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Should I go to graduate school or work after I graduate from undergraduate majoring in Statistics

I am planning to major in Statistics in college and I do not know if I should go to graduate school. #statistics

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Sebastien’s Answer

Hi Xueting,


There's no right answer to your question, this really depends on your exact situation and personal interests, but hopefully I can provide some insights. To give you some context, I studied computer science/statistics and got a Master's degree from Stanford.


First, you could definitely start working right after your undergrad, work a few years, and then go to grad school. This can be especially useful if you need more financial stability or if you're unsure about the sub-field you want to specialize in. I personally know a few people that did that and usually their graduate degree was quite different from their previous job. However it may be hard to go back to the student life after you start working.

If you decide to do a Master's after working a few years, keep in mind that your work experience will probably help you only getting into grad school, but won't impact much your opportunities after that.


To recap, in my opinion if you're sure you'll want to get a Master's at some point, you already know what you want to specialize in, and you can afford it, I would definitely suggest going to grad school directly. If you're unsure about the future and not financially stable, starting a job is a good way to give you some buffer.


Good luck!

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Kim’s Answer

Xueting,


I don't know about the field of statistics. But, I can tell you what I see in general, when it comes to being able to find a job. That is, people with Master's degrees, but no experience, are considered underqualified for the types of positions they are seeking, and over-qualified for entry-level positions. For that reason, and because school is so expensive, I would encourage you to get some work experience first before going for your Master's. You might even find an employer who offers tuition assistance. Wouldn't that be nice! You might also find that you want to go a different direction with your career, which would of course mean your Master's would be in a different field. Again, this is general advice, not specifically tailored for a career in Statistics. Hopefully someone in your field will see this question and give more input!


Best of luck!
Kim

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Steven’s Answer

Hi Xueting,

Both of the previous responses are absolutely correct!

Getting some work experience after completing your undergrad in statistics / mathematics will help you get some great working experience. And, it will open doors for you that having a Masters without experience will not. Even if the jobs are entry level, you will still have a very strong analytical foundation that most do not. Having the training and applied experience is very valuable to many employers.

During course of completing the statistics portion of my undergrad studies, I was also fortunate enough to be working to complete my Six Sigma Black Belt certification. What a tremendous opportunity for me to use my statistics training in a real-world situation and use my stats training immediately.

My fellow classmates at the end of the stats curriculum, in their naivete, were lamenting how difficult the was and vowed to never use it again. I was very vocal in my response to them (OK..., I called them boneheads!) explaining the power of tremendous value having a strong statistical understanding and its value in just my Black Belt project alone.

For many, statistics is beyond their capability. (To prove it..., try to explain normal curve theory to the uninitiated.) You, on the other hand, have a desire to help make the world a better place using the power of numbers..., please don't be afraid to use it.

Steven recommends the following next steps:

Complete your education to the best of your ability with a focus on Statistics and other mathematics skills (Calculus, fluid dynamics, etc.)
Look for intern opportunities where you can apply your learnings in real-world settings
Upon or near graduation, research companies looking for strong backgrounds in statistics and business analysis.
Also, look for companies that support learning and development opportunities as part of their benefits package.
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