Can a masters degree be a substitute for professional experience?
March 10, 2010 3:37 PM Subscribe
Is a Master's degree in International Relations a good way to make up for a relative lack of professional experience in the field?
posted by farce majeure to Education (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Ok, here's the deal. I'm 28 years old and have been living in Japan and teaching English for the last 4 years. I'd only intended to be here for 1 year, but got sucked into the lifestyle and all of a sudden 4 years have gone by and I need to somehow get started with a more professional career path.
I've been accepted into a good International Relations Master's program, starting in September. The coursework consists of classes in econ, finance, accounting, quantitative methods, in addition to more traditional IR stuff like foreign policy, and proficiency in a foreign language (for me, Japanese).
However, when I finish the program, I'll be 30 years old with a good master's degree and almost no professional experience outside of teaching English abroad, and possibly an internship I complete while finishing my masters. My question is, is a Master's degree a way to make up for a lack of professional experience? Or, am I just spending a lot of money and 2 more years of my life to end up with a shiny new degree that doesn't do anything other than keep me mired in debt.
Alternately, I could probably get a job with an engineering firm right now (basically through nepotism) making a decent salary, but working on something that is not very interesting to me. I already feel like I'm way behind in getting a proper career started, so this would give me the opportunity to at least get some sort of professional career going a couple of years earlier and minus several thousand dollars of debt, than if I get the masters degree.
So should I get the masters in something I'm interested in, or just get started on a career now, albeit in something that isn't really what I'm interested in?
Also, as a related question, does anyone have any experience with starting their first professional career at 30 years of age or older? Is it as bad as I think it might be?