(Note: I posted this on a LinkedIn group and thought I would share it here.)
Question (from an ex-student of mine).
University vs. Job experience
I graduated from University a year ago and recently started working to gain industry experience. However, a part of me is very interested to go back to school and get my masters and I'm stuck in a position where I can't decide which to do.
Thus, my question is as industry people, would you value schooling or work experience more when you decide on the individuals you hire? How much do you value internships? Would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations!
That's such a great question, I'm not going to answer it!
I'm going to turn it around and answer the question I want to answer. :)
When's the best time to go to Graduate School?
As soon as you have time and can afford it, go to graduate school.
I'm working on my doctorate now. So, it's really funny to me how burned out I was on college after I squeezed a four year undergraduate program into five years. I absolutely had no interest in continuing school.
I was thinking about returning for an MBA about the time I got married. Then I got busy with other stuff (new wife, moving to Abilene, new job, two kids, etc.)
The next thing I knew, it was six years later and I wanted to change jobs. Guess what? Everyone wanted a master's degree. "Wow!," I thought, kicking myself. "I'm working at a University. (Kick!) I could have been working on a Master's degree this whole time. (Kick!) And they would have paid for it. (Kick!)"
I did finally change jobs and, my new job was also at a University. I started working on my Masters one class at a time. I was working full time with two kids and one on the way and it was a very, very busy three and a half years.
Of course, I made most of the same mistakes between getting my masters and starting my doctorate -- but this post is already too long... (If I had it to do over again, I might have pursued something where I could have gotten them from the same university...)
Suffice it to say, I'm now working with five kids and about half-way (I hope) through my doctoral program. Fortunately, I have a course reduction here at LCU. They are also helping me with tuition costs. I'm very blessed that my family and my work environment is so patient with the amount of time my studies take. (I'm taking Information Systems classes on-line at Dakota State University. I'm thrilled with the program so far. But it's time consuming -- and should be.)
If you have the desire and the opportunity to get a masters degree, do it! If you think you might ever in your life want a doctorate -- start now! It probably won't ever be any easier to do than it is right now at this moment.
Best of luck to you!