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Masters Degree...is it worth it??

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    Hi all,

    I've just got a little concerns that I need help getting sorted out and would be truly grateful if anyone can help me out.

    Here's the situation...at the moment, I have a 2:2 in BA Business and Marketing, and have had some advice from people I know about carrying on with my education by completing a masters degree course because of the current economic climate, a degree wouldn't be good enough to get a decent job. However, as the thread title says "is it worth it??" I found it hard enough going through three years at university doing an undergraduate degree, so I can't imagine what it would be like if I was to apply for a masters degree course.

    So apart from the main question, what i would like to know is, what is the workload like, how demanding is it. Will it really improve my career prospects for the future?

    If the answers given sound positive enough, then I may just give it a try.

    BTW I haven't really been researching much about what I would like to study, so any advice would be appreciated..apart from market research, not really keen in that area.

    Once again, thanks to everyone who is helping me out.
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    The advice I got from my tutor (a Doctorate in Virology) when looking in to do a Masters degree:

    'You should only look at doing a Masters degree if you don't do that well at your undergraduate degree and still want to go on to the field. Or, if you get a good undergraduate degree but want to go in to an extremely specialised and niche market that requires a skill set that only a Masters can provide.'

    So really, it is completely variable as to what career you're looking at in the long term.

    I'd would seriously consider your position though. If you didn't like your undergrad-- will another year at university really suit you? Especially considering it is pretty much always a self-funded option and requires a lot more self-motivation and discipline.
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    (Original post by Nattatouille)
    The advice I got from my tutor (a Doctorate in Virology) when looking in to do a Masters degree:

    'You should only look at doing a Masters degree if you don't do that well at your undergraduate degree and still want to go on to the field. Or, if you get a good undergraduate degree but want to go in to an extremely specialised and niche market that requires a skill set that only a Masters can provide.'

    So really, it is completely variable as to what career you're looking at in the long term.

    I'd would seriously consider your position though. If you didn't like your undergrad-- will another year at university really suit you? Especially considering it is pretty much always a self-funded option and requires a lot more self-motivation and discipline.
    Thanks for your reply.
    I haven't got much of a problem with what I have been studying, I kinda enjoy the promotional and attracting customer side of the course which was my main reason in choosing to do a marketing based degree in the first place. Before applying to do the undergraduate degree, I want through the same process as I'm doing now....thinking about the demands that is required etc, but glad I got through even though I want through a lot of stress. The only reason why I would even consider a masters degree is because as i mentioned in my previous post, jobs are hard to come by, and feel that a masters degree will definitely boost my chances of getting a job.
    Again not really sure what to do a degree on since I am still considering whether or not I should go through with it.
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    (Original post by fire!!)
    [...] So apart from the main question, what i would like to know is, what is the workload like, how demanding is it. Will it really improve my career prospects for the future? [...]
    If you found undergraduate study hard then masters level study is not for you. The workload will roughly double in terms of what you have to get through and also the difficulty of the work.

    In terms of job prospects, an 2.2 undergraduate degree will not make you stand out, and often exempt you from certain graduate schemes, but you need to realise that a masters degree is unlikely to make you any more employable unless it is in something specifically vocational. The fact you do not know what you want to study is a sign in itself that you should be wary of just jumping into something new. The idea that a masters degree will compensate for a 2.2 (or worse) at undergraduate level is just stupid and completely untrue.

    My only advice is if you do want to study then study part time. That way you can still claim unemployment benefits and not be completely stuck for money. If it turns out that you cannot get a job then all that happens is that you can devote full-time hours to your part-time course and get a better grade. It would be completely pointless putting yourself in debt or using up all your savings to self-finance a masters degree that makes you less employable in the short term.
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    struggling to get a 2:2 in 'business and marketing' (plus your poor written english) suggests an undistinguished undergraduate career at an undistinguished uni - which a masters won't cure. so it is unlikely to improve your employment prospects. plus, as mentioned above, a masters will require work to a higher standard. i'd suggest getting some practical experience (at any level) before you spunk more cash on education.
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    (Original post by Nattatouille)
    The advice I got from my tutor (a Doctorate in Virology) when looking in to do a Masters degree:

    'You should only look at doing a Masters degree if you don't do that well at your undergraduate degree and still want to go on to the field. Or, if you get a good undergraduate degree but want to go in to an extremely specialised and niche market that requires a skill set that only a Masters can provide.'
    This does not make any sense. Universities look for the best students to enroll in their master's programs, not the worst; and a master's degree is far from being an "extremely specialized" degree. In fact, master's level is more like the bare minimum knowledge to have if you actually intend to make use of your academic skills in life. Even a PhD is not as specialized as it seems: certainly, the thesis is on a possibly very narrow aspect of the field, but the process should, at least in principle, require the student to gain a comprehensive command of her subject, beyond her "niche".

    Now to the original question, the answer is simply no in this case. A second class degree isn't enough to attend a university worth getting a master's degree from, so save your money.
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    Seriously disagree with that last point Ghost. Several great institutions take on upper second class honours students.
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    (Original post by Nattatouille)

    'You should only look at doing a Masters degree if you don't do that well at your undergraduate degree and still want to go on to the field. Or, if you get a good undergraduate degree but want to go in to an extremely specialised and niche market that requires a skill set that only a Masters can provide.'
    Yeah, does not make very much sense to me, either.

    If you do not do well at your undergrad degree you sure as hell not gonna do well at your grad degree. You most likely do not enjoy it, or you are not the brightest kid in the bunch, or both. How would hammering more of it into your poor tired head help?

    In my field, Economics, you do not go far with undergrad. If you got only undergrad you will not work as Economist, I can guarantee you that. For the purpose of getting a job it is just as good (and as bad) as most other Social Science degrees, and gives similar opportunities. You need at least Masters, better yet PhD. And if you get your PhD, you are not going to teach, but will get a job in a bank, and make good money, while with undergrad you most likely will end up as a salesperson or junior manager or some such thing. Nothing to do with "extremely specialized and niche market".

    PhD in Business will be very marketable, certainly better than Bachelors. But whether one can do it - is another question.
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    Although I have not graduated yet (just finishing my thesis) it is looking like the ROI (Return on Investment) for my MSc will be exceptional. For me it was the best decision I have made and I feel my future is far brighter than it was one year ago. Saying that I switched from sociology to a business msc.

    Don't listen to BO'H or evantej. Yes be careful in choosing an expensive MSc, but don't take their narrow mindedness as the gospel.

    Don't say it can't be done to the man that is doing it
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    good thread. I really want to do a PhD, mainly just because I love my subject and that has always been a life ambition, but then I've also decided I'm going to aim to be a primary teacher, leading me to worry if my English degree is even worth it...
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    (Original post by harryhoofter)
    Although I have not graduated yet (just finishing my thesis) it is looking like the ROI (Return on Investment) for my MSc will be exceptional. For me it was the best decision I have made and I feel my future is far brighter than it was one year ago. Saying that I switched from sociology to a business msc.

    Don't listen to BO'H or evantej. Yes be careful in choosing an expensive MSc, but don't take their narrow mindedness as the gospel.

    Don't say it can't be done to the man that is doing it
    I think you are misinterpreting what they have said. Neither said that a masters is intrinsically a bad idea. I agree that if someone has struggled at undergrad as the OP says he has done, then to have some vague notion of doing a masters to get a better job when they are not even sure what they want to do it in, is not the way to go. At the very least the OP should have a clear idea of what he is interested in before embarking on it, but even then the fact that he says he had a hard time coping with the work at undergrad is a warning sign about the advisability of doing a masters.
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    (Original post by janjanmmm)
    Yeah, does not make very much sense to me, either.

    If you do not do well at your undergrad degree you sure as hell not gonna do well at your grad degree. You most likely do not enjoy it, or you are not the brightest kid in the bunch, or both. How would hammering more of it into your poor tired head help?
    I think the important point there was that the tutor who gave this advice was a biologist, i.e. working in a subject where it's common to go straight on to a PhD after your undergraduate degree. So obviously this only applies to subjects for which a postgraduate master's degree is an unnecessary detour, not to subjects for which it's essential to continue to a PhD.
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    (Original post by sj27)
    I think you are misinterpreting what they have said. Neither said that a masters is intrinsically a bad idea. I agree that if someone has struggled at undergrad as the OP says he has done, then to have some vague notion of doing a masters to get a better job when they are not even sure what they want to do it in, is not the way to go. At the very least the OP should have a clear idea of what he is interested in before embarking on it, but even then the fact that he says he had a hard time coping with the work at undergrad is a warning sign about the advisability of doing a masters.
    You are right.

    I apologize to evantej and BO'H for my off hand comments. No offence intended.
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    Thanks to everyone for your input.
    My overall experience of the undergraduate degree that I had completed was not too bad; in terms of the workload, I could handle it, but its the self motivation that was my main problem.
    In terms of what I enjoy most in marketing, it could be the customer relation and promotional side of it, that was one of my main reasons in choosing to go into marketing as a undergraduate course...its something that I do enjoy. So yeah there are some aspects of it that I do enjoy. So if you put that into consideration, than would it be worth looking for a masters degree in that area?
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    (Original post by Ghost6)
    This does not make any sense. Universities look for the best students to enroll in their master's programs, not the worst; and a master's degree is far from being an "extremely specialized" degree. In fact, master's level is more like the bare minimum knowledge to have if you actually intend to make use of your academic skills in life. Even a PhD is not as specialized as it seems: certainly, the thesis is on a possibly very narrow aspect of the field, but the process should, at least in principle, require the student to gain a comprehensive command of her subject, beyond her "niche".

    Now to the original question, the answer is simply no in this case. A second class degree isn't enough to attend a university worth getting a master's degree from, so save your money.
    (Original post by janjanmmm)
    Yeah, does not make very much sense to me, either.

    If you do not do well at your undergrad degree you sure as hell not gonna do well at your grad degree. You most likely do not enjoy it, or you are not the brightest kid in the bunch, or both. How would hammering more of it into your poor tired head help?
    I know someone who did a Masters degree because they got a 2:2 on their original degree and then found it extremely hard to get employed as most graduate jobs stipulate a 2:1 and above. So she went back to do a Masters and passed with flying colours-- simply because a degree (like mine, in Molecular Medicine) was broad and tackled subjects she wasn't as good at... Whereas her Masters in Cellular Biology was much more narrow and focused on the areas she was far stronger at. And since obtaining her Masters she has found it easier to get jobs and now is working in the NHS.

    It also depends on what Masters you do-- because some of them are far more specialised. Think about it; you can do a degree in English Literature which incorporates multiple different subjects/topics whereas your Masters normally focuses around 1 (such as an MA in Renissance and 18th Century Literature) which is far more niche than the original degree.

    And also, saying that you can't do a Masters from a uni 'worth it' with a 2:2 that is absurd! Some well respected institutes do take on 2:2 candidates and will help and encourage you to do well.

    A Masters is all about whether you want to do well and whether you, personally, have the drive to succeed and want to achieve it.

    (Original post by hobnob)
    I think the important point there was that the tutor who gave this advice was a biologist, i.e. working in a subject where it's common to go straight on to a PhD after your undergraduate degree. So obviously this only applies to subjects for which a postgraduate master's degree is an unnecessary detour, not to subjects for which it's essential to continue to a PhD.
    Yeah. This is pretty much what I meant and sorry if it was not clear enough. In subjects where a Masters/PhD is not needed to drive your career-- then you have to examine whether it is worth it.

    I ultimately want to be a lab research leader either at an academic institute or in the Health Protection Agency... And do to this I need a PhD-- hence why I am doing it. If I wanted to join an NHS lab team or work in science marketing/communications it would be no benefit so a waste of my time as I already have the degree required and the skillset.

    If I had personally finished my degree with a 2:2 and still wanted to go on and be a lab research leader, I would've gone on to do a MRes/MSc first before looking to apply for a PhD to balance out not doing that well under exam contexts.

    So it is all dependent on what job you want to obtain at the end. Whether a masters is vital, whether it would help you stand out (i.e desired but not required) or whether they will take no interest in it-- that's what has to be considered.
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    A 2:2 is not an upper second class degree though is it?
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    MBA makes you specialised in a respective field and employers gives value to MBA degree. An MBA degree helps in salary hike too. So if you want to kick start your career with a high pay and prestigious designation then you should go for it.
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    (Original post by janfelton)
    MBA makes you specialised in a respective field and employers gives value to MBA degree. An MBA degree helps in salary hike too. So if you want to kick start your career with a high pay and prestigious designation then you should go for it.
    That's a rather naive view given the huge proliferation of MBAs these days. In any case the most valuable MBAs are those where the students already have a good few years' work experience, whereas it doesn't sound like the OP has much if any experience.

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