How do I decide if I need a postgraduate degree for my career?Yi Ling
A person deciding on a postgraduate degree would most likely fall into one of these two broad scenarios. The first being right after earning your bachelor’s degree and deciding on your next course of action, whether you should continue directly into a postgraduate degree or deciding if you should work a couple of years first. The second scenario involves a person working for a few years, possibly even for ten years and deciding if they need a postgraduate degree to further elevate their career. Either way, the pertinent question to answer is how to decide if you need a postgraduate degree for your career. Here’s how:
What are you aiming for?
First things first, ask yourself what you are aiming for in your career. Next, ask yourself if a postgraduate degree will help you achieve your target. Perhaps you are intending to change from a technical vocation to a managerial field or perhaps you are looking at getting a managerial level promotion within the next three years. Also, you might want to ask yourself what skills you are currently lacking and need to progress further. For example, if you are an engineer, then taking a postgraduate degree in management or an MBA makes sense. Take some time to answer these questions and you will find better clarity.
Does your job explicitly require it?
Next, take an inquisitive look at your current job. Ask yourself if your job requires a specific skillset, a specific postgraduate degree or a specific professional qualification to progress further. However, be sure to be certain what type of postgraduate degree the job requires as an MBA is different from a Master’s degree. If a prospective job you are applying for indicates that “postgraduate degree, professional qualifications or advance degree will be an added advantage”, then you can be almost certain that the hiring company places heavy importance on a postgraduate degree.
How competitive are you compared with your peers?
Compare yourself with your peers, with your industry competitors and with your colleagues of the same corporate rank. Chances are, if you are not academically similar with your peers, then you will be at a disadvantage when it comes to promotion reviews, or when a recruiter is headhunting for candidates for a new role. Although work experience and work performance are essentially more important determinants on whether you get the job or not, an advance degree sets a baseline qualification that you are on par with your competitors.
What does your human resource department say?
Human Resource department which is in charge of recruitment will be able to give you a direct answer on whether certain jobs require postgraduate degrees. As pursuing a postgraduate degree is not cheap and very time consuming, you will want to know if it’s worth the effort. You can ask your HR department a few questions such as, will having a Master’s degree or MBA get you paid more than the average or is a postgraduate degree an important prerequisite in getting a promotion.
Is my job going through a transition phase?
In the age where almost everything that can be digitised or are being digitised, you will need to do a bit of research to see if your job is evolving. Ask questions such as if your job will be around in the next five or ten years. If so, will it still stay the same or will you need new skill sets to stay relevant. Understanding the evolution of your job will help you in deciding if you will need to upgrade yourself.