What type of investment have you made in yourself recently to raise your market value? It could be career or self development? Whatever the investment type, the end goal is to ensure that the investment yields a return. Usually, this is the reason millions of people around the world decide to take a step higher and invest in furthering their education.
They anticipate that on completion of the programme, their earning potential would increase significantly, and their climb on the corporate ladder, fast tracked; while some may undertake further studies to acquire more knowledge, and for some, it is just ‘expected’. More the case is usually to increase earning power and fast track their career.
But really, how much financial value and fast tracking does furthering your education beyond a first degree add (or take) from you?
When we look around the world, there are wealthy and successful individuals who did not further their education to become who they are today; such individuals include Richard Branson and the late Mary Kay. On the other hand, when we look at Ngozi Okonja Iweala or Condoleezza Rice, we could safely dare say that acquiring further education could not have done any harm in supporting them to achieve their present status.
When considering whether to invest in some type of further education such as a Masters programme, ask yourself some of the following pertinent questions, which could also be applied in assessing the need for a PhD or other professional studies.
Why do I want to further my education? Is it to acquire more knowledge or for the purpose of enhancing your career opportunities or both? To answer this, take a step back and ask yourself; what are my aspirations? Will furthering my education help me achieve those aspirations? Is it a requirement for my career goals or aspirations? What, if any, value is placed on having a Masters in the society, or industry I’m aspiring towards?
Some jobs require that you have additional qualifications. While some jobs value hands on experience to a Masters Degree. It may be that you aspire to be a professor, and only by furthering your studies will you have all the necessary qualifications to be a respected professor. However, it could be that all you dream about is making money, if so, you will need to consider if taking your education a step higher is the best or only option to enabling you achieve your goal.
What is my total investment in undertaking a Master’s Degree? Calculating the total investment involves looking at the total true cost, which goes beyond just the Fees, Books and various types of regular registration fees; you need to calculate cost of travel, loss in earnings, accommodation etc Remember that each working day you dedicate to attending lectures or exams, there is an opportunity cost which is equivalent your loss in potential earnings.
How much return can I expect on my investment? Realistically ask yourself this question; on completing the programme, how much salary do I envisage being able to command? Note that, different types of programmes, command different types of possible returns on investment i.e. An MBA is usually reputed as having a higher potential of return on investment.
When all is said and done, what is your heart saying to you? How passionate are you about furthering your studies? You need to find the answers for yourself. Furthering your studies is not the only means to end; it may be the cow path, but not the only path. However, one thing going through such a programme will do is take you a step higher; be it in the knowledge or experience gained.