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Monday, April 16, 2012

All I Want is a Masters Degree

When Jennifer met her former college mates three years ago, they were all in pursuit of jobs. They had great hopes of clinching well-paying jobs in line with their vision while in college. They hence set up a network of friends to support each other and considered each other as possible references. As the years passed, some of the colleagues secured good jobs while others decided to go back to school for further studies. Earlier in the year, Jennifer, who has been job searching since their first encounter realized she has been left behind by her peers and has decided to do all she can to secure a job.

Convinced that her undoing has been the lack of a masters degree, she has decided to pursue a masters degree at all costs. Through a discussion she had with a friend, she indicated all she wants is a masters degree. When her friend sought to know which career path she was interested in pursuing and hence which area she wanted to master in, what Jennifer said shocked her. ‘I am not sure of what I want to master in’, she said. ‘All I want is a masters degree, not necessarily to master in any field’. 

This response seems to echo well with many job seekers or persons intending to grow in their careers. There is a craze pushing and pulling people to pursuing masters degrees with the ‘promise’ of greener pastures once completed. With this craze comes little or no guidance. The challenge has been exacerbated by the fact that most of the institutions of higher learning offering the masters degrees are not adequately resourced to provide guidance to the students on what each of the masters programs entails. The assumption is that all the masters degree students are adults and hence already know why they want to pursue what they plan to. The only guidance they provide relates to the fees applicable and the duration.

A couple of months ago, I sat at an interview panel seeking for a potential candidate for a highly lucrative job. Among the candidates we had shortlisted was a masters degree holder from one of the renowned higher learning institutions in the country. The gentleman had been shortlisted since the review team noted that he had pursued a masters degree is an area relevant to the job on offer and since few persons have mastered in that particular field, the panel was convinced he could be the ideal candidate for the job. But lo and behold, within the first two minutes of the interview, as a panel, we were utterly disappointed since the candidate could barely articulate the theories and practice of the indicated field. He could not even discuss the current trends in the field he had mastered in neither could he articulate how he would manage simple case studies presented to him by the panel. 

The gentleman was truly a replica of many holders or current students pursuing various masters degrees. Many students pursue courses they know very little about or even have little interest in. They are convinced that a masters degree certificate will open all doors they consider knocking. This is a sure way of surprising themselves.

Seek for adequate career guidance before you enroll for a masters course to ensure you are well informed about the possible destinations the degree will lead you to. If you are a recent undergraduate, consider taking at least two years in the world of work before enrolling for a masters degree so that you gain clarity on what you would want to master in. Remember that time has a natural way of enhancing clarity and focus. As it has been said, if you leave your house not knowing where you are headed to, you can never get lost. No wonder, many degree holders are still walking around, busy and fatigued but to nowhere in particular.

1 comment:

  1. Hi

    For me the article is timely as am in the process of analyzing where i want to "end up" career wise.
    Once one digs deeper it may be possible to realize that what you had initially thought of doing may lead to a dead end career(little progress possible).
    It is wise to make the correct choice.


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