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Master's Degree: After Graduation or After Work?

Viral Vora

Viral Vora

Nov 25, 2022

7 mins read

Master's Degree: After Graduation or After Work? Cover Image

Career decisions are never easy. One of the major career decisions that often brings a student a crossroads is – that one should pursue a Master’s degree right after graduating from your Bachelor’s program. Or should one wait a few years, gain some industry experience, and then return to being a student again?

This decision depends entirely on your profile or the application. As an applicant, you can get better quality and higher paying jobs after completing your Master’s degree from a reputed university. So, why delay or waste your time in gaining some kind of work experience? 

Relevant work experience strengthens your application and can help you secure admission into a better-ranked university. However, if your profile is already good enough, then why wait?

And both options have many good reasons for going for them. Let’s understand them

Reasons to Pursue a Master’s Program Right after Graduating

It is beneficial in defining your goals and professional targets:

During the Bachelor’s program years, students are young and carefree, and many switch their specialization streams. They do not concern themselves with jobs and their career trajectory in the program’s first years. They often do not enjoy their jobs or their career direction. However, with a Master’s degree, the scenario is entirely different.

Choosing a Master’s program helps the student acquire an overview of the field they are in and how it will shape their personality and character along with their goals and aspirations. Pursuing a Master’s program at an earlier and more inexperienced phase in your life will allow you to shadow teachers or speakers, thus offering you an inside view of the chosen industry.

You are younger and enthusiastic about new opportunities:

The decision to pursue an early Master’s program lies in the fascination and enthusiasm attached to it. Many people delay their Master’s and start working, get a salary, get an apartment, get a family, and keep delaying their dream. As you have fewer financial and personal responsibilities, you can devote the required time and commitment to your program. There’s a high chance of landing a higher-paying job after a Master’s if you finish your program earlier.

You can pursue a Master’s degree anywhere across the globe:

After graduation, you still have the energy and motivation to pursue your dreams. You are still habitual to going to class, completing your assignments/projects, and studying for exams, without the constant nag that you have other things to do in life or juggle different things at the same time.

But, can you get into good universities with work experience?

It is important to understand that good is subjective. When it comes to a study abroad application, the definition of a good or bad school depends solely on the ranking criteria and inclinations. It is, therefore, vital to identify if relevant work experience can help you get into higher-ranked institutions.

And the answer is – not always. Though mostly, yes. 

It is a little more important for Management based programs, including MIS, MEM, etc., than technical MS. Due to this reason, a student without work experience is not at a disadvantage in MS applications but is likely to face some roadblocks in MBA applications.

Someone with relevant work experience can get some additional points and might be preferred over applicants with a similar profile but zero work experience.

Suggested: Apply For Masters For an Indian Students

Reasons to Gain Work Experience and Postpone Master’s Degree

You will have more experience

The most distinguished advantage of pursuing a Master’s degree later is the work experience you will bring. It will help you have a clearer path and idea of what you wish to achieve from your program. Due to your existing practical training backing, it will be a bit easier for you to manage your curriculum and assignments.

It offers an easy route to change careers

If you are a working professional who wants to pursue a Master’s program, you can easily plan a career break and ponder on whether you want to pursue your Master’s degree in the same field/domain or you want to change your career trajectory. If you decide to pursue the same industry that you already have experience in, you can return with more knowledge and better ways of execution.

You will be better able to contemplate what you are looking for

A Master’s degree indicates that you want to specialize in something. By having clarity on what you want, you can combine your university curriculum to choose useful classes.

You will have a backup fund for your Master’s program

This is a very self-explanatory situation. Pursuing a Master’s degree after garnering some work experience implies that you will have funds to pay your program fees yourself and not ask for an allowance from your parents. This will also aid in financing your studies abroad, depending on the funds you’ve saved. You can also live an independent student experience without worrying about the monetary burdens or your expenses.

Suggested: Study Abroad Application

How Much Work Experience is Valued in the Admission Process?

Not every kind of work experience is likely to enhance the application. The one that will add additional weightage to the application with relevant work experience is the experience accumulated in the applied field that matters. Another thing to consider is the years of experience. Too short a work experience can only do as much while an almost 2-year experience is a good period to be considered.

When considering an MS application, work experience is not mandatory. However, it can be a value addition. This signifies that work experience is an added qualification and adds some weight to your Master’s application, just like your exam score and application documents. The application of a student without work experience is not at any disadvantage in an MS application.

However, relevant core experience at a well-known organization matters a lot. Relevant experience at an unheard organization can matter if the applicant describes the projects well. LORs also act as added support.

Suggested: Apply For Masters For an Indian Students

The case is different for an MBA program

Professionals worldwide believe that a year or two of work experience helps add an edge against competitors and improves the acceptance odds in a business school. But what are the minimum and average work experience for MBA? Most universities require a minimum work experience requirement for an applicant is 2 years. There are certain B-schools that do not require any work experience at all. However, around two years of work experience is considered enough to help the applicant climb the academic and professional ladder

Suggested: IELTS Guide

To Sum Up

If you are nearing the end of the Bachelor’s degree program, one question you are likely to come across is: Should you opt for a Master’s program? If yes, should you start with a Master’s program directly or first gain a few years of relevant work experience?

However, the crux here is to identify and understand how much the work experience can help you – as an applicant.

If you are not satisfied with the admission you receive based on your existing profile and you have an option of getting relevant work experience that can help improve your candidacy significantly, then it is always advisable to gain some work experience before proceeding with your application.

Oftentimes, working provides a clear perspective on the professional world. It will also help you gain clarity about your Master’s program.

Work experience is not the only thing when it comes to your application. While it can help enhance your application, it is not the only mandatory element universities look for. Career counseling at MastersBuddy can help you make an informed decision. Reach out to us today!

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Viral Vora
Viral Vora

Viral Vora is the co-founder of MastersBuddy, a platform that is building the world’s best study abroad experience. He is a graduate of IE Business School and KJSCE Vidyavihar. Viral is passionate about helping students achieve their academic, professional, and personal goals.

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