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05/12/2011

Career Question; Should I pursue a masters degree or take up a job first?

Hi! I have been offered a lucrative job
but I wanted to pursue a master’s degree first. What should I do, take up the job or begin my masters degree first?
Anonymous
Answer
Certainly, in these hard economic times, it would be appropriate to take the job and then figure out how to do a masters degree later. There are three options that you could pursue.

The first option would be to take up the job and then hope that sometime later you will find the time to pursue the masters degree. However, note that once you start the job, going back to class becomes very hard, unless you work for the civil service or a blue chip private employer where there is guaranteed study leave. Whilst on the job, you might want to take some specific career certifications, these would be hopefully be attained by
attending specific one or two week training that many an average employer arranges for their staff.

The second option would be to take up both the job and at the same time pursue your masters degree. Thousands of professionals in Kenya today are enrolled in such program, that’s why the universities have become a beehive of activity once evening sets in. Now, there are potential pitfalls in this, for example, sometimes the academic calendar may clash with the work schedule, for instance, the days when you are having CATs and exams, you may have to leave early, and some employers may not agree with such a schedule. While the upside is that you might achieve all your professional and career goals within a shorter time, the downside is that without careful balancing, one, or both, schedules are bound to suffer. You may get poor grades; perform poorly on the job due to exhaustion, or both. Since employers are demanding more papers and skills these days, it appears that this is the option that most professionals have chosen to follow. The professionals effectively kill two birds with one stone; they get additional academic qualifications, while at the same time getting the coveted experience in the workplace.

The third option would be to pursue the masters degree and forfeit the job. This would apply if you are pursuing such demanding courses as medicine or engineering. You may have to seek additional funding to sustain you as you school. The upside is that you’ll concentrate more on your studies, and hopefully perform better. The downside is that you still won’t have the necessary experience when you graduate, something that may prove a disadvantage when applying for some jobs.
Mabinda C.
Blog Editor


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