4 answers

Is it wise to study for a Masters when most of the jobs you are looking for requires only a Degree? How much more powerful is a Masters compared to a Degree?


I'm someone who is focused on lifelong learning, and I would prefer to stick to learning more about the world around me, rather than starting work so early and simply watch the money come in. Most adults tell me that once you see those digits in your banks account go up, very few would want to go back to studying.

By the way, if I'm correct, this is pertaining to Investment Banking in particular. May be applicable to other fields too. #computer-software #medicine #university #biomedical-engineering #investment-management #astronomy #academic-advising #investment-banking

4 answers

Charles’s Answer

Updated Southfield, Michigan

Depends on what the career is and where you want to go long term in your career. If your goal is senior VP or president at a Fortune 500 company, then a Ivy League degree would be smart. But having a masters or doctorate in like marketing is pointless (unless you want to teach it). Only because it's not necessary and for what the degree costs you would spend your whole life with a debt you can never file bankruptcy to alleviate. That there is the biggest question. Will the degree pay double or triple of what you paid to get it? So you can have the freedom later on to start a family, buy a house, or do whatever else your heart's desire is? Some jobs like finance, law, medical you need the piece of paper. But for careers like being an electrician, you can get training (sometimes free on the job) to ultimately get trained to make $6 figures a year. I have heard some skilled trades making $40k-$50k to start with no college degree. Don't fall into the trap you have to have college because you may not. But you do need education. College has quickly become over priced for many of the careers they offer.

For investment banking I would say a B.S. or an MBA would be helpful depending on where you want to work. However many selfmade entrepreneurs are saying colleges are only making workers and not entrepreneurs. And that mentoring with successful business people maybe the smarter thing.

Hagen’s Answer

Updated Fort Collins, Colorado

Hello Jessica,

Based on the tags you attached to your question you're looking at a corporate career and I would argue getting your masters would be a good idea for the following reasons:

  1. You're correct - it's much hard to go back to school later, not so much because you want more money, but because you end up with more financial and time obligations (work, marriage, children ...). It's easier to complete your education before you encumber yourself with those additional responsibilities.
  2. A 4 year degree is more or less a check box for most corporations today so it doesn't differentiate you candidacy for a job much. Therefore, a masters and doctorate are necessary for your resume to stand out in the crowd.
  3. A masters program does provide more depth and training related to a specific market. That depth and skill building can be very beneficial. Obviously, an MBA isn't just a good idea if you want to go into finance, you need the additional training and skills the MBA program provides to enter the financial services vertical. That can be true for other careers and as Charles indicates, a Masters or PHD is required to teach at the college level.
  4. Education is a privilege and it makes sense to take full advantage of it if it's not going to burden you with a lot of loans. Loans are not a good way to start out your adult life so I would balance your academic ambitions against a loan free exit from college.

In short, get as much education as you can afford while you're young and unencumbered. You won't regret that you did.



Nick’s Answer

Updated Mountain View, California

For an entry-level investment banking job, there is no reason to get a Master's degree, unless potentially you've performed poorly in undergraduate or have been admitted to a very prestigious (read: Ivy-league) Master's program that would grant you opportunities far beyond what you have at your undergraduate institution. Outside of giving me a small edge in recruiting fresh out of college, I've gotten very little out of my Master's in Engineering, all it means to me at this point is that I'm one year (it was a fasttrack program) older then other people in my same position. Particularly if you are considering investment banking, the Master's will only procrastinate your entry into the workforce. After two years of work experience, no one will care that you have a Master's, they'll be far more concerned with your time in the workforce.

If you're talking about an MBA, I believe there's value in that from the perspective of career changes, but it's definitely not something you should pursue until you have minimum two years working experience post-undergrad.

Jeremy’s Answer

Updated Herndon, Virginia

I would argue for getting a masters. Just not right away out of college. Complete your Bachelors and obtain a job in the field you would like (you mentioned Investment Banking). You will start at an entry level position. From there, take at least a couple years and see what path within Investment Banking you like to pursue (there are multiple paths within every field and company). From there, if you determine you need or would like a further degree, I recommend obtaining it at night while still working. Most often, companies will pay for (or, at least a portion of) the tuition for you. And, your career and work experience will not suffer. Also, you can then bring real-world knowledge to the classroom. Getting a masters right out of college does little in a field like Investment Banking because you won't have had the work experience to relate the information to.
Hope that helps and good luck!