Higher Education · Career Development

Are Master degrees worth it?

Josh Hopkins Web Developer & Consultant; Business Management Experience

October 13th, 2015

I have two Bachelors Degrees, I'm considering an MBA or MS in Management & Leadership.  The monetary investment is not a concern but is it worth the time? I'm trying to transition into a more certain career other than where I am currently. Have Masters degree become the new college degree? Do employers look more favorably on advanced degrees vs regular undergrads or does experience trump those degrees?

Melinda Lewis Digital Marketer with a Sense of Adventure

October 13th, 2015

Hi Josh, It really depends on your motivation and goals in life. Getting my MA from Georgetown's School of Foreign Service was one of the best things I've done for my career. I wanted to learn, network and explore and did just that during my Masters. I've been able to work on some exciting projects because of my connection to Georgetown and the skills I learned. Even though I didn't take any marketing classes for my MA, I've been working in digital marketing the last eight years and firmly encourage everyone to pursue educational goals for more than just a diploma. Melinda B. Lewis, MA http://www.linkedin.com/in/melindalewis

Stephen Mitchell

October 13th, 2015

In my time as a Commissioner (Trustee) in the education field, higher level positions required a Master degree - CV's would be rejected off-the-top if they did not have the minimum requirements, regardless of any other factors, if for no other reason than staying true to the advertised minimums. If we didn't, action could have been taken against us by others who may have applied had they understood that they could have been considered.

In the private world, successful, repeat and identifiable contributions mean more than any degree. Having said that, proof that you can successfully learn is a good thing - and between two fairly equal candidates, the balance would almost always go to the Master if it came down to that.

Best of luck.

Lee Guertin Editorial Research Manager, Online Analytics

October 13th, 2015

From my experience, it depends on the company and the type of position you want. Since money isn't an object here in your post, it is probably not a concern whether a raise is the goal. It can often help toward a raise. An MBA used to be a guarantee to a management level job and experience (as well as type of experience) now often trumps that. However, I did find that at companies like Microsoft a MBA or MS within a management program was a criteria for level promotion and could often be used to move from an individual contributor to a management track resource. Did it provide any additional career longevity or security to anyone I know? No. Unless they used it to start their own business or got it from a well-connected or well-ranked school with relevant experience or specialized skills. Leadership programs didn't do anything for anyone I know unless they were already part of a management track within a company. It also used to be a criteria for MBA and Management programs to have 2 years of verified management experience. That is nowadays questionable. With the saturation of grads in the market and offline/online programs it has become somewhat less valued and exclusive than it used to be. I have noticed in hiring practices and promotions that MS degrees with subject matter expertise are more valuable and akin to the "new Bachelor's degree". Hope this helps. Sent from my iPhone


October 13th, 2015

A Master's degree, especially an MBA, will definitely help in career growth. You also learn many things that will be very useful in your job.
If you want to be a specialist, then a Master's in your undergrad discipline will be better.


Richard Sachen CEO/Founder Sunspeed Enterprises

October 15th, 2015

If your motivation is just to add a line to your resume, a Masters degree is very expensive.  Unless you are going into a field like education, where specific certifications and degrees are required, you can probably use your directly related experience. 
The following may be obvious to you, and if so, I apologize for stating it.  I'd recommend first looking at the job(s) that you want and what employers are asking for in terms of education and experience in the job postings for those positions.  Figure out where you meet or exceed those requirements and where you fall short.  Then you can decide what education to fill the gap.  You may find a professional certification, an MBA, an executive MBA, a masters or bachelors degree in another field, or several well chosen seminars, classes, or web based learning provide the best alternative.  
For myself, the MBA early in my career was a way for me to become well rounded in business and gain the confidence to break into management.  It worked well and was well worth the investment in time and money.