Five reasons to continue with your postgraduate studies
You’ve earned your bachelor’s degree, and you’re now wondering if pursuing postgraduate studies is worth it. Well, here are some reasons why we think it could be.
Many students are unsure if a master’s degree will really be of any use to them. Besides the additional cost, the extra time this will take also means that their journey towards achieving their career goals will be delayed. It’s a tough decision to make, however, looking at the benefits, it could be worth the effort, time, and money.
1. Stand out in the job market
With the rising number of candidates with a master’s degree in the market, an undergraduate qualification alone might be insufficient to get you noticed. In this day and age, a university education is viewed more as a rite of passage than a luxury, and with more and more postgraduates in the workforce, those holding only a bachelor’s degree might fail to appeal to employers.
2. Invest in yourself
There’s no way of predicting your future, but you can certainly have a plan for it and be prepared for whatever there is to come. Earning a master’s degree is an investment in your own potential, and puts you in a solid position to tackle whatever direction your future career might lead you to. So don’t look at it as a journey that prolongs your ambitions, rather as one that solidifies and strengthens it.
3. Deepen your interest
A master’s degree presents you with the opportunity to pursue studies of personal interest at a greater extent. Think of all the research, meetings, and lectures that you will be attending in order to develop your ideas around a field that interests you deeply. Consider the wealth of information and knowledge that you will be gaining from renowned speakers, one-on-one supervision, and the opportunities to engage and mingle with like-minded people. The experience alone is satisfying enough!
4. Make beneficial connections
This is the time when you will be connecting with people on a professional level. As a master’s student you will be connecting with like-minded people in a professional context, and finding ways to collaborate, discuss, and develop your own knowledge, skills, and career. Whom you form lasting connections with will come in useful one day. As the saying goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.
5. Earn recognition in your field
With all the research work that you do during your studies, you could potentially stand a chance to be recognized for an achievement that is particularly exceptional. You could also be invited as a speaker to present your paper at a conference, have your work published in a journal, or even contribute to a top-level research project. International recognition is also a prospect for those who continue with research, which could lead to you becoming a prominent expert in your field one day.
6. Better earning capacity
Your potential for earning more is a given once you are a master’s degree holder. In fact, this is one of the most-cited reasons that students enroll in a master’s degree program. Compared to an undergraduate degree, there’s no denying that a master’s degree is where the money is.
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Wait or Continue?
Many graduate students opt to work immediately after obtaining their first degree while some others choose to continue with their master’s studies. We speak to two people from opposite ends of this spectrum.
“I pursued my master’s degree 15 years after earning my first degree.”
Marwa Ali Serry,
Mergers & Acquisitions Department
Qatar Investment Authority
In 2000, Marwa Serry graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from Cairo University, and it wasn’t until 2015 that she chose to pursue her master’s degree in Audiovisual Translation (AVT) from Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU).
“I could not continue with my postgraduate studies due to family commitments, so I started working immediately after I earned my degree,” she says. “I graduated with my master’s degree in 2017, and am now looking forward to earning my Ph.D. in Audiovisual Translation.”
Marwa says that there are benefits to earning some work experience before pursuing postgraduate studies, although 15 years is too long a gap.
“I don’t recommend a huge gap between pursuing one’s undergraduate and postgraduate studies because there are a lot of changes in the academic world. However, gaining some work experience will help a person acquire professional skills and knowledge that might be beneficial to their postgraduate studies. There’s a chance to create a valuable professional network that can help in one’s future career goals. Additionally, a person can also assess if a master’s degree is actually required to fulfill their ultimate career ambition,” she says.
“I was still in student mode after my bachelor’s degree, and decided to immediately pursue my postgraduate studies.”
Postgraduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar
When Hazem graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design from Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar), he decided to immediately pursue his master’s degree in the same field.
“I took up the Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) program partly because I got a full scholarship to attend the course. I couldn’t let up on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said.
“I was also still in student mode, and was ready to further my learning and develop my research skills,” he adds.
Hazem, who plans to pursue a career in film-making, says that although gaining some work experience has numerous benefits, he was eager to get his studies out of the way.
“For me, the benefit of continuing with my master’s degree right after my undergraduate studies is that everything was still fresh and I was familiar with the latest research methodologies,” he says.