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Grad School: Yes? No? Maybe?

Young Professionals Connection Getting Your Masters

October 24, 2013

So you’re thinking about going back to school. You’re ready to better yourself, take on new challenges, and climb the corporate ladder. While graduate school isn’t the magic bullet for achieving all your dreams — you won’t magically shoot to senior VP of marketing — you will gain some knowledge and skills that will help you get there.

Getting Your Master's Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • It’s becoming a key way to set yourself apart from the crowd — everybody has an undergrad degree, but not everybody has a graduate degree
  • It shows ambition and work ethic
  • Networking
  • Tuition Reimbursement

Cons:

  • Time commitment (BUT, if you don’t have kids, now’s the time to do it. And there are plenty of parents in my classes, as well.)
  • Homework
  • Group Projects

I’m pursuing my Master of Communication Leadership at Drake University, which is a two-year, part-time program (full disclosure, I also work at Drake). While it has been a time commitment — I had to cut back on my involvement with various groups — it’s been worth it. While I’ve been in leadership positions before, I never really felt prepared to lead or manage others. I would say that my program is very applicable — I’ve put a lot of the lessons I’ve learned in class to work. And my supervisors have definitely noticed a positive change in how I approach my work and deal with colleagues.

My advice is to look for a part-time program that stresses leadership and the acquisition of applicable skills. Once you’re in, it’s all what you make of it. You can go through the motions and do the work, but if you don’t really think about how the lessons can apply to your current job and then actually try them out, it won’t be worth your time, energy, and money.

There are many good education programs around Greater Des Moines (DSM): Drake University, University of Iowa, Simpson College, Grandview University, and Iowa State University are all good options. If you’re interested in programs at Drake in particular, feel free to reach out to me and I can answer your questions or put you in contact with the right people (Alyssa.young@drake.edu).