After I get my bachelors degree, should I get a job or get a masters degree?
The question totally depends on various factors:
1. What are you majoring in ?
2. What is your career path ?
3. What do you like ?
First, whether or not to pursue a master degree depends on what you are studying in. For example, if you are a science or engineering student, you probably do not learn enough in your undergraduate study. I graduated from a top local university pursing a computer science degree with a very good academic result but, to be frankly, I admit that I do not know the subjects much. For another example, if you are a business student, you probably need not pursue a master degree right now. Perhaps, you should gain some working experience now and pursue a master degree in business administration, finance or marketing later. All in all, it depends on your subject you are studying in.
Second, this question relates to your career path. What you would like to do in the future ? An Investment banker ? A professor ? A high school teacher ? You should figure it out by yourself. Different career requires different qualification but most of them do not require a master degree for entry positions. Unless you want to stay in the academic field, you should perhaps go straight to the job market to earn your livings. Save some money for your master degree as it is quite expensive. There are also alternatives for those who want to learn more or have some special experience before getting to work. You can apply working holiday to travel aboard. It is also a good option for personal development.
Third, beyond all the discussion above, the most important thing you should consider is in which option you are most interested regardless on all the other considerations. It is meaningless (also less productive) if you choose an option that you don't like. Ask yourself whether you want to work or study and why !
If you can convince yourself, go ahead. That's your unique path in your life journey. No others should bother.
Switching to the bachelor degree as a first qualifying university degree has caused quite a stir in many continental European countries over the past few years. In countries such as the UK and the United States it is common to enter the workforce with an undergraduate degree. In continental Europe, however, students, universities and employers are still adapting to this brave new world of education. The decision about what comes after a bachelor degree is a very personal one - however, we can offer you a couple of pro and con arguments that you may want to take into consideration.
Pro: Taking an internship after you have finished your bachelor’s degree combines the best of two worlds: You get some valuable professional experience, while committing yourself only for a limited period of time. Meaning: It is a good opportunity to match your imagination of working life to the reality of it. If you love the job, that is great - and chances are that your employer will notice and reward your enthusiasm as well. If you realize early on that the career you’ve been dreaming about is not for you after all, the internship has kept you from spending a lot of time and effort on a career path that will not make you happy - and that may be just as valuable.
Con: Many countries have taken regulatory steps that make it harder for university graduates to get hired for intern positions, the rationale being that with a university degree you should be qualified for a full-time position. This concern is not completely foolish. There is the risk of becoming the “eternal intern” - a person who will bounce from one internship to another, providing cheap work for companies without ever turning all that experience into a real career choice.
But: If you do your research before starting the internship and are aware of how it will fit into the mosaic that is your CV, there is almost always something to gain.
Get a full-time job
Pro: There are a lot of obvious reasons to try for a full-time position after finishing your undergraduate degree. You can start a career at an early age, gather experience quickly and earn your own money. Especially in anglo-saxon education systems such as the UK and the USA it is very common to get a couple of years of work experience after finishing your bachelor and before getting started on another degree. Getting a full-time job after your bachelor degree is especially desirable for people who want to see how all the theory they have been taught at university plays out in practice. In a job you might also develop a clearer idea of the things that you still want to learn - and later on find a master programme that will fit your needs because you know what to look for. By that time, you may even be able to convince your employer to pay for a part of your studies.
Con: There are two major disadvantages to finding full-time employment right after a bachelor’s degree. First, it’s a competitive job market. Some employers in continental Europe are still unsure about how to best integrate undergraduates into their HR programmes and prefer hiring employees with a master’s degree. The second disadvantage is one that is often underestimated, and yet every bit as mentionable as the first: You might get too comfortable too soon. Once in a job, you may find yourself not wanting to revert to being a student ever again. So, if you are really set on still getting another degree, keep an exit strategy at the back of your mind.
But: Regarding the competition in the job market, the situation may not be as dire as some students are led to believe: in engineering and information technology companies undergraduates stand good chances according to employer associations, and in some of the biggest European banks roughly one third of the new hirees every year only have a bachelor’s degree. Startups usually pay less attention to degrees than to attitude. So to those really set on finding a job, there are definitely opportunities available. And
Enrol into a master programme
Pro: First off - additional education is never a bad idea. If you are passionate about a subject, studying it in depth will always provide you with a value that goes far beyond the ability to earn money from it. Choosing to move on to your master’s degree gives you the opportunity to specialize in a certain field and to learn a little more about yourself. It exposes you to a great variety of subjects and diverse opinions that can rarely be found in any particular job description. If you are aiming for a career in the academia, continuing with a master’s degree is a necessity. Taking a master’s degree can also be a good opportunity to move to another country and get some international experience.
Con: As hard as it is to argue against taking an additional degree, you should still make sure you are in it for the right reasons. Arguments like “all my friends are doing it”, “I have no idea what else to do” or “it’s what employers expect to see on your CV” may be valid, but should not be your only reasons for pursuing a master’s degree. A master programme should inspire you to look at things you have already learned and connect them in new and more advanced ways - and that gets that much harder if it is just a default option.
But: Knowledge is power, so do not let yourself be put off a master’s degree simply because it costs time and sometimes money. Just make really sure that this investment will pay off by getting your priorities straight beforehand.
Travel the world
Pro: Despite the fact that money is a very real constraint here, travelling is a good way to broaden your horizon. A change in location may also give you a new perspective and focus, especially after a long and strenuous exam time. A longer vacation of several weeks will be much harder to make time for once you are in a regular job - so it may be worth spending some of that saved up money from your student job.
Con: Of course, a three months trip through South America may be a little harder to turn into a job opportunity than an internship. However, in a globalized world employers know about the value of having employees who are eager to understand and explore other cultures. So, even though the vacation may not improve your Excel skills, there are several ways to sell it in a job interview.
But: If you really do not want to miss out career-wise, you could always try and combine traveling and working - for example, by looking for a master programme or internship abroad.
To sum up: The decision about what to do after your bachelor degree is not easily made - still, all options offer an opportunity to learn and develop yourself as a person. So, no matter what camp you end up in, make sure to make the most of it!