Should I pursue another fancy piece of paper?
January 30, 2013 10:27 AM   Subscribe

Is a Master of Science in Strategic Leadership a real thing? Should I pursue it, given that it wouldn't cost me anything but time?

I've always been of the opinion that I would only get an advanced degree if it was required for job advancement. This has never been the case, but I wonder if I might go farther if I had an additional credential. I have great experience and an impressive skill set (if I do say so myself). I've never lacked for job opportunities (thankfully!).

I sort of fell into a career in social media and PR for non-profits. I've advanced fairly quickly and am now a director for a project within a private university. I have the opportunity to get a master's degree free of charge. I don't think that I would really learn a lot, though maybe I would, but I think that the degree might be worth the time in terms of opening up future opportunities in higher education administration (where everyone else has lots of letters after their names.)

I'm not worried about the workload or any stress associated with the program - I would get a lot of support at work, and it is designed for working professionals so that is not an issue.

I am someone who is good at being a student (high marks with little effort) but I don't really enjoy it - I made it a point to get my undergraduate degree as quickly as possible, even though it meant overloading my schedule.

(This university doesn't offer a Master of Public Administration, or I would do that instead.)

Basic question: Do you have any experience with or knowledge of a Master of Science in Strategic Leadership program? Is it worth pursuing just to put it on my resume?
posted by cessair to Work & Money (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Whenever you can get a free education, you take it, no questions asked, providing it doesn't cause regrettable sacrifice (kids, family, etc).

I don't think that I would really learn a lot

You don't know this one way or the other. I once had to take a basic "computer class" for a certification which I thought was going to be a joke since I have a very high working knowledge of computer hardware and software. Lo and behold, I actually learned a lot - about Microsoft Word, of all things.
posted by TinWhistle at 11:01 AM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]

This will matter, I think, if you stay in institutional environments like government, universities or any place that is very credential-oriented, where any job application will be met with, "At your stage in your career, why haven't you gotten a Master's degree, yet?" However, it would help if you got a more transferable degree, like an MPA, Master's in Higher Education Administration, MBA, etc.
posted by deanc at 11:03 AM on January 30, 2013

Just one point on the workload issue....

I have a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering. I managed to graduate from a pretty decent school (UC Davis) with honors in 4 years while also doing a lot of partying and skipping class. (e.g. high marks with little effort).

I therefore thought the academic workload for a MBA would be very do-able. Boy, was I in for a surprise! There was a ton more work -- including class participation -- than in my undergrad program. I almost took a semester off (I had a new job and a small child too) -- but managed to struggle through it thank good ness. Point being, depending on how you got those marks as an undergrad, you may find that a graduate program has a lot more ways to suck your time up :).

And, like others, I think additional credentials don't hurt and may help your resume. (You can always leave it off if you think you'll be "over qualified"). You also gain access to a new professional network and perhaps career placement services depending on the institution.
posted by elmay at 11:14 AM on January 30, 2013

If it's free, if it interests you, and if you have the time, go for it. At the very least, you will expand your network, which is the most important thing at mid-career.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:19 AM on January 30, 2013

I have to say that when I got MBA it was a completely different experience from my undergrad. I too didn't have to work too hard. I found my Master's program to be a lot more interesting than I thought it would be, and the difference between having word processing for my Masters, versus not having it for my Bachelors well, THAT was HUGE.

I say enroll, see if you like it, you might surprise yourself.

Also, I'm still tight with folks I met in my Master's course, and it's great for networking.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:26 AM on January 30, 2013

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