All around the Net, people are musing about graduate options and educational plans. Katedp tweets, “I’m idly pondering getting an MBA. Not sure I want to go back to school though.” On LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter I’ve seen and occasionally responded to posts about obtaining an MBA or an MS in Technology, an MBA or an MA in Communications. And I have had conversations with prospective clients considering an MBA, a JD, or an MBA/JD.
It’s that time of year. People are planning for the next application season. So should you go to graduate school and if so to what program? In Dr. Stephen Covey’s words, “Begin with the end in mind.”
Unless you seek a graduate degree strictly for personal growth and the intellectual benefits, which is pretty rare, you should pursue the degree in order to advance professionally or achieve a professional goal. That means you need to have a professional goal.
katedp should pursue an MBA only if she needs the skills and education to advance professionally or move into a business management role. The IT person who asked about an MS in computer science or an MBA, needs to decide whether he wants to advance in technical roles or if he wants a broader degree that will prepare him for management positions. Does he want to deepen his skill set or complement it? If the former, the MS is more appropriate; if the latter, the MBA will better prepare him for his desired career.
Just in case you are wondering, here are some bad reasons for applying to graduate school:
- My parents want me to go and will pay for it.
- I hate my job.
- What else is there to do after you finished college?
- I like school.
- Grad school is the next thing to do.
- The economy is bad.
- It’s there.