Monday, January 24, 2011

Masters in Indecision

A few months ago it dawned on me that I should go back to school. Well, it probably dawned on me a while ago, but I started taking it seriously then. I feel like I am setting out to get my Masters in the fall, but don't really know if it is the right next step for me.

I do not like school. Some people really like school and seem to make every attempt to keep going to school forever. I, however, found college to kind of be a waste of time at certain points. I am somehow smarter than the average bear, but have a great degree of difficulty retaining information. College is not organized for people like me. You are expected to learn a lot of often unrelated things in a short amount of time.

Since I don't like school, I am really only considering getting my Master's so I can 1) further my career 2) hopefully learn more about a specific field and 3) feel superior to other people (j/k!!). Unlike most people considering a Master's program, I am only looking at one school. Justin works for KPLU NPR & Jazz, which is affiliated with PLU in Tacoma. Since he is an employee I receive 75% off tuition as his spouse. Not a bad deal! PLU has an abhorrent selection of graduate programs, but they do have a MBA Program. In an ideal world I would love to go to UW because they have an amazing MBA program, but I'm also cheap. $40,000 vs. $12,000

Since I love bulleted lists, I'd like to show you the pros and cons of going back to school

  • Relatively inexpensive. The discount I get through Justin makes it only about $12,000 for the whole program
  • More experience and overall knowledge 
  • PLU's program includes an international trip
  • Evening program that meets 2 days a week would make working and schooling quite possible
  • Opportunity to advance my career
  • Still costs money. If we plan to buy a house next year life will be expensive
  • I don't like school. Despite always being a good student, I find it hard to pay attention and retain knowledge sometimes
  • Not sure PLUs program is all that good. Wasn't terribly impressed at the January info session
  • Will involve Math. Math is bad and I think I have to relearn all of it
  • Is the program right for my needs? What are my needs?
  • Not sure it will help my career. What am I doing with my life?
  • I don't want to lock Justin into working at KPLU for another two years, so I can get a discount
When it comes down to it, I think I want a Master's degree just to have a Master's degree. I guess there are worse reasons. So far, my first steps have been attending the info session and enrolling in South Seattle Community College to take a Statistics pre reg in the Spring. Next steps: applying and taking the GMAT

What are your thoughts?


Annaliese said...

DO IT NOW. Think of it this way, you pay $12k now, and likely you will be paid more at any job for the rest of your life for having a master's. Two years of suffering for an eternity of making more money just for having a degree. Also, do not discount the value of just sounding cool for having a master's.

John said...

From someone who enrolled in the PLU MBA because of a 90% discount (as an employee), I would tell you to try it out, but don't be overly optimistic. I found that unless you are really interested in business (all types, not just marketing), you're probably going to dislike a lot of your courses. I took two math-centered classes and liked them (I'm a math guy), but as soon as I got to their "MBA 101" class, I hated it. I found out that I really don't care much about the business world.

It's difficult, but not impossible to work and attend classes. But if you don't like the class, you won't want to do the reading, and therefore not do well in the class(es).

Did you know: You can take three classes without actually being enrolled. That might be something to look into before putting down the money and time in the program.

Diana said...

I think you should do it if that is what you want to do. You are definitely smart enough, and it seems to me that you remember stuff--makes you the trivia queen in my eyes.
Don't overthink it too much. Your pursuing it means it is relatively important to you, so listen to that inner voice.
And, i agree with Annaliese. Do it now. It doesn't get easier or cheaper.

Anonymous said...

Alright... you asked for thoughts so I'll give you mine.

I think you should consider a question on your Con list: "What am I doing with my life?". I wouldn't suggest this if you were signing up for an undergraduate degree, but since this is a graduate program, I think you should have some idea of what you'd like to accomplish. I'm reminded of some interludes in Kanye West's CD's when you mention that maybe you want a Masters Degree just to have a Masters Degree. I find it a little ridiculous to spend money on a piece of paper. Now, if you get a lot of return on that piece of paper, then great, but what is that return? Is it wealth of knowledge or wealth in money? Wealth in money (to me) is not worth torturous years of schooling learning (or not learning) something you're not actually interested in. So I ask you - where do your interests really lie? If you could choose anything to learn, what would it be? Now go learn that. An MBA sounds boring. And Liz isn't boring. Do you really want to learn about Business Administration? If so, awesome... sounds like you found the perfect gig. If not, why would you sign up for it?

Now, on the pro side... you should also consider that PLU is going to stretch you intellectually a lot farther than Western or the U. You would probably enjoy their program more than the public schools in the area and you would also be invited to participate in the network that private schooling offers you. Shoot, if I could go to PLU for 25% tuition, I'd sign up today.

All of this to say... Don't waste your time or money with something you're not passionate about just to get a piece of paper. Unless you're passionate about pieces of paper...

Ashley (one of Elysia's bridesmaids) said...

DO IT!!! You never know what doors will open up for you with a this economy! You could have the possiblity of making a lot more money, dispite Justin having to stay with the same company. But as my financial advisor always told me...."Think of the long-term outcome".

pro said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Liz said...

Thank you so much everyone! I love that you are honest with me and tell me exactly what you think. Laura, you wrote a novel! I will consider all of this. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

You should do it - an MBA is general enough that you could use it to propel yourself in a wide variety of fields. Take the negative comments with a grain of salt if they are coming from people who not only are not in the workforce, bit also haven't pursued higher education as a whole.

You will do amazingly if you decide to go down this path, or bot. You are one sharp cookie, lady!!

Sara said...

I think growth is very important, and if pursuing your Masters is going to give you that, then I can only see it as a pro.

Miss you buddy!