experience that way.  A Masters doesn’t automatically make you more employable, nor does it guarantee senior positions.  The value of a Masters can vary from industry to industry, and even role to role. That’s why it’s important to look carefully at the course content and delivery; does it give you relevant industry knowledge and insights that can be applied in your role?

Decision Time

Doing a Masters could be a great career move that boosts your employability, but with such a large investment in time and money, it’s not for everybody. You have to consider what it is you want and where you want to get to, and then decide if a Masters will help you achieve that. Do as much research as possible to decide whether it’s right for you. 

If you decide that a Masters is not for you, many universities offer short course professional qualifications that can give you industry-recognised qualifications that may suite you more than a Masters, both professionally and personally.

We offer both full-time and part-time Masters Degrees, for information check out our dedicated postgraduate page.