Are you considering graduate school or an MBA?
Perhaps your current job isn’t exciting and you feel limited in your growth opportunities or you are between careers and looking for something to commit to.
Either way, higher education has likely crossed your mind. But here’s the thing, you probably don’t need it.
It is likely that your career goals do not require any further education and you are choosing to hide behind the hope that a shiny new diploma is going to fix all.
Before you make the commitment and attend grad school, do these three things.
1. Increase your networking.
Start talking to people to see what you get excited about and what piques your interest. Attend networking events in the area of work you hope an MBA or graduate degree will lead you. Ask people if they found higher education a requirement to get where they are today. You might be surprised to find the number of successful people that don’t have a higher education or any education at all.
Don’t limit your networking to working professionals, reach out to the college you are hoping to attend. Talk with faculty, staff, and students in the program you wish to become a part of. You might find that the academic life isn’t really calling to you or that students pursuing their MBA’s have completely different goals, such as becoming a professor.
Make sure your vision is aligned with what the program would offer and provide.
2. Calculate the return on investment.
If you are able to attend a top University you can expect to pay over $100,000 in tuition and fees. When you add in living expenses and interest on student loans that will add up quickly and in the end may exceed $300,000.
Take a long look at that number and ask yourself, “Is this worth it?”
Within this calculation, you need to consider how quickly you can pay this off, and support yourself at the same time. Evaluate how much more money this degree and knowledge is going to bring you and whether that is worth it in the long run.
Do research on the career path you want, what are the statistics of the job opportunities in the market and where is it going? A lot can happen in a few years and you want to make sure you are entering into a growing career field, not a diminishing one. It would be pretty unfortunate to dedicated your time and all these finances to graduate without a job offer or opportunity.
3. Reflect on what you really want.
Get deeply honest with yourself, are you pursuing an MBA or masters degree simply to check a box off the list or be able to put it down on your resume? Or are you going back to school because you simply don’t know what else to do?
Spend some time mapping out the vision of your future and the career path you ultimately want to pursue. Some careers require a graduate degree and for some it is optional, make sure you understand the difference. Then weigh out how much higher education is going to really improve or impede your future.
It might feel like everyone has an MBA or a Master degree, but make sure you aren’t doing it simply because everyone else is.
Before you fully commit make sure you are seeking higher education for the right reasons and are fully prepared for the few years of commitment that lie ahead.