We have an interesting topic up for discussion today; is getting a Masters Degree as important as people make it out to be? Today, it is very common to see people going back to university to further their education. There are now so many MSc and MBA holders. In fact, some argue it is a necessary requirement for any graduate who wants to be taken seriously in Nigeria. Even abroad, it seems having a Master’s degree gives you an edge over someone who only has a first degree. But is this picture really accurate? Can getting a Masters Degree land you your dream job instantly?

It is difficult to answer these questions accurately because there are many factors that can cause you to get your dream job. There are many people in top positions in banks and other commercial enterprises who don’t have a Masters degree. What they have are many professional qualifications in their field. So why is there such hype about getting a Masters Degree and since getting a Masters Degree seems to be in fashion now, does that mean you should get one too?

We have found that the choice to get a Masters Degree is more of a personal decision and it is dependent on your field on study. There are some career paths that require you to obtain a Masters Degree especially if you want to specialise. For example, engineers obtain a Masters Degree to specialise in a particular part of engineering. The same applies to lawyers. While a first degree in Law gives you a generalised education in Law, a Masters Degree will allow you to specialise in a part of Law, for example Energy or Commercial Law. So when a company is looking for an energy lawyer, a person that has a Masters Degree in Energy Law will have an advantage over the person that only has an LLB and that person also has a better chance of getting that job. So getting a Masters Degree is often mainly for the purpose of specialisation.

There is another reason why people choose to get a Masters Degree – to change career path. This happens when the person is not happy with their choice of course for their first degree and wants to change direction. For most people, instead of going back to get a second degree, they simply get a Masters Degree in that new field. Note that it is not every field that this applies to. For example if you studied Linguistics in your first degree, you cannot go for a Masters in Biochemistry just because you feel like changing the direction of your career. It doesn’t happen that way. It usually works for subjects in similar or related fields. For example a graduate with a degree in statistics or mathematics can go for a Masters Degree in Finance. Likewise, a medical doctor can also go for a Masters in Business Administration.

Making the decision to go for a Masters Degree is not something that should be taken lightly. For some people, they may be better off going for a professional qualification than a Masters Degree. Also you have to consider the cost and financing options. If you don’t have so much money at your disposal and you don’t have someone who will sponsor you, going for a Masters Degree may not be the wisest decision. Whatever the reason, make sure getting that degree will make a difference in the end. Getting a Masters Degree that ends up being of no value to you is a complete waste of time.

Do you have a Masters Degree? Are you currently obtaining a Masters Degree? Why did you choose to further your studies? Share with us…we would like to hear your reasons.

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