Should I do a Masters Degree?

Oct 9, 2019

So you’ve finished your undergraduate studies and you’re wondering: “Should I do a Masters?”

Deciding to do a Masters degree requires serious consideration.

Reasons not to do a Masters degree

Here at Graduate Coach, we advise people against doing a Masters degree if they are doing a Masters because they think it will:

  • Boost their employability and their chances of getting a graduate-level job.
  • Help you to progress faster in your career.
  • Make them stand out from the competition.

Too many people do a Masters because they think it will help them to get a job.

Chris Davies, Founder of Graduate Coach

Getting a Masters degree won’t necessarily boost your employability.

Graduate recruiters usually look for a minimum requirement of a 2:1 or a 2:2 undergraduate degree.

A few graduate recruiters also ask for specific A-level results or UCAS points as a part of their minimum requirements.

As long as you meet the minimum academic requirements, having a Masters degree won’t necessarily mean that you have more employability skills.

Here are the 6 key employability skills that all graduate recruiters will look for in applicants regardless of the role:

  • Communication
  • Team Work
  • Organising and planning
  • Problem Solving
  • Professionalism
  • Working on your own initiative

You should be able to demonstrate that you have all of these employability skills with your undergraduate degree.

Once the minimum academic requirements have been met the graduate recruitment team will focus on a wide variety of other factors.

This is to determine the candidate’s suitability for the role and the company.

A candidate with an undergraduate degree and a range of work experiences may be able to put together a stronger application than a candidate with a Masters and little or no work experience.

Summary

Empathise with the employer. For the jobs you are considering applying for, research what matters most to them.

They will state this clearly on their website.

If you want to develop your employability skills, consider getting work experience rather than embarking on a costly degree.

If you are struggling to find a job after university, the answer is not always to continue with higher education.

Will a Masters help you to stand out from the competition?

At the very beginning of your graduate career, having a postgraduate degree won’t necessarily help you to stand out from the crowd.

This is because 334, 000 or 40% of graduates have a Masters degree so it has lost its currency.

In other words, having a Masters isn’t a discriminator.

Once you have met the minimum academic requirements and have got through the initial screening, your personality, life and work experiences will help you to stand out from the competition.

Being able to articulate what makes you unique and the value you can bring to the company will help you to stand out.

A Masters degree won’t necessarily help you to progress faster in your career

Having a Masters degree won’t necessarily help you to progress faster than someone with a bachelors degree if you join a graduate scheme.

If you are applying for a graduate scheme whether you have a Masters degree or not, you’ll follow the same programme.

If at any stage during your graduate career your employer sees a business need for you to get a Masters degree, they’ll fund you to do it.

Some companies even pay for their employees to complete MBA degrees or other postgraduate qualifications.

Likewise, if at any point you feel a Masters will help your career progression, you can raise a business case to get financial support from your employer.

Some graduates considering doing a Masters feel as though they would rather get it “out of the way now”.

However, there are different modes of study. So it is possible to embark on part-time study whilst working.

What is the exception?

There are some specialist roles that require graduates to have a Masters degree.

For example, if you wanted to specialise in Economics. Some roles in Economic consulting ask for a Masters.

However, it is important to check the requirements of roles you are interested in before embarking on your degree.

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