Enter The Workforce Or Straight On To Grad School?
Which is more important, experience or education? There’s a reason this is an age-old question! Both are important to enrich your skills as you enter your career. If you’re nearing graduation you might be asking a similar question as Amel, a Jobipedia member:

“In this current job market, would I be better off going straight from a bachelor’s degree to a master’s program or entering the workforce right away?”

Let’s hear what our experts have to say:

Tom, Hiring Expert at VF Corporation, says, “My personal opinion is that it’s always better to get some work experience before pursuing your graduate degree. Your master’s level coursework will likely be easier and more enriching if you are able to apply actual work experience to it. Many employers will contribute to the cost of your degree, some will pay for all of it. For me, work experience is almost always more valuable than classroom education. Employers will often care more about your internships/co-ops/part-time jobs than what you did in the classroom.”  More from Tom

Dean, Hiring Expert at Archer Daniels Midland, shares, “All situations are unique and the answer to your question could change depending on your bachelor's degree and your desired career. Still, I find tremendous value in gaining experience and training in an entry-level role prior to going back to get your graduate degree. Some programs actually prefer candidates that have 3 to 5 years of experience. Your work will enable you to share job-related experiences with your classmates as well as be better able to engage with the instruction and projects in your courses. However, some degrees and focus areas do lend themselves toward requiring an advanced degree for placement. Make sure to discuss your plans with your career center and mentors early on.”  More from Dean

Stephanie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., offers, “I can tell you from personal experience that going back to college full time after you start making money is a tough decision! If you are planning to pursue a master’s degree while working full-time, prepare your friends and loved ones to see less of you…the academic curriculum can be grueling. However, you will likely get more out of the curriculum after having spent a few years in the workforce. Having real-world experience allows you to apply principles taught in the classroom to instances you have encountered in the business world. This can help you get the most out of your degree.”  More from Stephanie

While our experts agree that getting some work experience under your belt can help enrich your schooling, you should think through your goals and follow the path that best sets you up for success -- in your schooling and your personal life. When you’re considering the decision to pursue a graduate degree it’s important to consult your mentors and the career center at your school. They can help guide you towards a path that sets you up for your dream job and helps you keep the school/life balance you need to thrive. If you have questions about how to enter the workforce, ask our experts! We’re always happy to help.  
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