Should I undertake a Masters degree?

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THAlex1993
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I'm currently a final year student at Russell Group University (Durham) and hold an offer for a Masters at the London School of Economics.

My options after graduation are:
- Undertake the Masters (and apply for jobs) - main problem is the cost
- Take a year out and keep applying for Jobs

My reasons for wanting to pursue the degree are as follows:
- Interest in the subject and want to continue studying before starting work
- It's a very prestigious University
- By doing the degree I will be in a Uni environment, and can make use of all the societies and opportunities to increase chances of a job. If I take a year out, there wont really be much for me to do and I can't warrant sitting at home for a year.
- A Masters is expensive and this is one of the things putting me off. But I feel as though in the long run it will be beneficial, if not for getting a job necessarily, it will be for life in general to have a good education at a prestigious University.

So basically it comes down to whether LSE is worth the high cost in the long run. At the end of the day I feel as though your education is something that will stay with you for the rest of your life and so I should just take the plunge. Equally, you don't need a masters to get a graduate job so in the short term there is no massive career benefit, apart from the Uni environment.

Thoughts?
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post-grad-u-ate
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I believe you can defer a place on a Masters degree, not 100% on that and if it applies to your programme.

Even if you don't defer I think they have to legally ask you if you have applied before and the result of that which in your case will mean it is very likely if you have an offer now that you will have an offer in the future.

Go into the City of London, tell them of your offer at LSE and your wish to gain work experience.

Bank of England is a good place to get some broad experience, or Wall St. New York

Take Sajid Javid, current business secretary, went from Exeter undergraduate to Wall Street, it is possible.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sajid_Javid#Early_life

I think the UK banks as an entry level you can get £25 - 40k per annum plus bonus.
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alleycat393
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Your reasons for wanting to do the degree seem sound so it's really up to you to weigh up the question of cost and see if it's doable or not. But do look into the option of deferring as the poster above suggested.
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999tigger
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You dont mention the relevant things which are, what career and what's the MA? What's your current degree as well? Imo I would go if i could afford it, but it's totally depend on the relevance.
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Jantaculum
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If you're not sure whether to do a Masters or not - then you probably shouldn't.
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Oilfreak1
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What are your career aspirations? If it's finance the actual name of your undergrad university becomes much more relevant to whether or not you should do a masters.

If not finance are you certain the prestige of LSE is significant enough in your desired field to warrant the cost of the masters?
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SethP
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My best advice is that if you aren't 100% passionate or committed about doing/what to do with the degree, you shouldn't pursue it. It's not worth the monetary, time and effort commitments you will have to make, especially if you are going to apply to top universities.
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THAlex1993
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(Original post by SethP)
My best advice is that if you aren't 100% passionate or committed about doing/what to do with the degree, you shouldn't pursue it. It's not worth the monetary, time and effort commitments you will have to make, especially if you are going to apply to top universities.

(Original post by Oilfreak1)
What are your career aspirations? If it's finance the actual name of your undergrad university becomes much more relevant to whether or not you should do a masters.

If not finance are you certain the prestige of LSE is significant enough in your desired field to warrant the cost of the masters?
(Original post by 999tigger)
You dont mention the relevant things which are, what career and what's the MA? What's your current degree as well? Imo I would go if i could afford it, but it's totally depend on the relevance.
(Original post by Jantaculum)
If you're not sure whether to do a Masters or not - then you probably shouldn't.
My undergrad is in law and the masters will be in politics, which LSE is probably the best place in the world for. Career aspirations are in the legal or public sector. Tbh if money wasn't an issue I would definitely do it. Not only is it a great University and course, in the long run it would be beneficial to have an MSc.
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999tigger
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How does a degree in politics further a legal career? Not seeing it.
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post-grad-u-ate
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(Original post by THAlex1993)
My undergrad is in law and the masters will be in politics, which LSE is probably the best place in the world for. Career aspirations are in the legal or public sector. Tbh if money wasn't an issue I would definitely do it. Not only is it a great University and course, in the long run it would be beneficial to have an MSc.
I graduated 3 years ago now and I am glad for the time to think about how a masters programme can elevate my career progression and prospects.

If you are talking LSE then you must be thinking political theory, global politics or MPA? LSEs LL.M. is highly rated and the M.Sc. International Political Economy is well noted but thinking about it Durham is just as good as LSE in the UK where as LSE is more recognisable internationally.

Durham is a great university and entering the Government legal service or the civil service is possible where they would have a lot of work for a lawyer and even working in the banks like Goldman and I said before about the Bank of England and that could get you thinking about working in the public domain with international financial law such as sovereign debt restructuring and working for the International Monetary Fund, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the permanent delegation to the OECD in Paris, the Treasury and this could later evolve to working in the private sector for City advisors like Lazard and Rothschild, all of who pay really well.

LSE is great no question, but QMUL and UCL both have fantastic law departments. UCL has an M.A. in legal and political theory and it's political science programmes are on par and are fantastic.

The IALS (Institute of Advanced Legal Studies) of the University of London has some great programmes in International Taxation and Corporate Governance which has become relevant with the Panama Papers.

I personally feel as if being away from university isn't a bad thing and work or even life experience will make you a better professional and you will be more mature for knowing what is expected of you out there in the real world and this will translate into getting a brilliant result in your masters programme.

As someone has already said, there is a lot of time, effort and money invested so you have to passionate and committed
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jelly1000
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(Original post by THAlex1993)
My undergrad is in law and the masters will be in politics, which LSE is probably the best place in the world for. Career aspirations are in the legal or public sector. Tbh if money wasn't an issue I would definitely do it. Not only is it a great University and course, in the long run it would be beneficial to have an MSc.
As others have said, if you want a career in law then that usually means doing a BPTC or LPC post undergraduate degree, a masters in Politics wouldn't help in that respect. And if by public sector you mean the Civil Service, then a Masters doesn't make it any easier to get in, you still have to take the same tests & go to the same assessment centre as everyone else. So you really need to think about what you want to do and do some research.
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PostGrad221
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(Original post by jelly1000)
As others have said, if you want a career in law then that usually means doing a BPTC or LPC post undergraduate degree, a masters in Politics wouldn't help in that respect. And if by public sector you mean the Civil Service, then a Masters doesn't make it any easier to get in, you still have to take the same tests & go to the same assessment centre as everyone else. So you really need to think about what you want to do and do some research.
Yup, I'm aware of that. I know that an MSc will not be of any definitive benefit necessarily for an entry level graduate position. But my thoughts are these.

Firstly, by spending another year in a University, I can get involved with lots of societies extra-curricular activities, that will increase my chances of securing a grad scheme. This is even more so, because the alternative is to sit at home for a year, with limited options that would be of benefit for securing a job.
Secondly, I feel as though I need another year in education to mature before I start working.
Thirdly, in the long term having a masters (especially from LSE) can only benefit me as I progress through my career.
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999tigger
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(Original post by PostGrad221)
Yup, I'm aware of that. I know that an MSc will not be of any definitive benefit necessarily for an entry level graduate position. But my thoughts are these.

Firstly, by spending another year in a University, I can get involved with lots of societies extra-curricular activities, that will increase my chances of securing a grad scheme. This is even more so, because the alternative is to sit at home for a year, with limited options that would be of benefit for securing a job.
Secondly, I feel as though I need another year in education to mature before I start working.
Thirdly, in the long term having a masters (especially from LSE) can only benefit me as I progress through my career.
It seems you dont want advice, just validation in doing an MA. Do it if it interests you and you think its worth the money. Some of your other reasons come across as weak. Your money, your time, your choice.
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PostGrad221
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(Original post by 999tigger)
It seems you dont want advice, just validation in doing an MA. Do it if it interests you and you think its worth the money. Some of your other reasons come across as weak. Your money, your time, your choice.
fair assessment of things.
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post-grad-u-ate
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(Original post by PostGrad221)
fair assessment of things.
I just wanted to reiterate that you already have Durham on your CV which is perfectly great for all graduate schemes so if you were questioned by a potential employer about why you went to LSE and you replied 'because I wanted a good university on my CV' which it almost sounds like you are saying. LL.B. from Durham on it's own is perfect for a career in government and politics with possible aspirations to become a member of parliament or even further, the cabinet or to a high position within the Civil Service. If the latter is the case then going for an MPA from LSE would be ideal so giving it a few years of working in the civil service would be beneficial for you to think it through.

I would say M.Sc. Public Policy from UCL would be a great addition if you really wanted to specialise now and make an impact at such an early stage of your career. Additionally UCL would be a fair part cheaper than LSE, like 10k compared to 20k+ at LSE.

A really great graduate programme is the HMRC taxation programme and going through IALS for a masters now would put you in an unbeatable position for such a career and in a great place to go on to work in the City and Mayfair (hedge funds) where you could make some serious money £5 million+ a year, and could be a good place to go into politics from, not exactly 'man of the people' message but society respects someone who has had a successful career in government and business for it shows economic know-how and access to the capital markets.

Politics is at times a difficult and dynamic path as you really have to have it all, such as public speaking and a lot of listening and understanding and there is an open and public competition for these roles so aiming for civil service (public) or banking (private) is much more straight-forwardly achievable.

Also going for LPC or BPTC and advancing your career in the legal profession would look really great for a place to start in politics.

Another educational path merging law into politics would be to study legal and political theory at UCL and then go to Cambridge for a Ph.D. in legal and political philosophy and political thought

Wnen you are asking people for help it really helps to give the specifics as you didn't state which programme you wanted to study at LSE.
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post-grad-u-ate
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(Original post by PostGrad221)
fair assessment of things.
M.Sc. in Regulation at LSE is a joint programme between the law and government department.

The programme regulations shows a huge plethora of electives available.

http://www.lse.ac.uk/resources/calen...Regulation.htm

Also one of the cheapest LSE postgraduate programmes at £12,500.
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jelly1000
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(Original post by PostGrad221)
Yup, I'm aware of that. I know that an MSc will not be of any definitive benefit necessarily for an entry level graduate position. But my thoughts are these.

Firstly, by spending another year in a University, I can get involved with lots of societies extra-curricular activities, that will increase my chances of securing a grad scheme. This is even more so, because the alternative is to sit at home for a year, with limited options that would be of benefit for securing a job.
Secondly, I feel as though I need another year in education to mature before I start working.
Thirdly, in the long term having a masters (especially from LSE) can only benefit me as I progress through my career.
That's fair enough- another year to get real world experience is no bad thing. I did a Masters and the work experience I did in the summer inbetween my undergraduate degree and postgraduate degree has helped me get interviews. I have to say the more you can do in a working environment rather than through a uni society the better, because as I was told after one recent interview 'everyone talks about uni.'
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sj27
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(Original post by PostGrad221)
Yup, I'm aware of that. I know that an MSc will not be of any definitive benefit necessarily for an entry level graduate position. But my thoughts are these.

Firstly, by spending another year in a University, I can get involved with lots of societies extra-curricular activities, that will increase my chances of securing a grad scheme. This is even more so, because the alternative is to sit at home for a year, with limited options that would be of benefit for securing a job.
Secondly, I feel as though I need another year in education to mature before I start working.
Thirdly, in the long term having a masters (especially from LSE) can only benefit me as I progress through my career.
Actually, I'd say these are pretty good reasons, from what I can see your only real reservation is the cost. Well, in a few years' time (once you've been earning a while) the cost won't seem so much in retrospect. Another factor to consider is that it won't be so easy after a few years to just take a year out and do a master's, especially if your career is progressing well and you don't want to interrupt that. (So some might say 'well then you don't need it' but I'd think that if personal fulfillment is a reason then you would regret not doing it). Especially a course like this where you don't have a part-time option - and I tend to agree with you that LSE is indeed one of the best unis to study politics at globally. In your shoes, I'd go for it.
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PostGrad221
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(Original post by sj27)
Actually, I'd say these are pretty good reasons, from what I can see your only real reservation is the cost. Well, in a few years' time (once you've been earning a while) the cost won't seem so much in retrospect. Another factor to consider is that it won't be so easy after a few years to just take a year out and do a master's, especially if your career is progressing well and you don't want to interrupt that. (So some might say 'well then you don't need it' but I'd think that if personal fulfillment is a reason then you would regret not doing it). Especially a course like this where you don't have a part-time option - and I tend to agree with you that LSE is indeed one of the best unis to study politics at globally. In your shoes, I'd go for it.
You've understood exactly where I'm coming from!

Yup, in 5 years time the cost really won't even be that much of a factor.
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