Is doing a masters good for job prospects? Watch

kt21
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I'm currently a penultimate year student at a Russell Group university and have been struggling to secure an internship.

My applications have mainly been for commercial law firms, banks, the civil service and also think tanks. I understand that academics is not the only part of the application that these organisations consider when offering places, and I am also aware that there is always areas in these other assessment methods where I can improve, but I'm wondering if my chances could be improved if I undertook a masters degree.

After having spoken to various heads of graduate recruitment at several career fairs at my university - some of which have told me there is no point in applying with my A level grades (ABB (for some of the law firms)) - would it make sense to complete a masters as a way to overshadow or reduce the negative consequences of my A level grades?
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Notoriety
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Wait, so this is a law question? I apologise in advance for the double-invocation J-SP. I guess JohanGRK might have some opinions too.

Master's are "good" to fill a year and give you another cycle in which to apply to firms. But maybe it's phrases like "penultimate year student" and your wider app that's causing the bother. The range of places you're applying to is pretty wide, so maybe your lack of specific motivation for legal work is evident in your app. I guess seeing an app you've sent in might be the only way answer you properly. What have firms said in relation to your apps? Are you even getting through the psychometric testing?
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J-SP
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If any organisation has an a-level requirement it’s rare that a masters will let them overlook that requirement. A handful do, but the typically state this explicitly in their marketing materials.

There’s plenty of organisations in the various sectors that don’t have an ABB+ a level requirement thought. Maybe seek them out rather than commit to a masters first.

Check there aren’t other shortcomings on your applications as well - if they are still there after you complete a masters, it’s unlikely you will find a very different result
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xfootiecrazeesarax
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Yes as then hopefully it reduces the chances that you're stuck doing the same shiiitee for 45 years which is no where near as interesting in the contents of your degree and makes you brain deadXD#lovinglifetk19
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JohanGRK
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Not really, no. From my LinkedIn stalking, it seems that the people who've done them before going on to secure TCs did them to buy time for another applications cycle. I can't think of a single problem with one's application (except maybe if they went to a really **** first university and desperately needed a 'brand' upgrade?) that can be solved with a Master's.
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ajj2000
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(Original post by kt21)
I'm currently a penultimate year student at a Russell Group university and have been struggling to secure an internship.

My applications have mainly been for commercial law firms, banks, the civil service and also think tanks. I understand that academics is not the only part of the application that these organisations consider when offering places, and I am also aware that there is always areas in these other assessment methods where I can improve, but I'm wondering if my chances could be improved if I undertook a masters degree.

After having spoken to various heads of graduate recruitment at several career fairs at my university - some of which have told me there is no point in applying with my A level grades (ABB (for some of the law firms)) - would it make sense to complete a masters as a way to overshadow or reduce the negative consequences of my A level grades?
Which area(s) of work are you considering and what are you studying at the moment? Your list of possible careers seems very wide - I doubt you could select a masters which would really move you forward in many of the options.
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J-SP
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Where people do manage it, they tend to improve their CV alongside getting a masters. Too many people think a masters will solve the problem and is a “quick (albeit expensive) fix” - it really isn’t THAT impressive/unique on its own (plenty of people do it) that people think they should make an exception.

Some things may make it look better though - for instance your grade/your specialism.
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kt21
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(Original post by ajj2000)
Which area(s) of work are you considering and what are you studying at the moment? Your list of possible careers seems very wide - I doubt you could select a masters which would really move you forward in many of the options.
Hey there,

I'm currently studying History and Politics at Warwick and am very interested to pursue a masters in political theory or intellectual history. My primary focus is currently towards the legal sector where many of the law firms that have established an ABB requirement have acceptence rates below 2 or even 1%.

My interest in law stemmed from earlier interests in politics and economics. I felt that the combination of the two - alongside the notion of negotiating and drafting/reviewing documents - is best found in the legal sector. However, this hasn't stopped me from applying to other institutions that are purely economics/business or politics based.
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kt21
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(Original post by JohanGRK)
Not really, no. From my LinkedIn stalking, it seems that the people who've done them before going on to secure TCs did them to buy time for another applications cycle. I can't think of a single problem with one's application (except maybe if they went to a really **** first university and desperately needed a 'brand' upgrade?) that can be solved with a Master's.
Do you think trying to buy some time to gain experience and develop key skills alongside knowledge of the legal sector is worth it in the long-run?

The more I research about law and attend various conferences and open days, the more I'm getting drawn in.

I feel like doing a masters could maybe also show employers that I may have developed analytical/communication skills slightly (if at all (who knows lol)) more than the average BA student?
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ajj2000
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(Original post by kt21)
Hey there,

I'm currently studying History and Politics at Warwick and am very interested to pursue a masters in political theory or intellectual history. My primary focus is currently towards the legal sector where many of the law firms that have established an ABB requirement have acceptence rates below 2 or even 1%.

My interest in law stemmed from earlier interests in politics and economics. I felt that the combination of the two - alongside the notion of negotiating and drafting/reviewing documents - is best found in the legal sector. However, this hasn't stopped me from applying to other institutions that are purely economics/business or politics based.
I dont know a lot about the sectors you are interested in - in general I think masters degrees are hugely overrated by undergrads and graduates who are job hunting. That doesnt mean there are not good reasons to do them, and I would exclude some career related conversion masters from this, but they can often come across on focussed on a different career to the one you are applying for, or to be work avoidance.

I'd be careful that you gain a net benefit before investing a lot of time and money. That money might be worth a lot to you in a few years if a separate course could be career enhancing either for progression or career change reasons.
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kt21
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(Original post by Notoriety)
Wait, so this is a law question? I apologise in advance for the double-invocation J-SP. I guess JohanGRK might have some opinions too.

Master's are "good" to fill a year and give you another cycle in which to apply to firms. But maybe it's phrases like "penultimate year student" and your wider app that's causing the bother. The range of places you're applying to is pretty wide, so maybe your lack of specific motivation for legal work is evident in your app. I guess seeing an app you've sent in might be the only way answer you properly. What have firms said in relation to your apps? Are you even getting through the psychometric testing?
Hey Notoriety,

So far I've been rejected by most of the law firms I have applied to. One of them had even rejected me the day after applying even though I had spent weeks developing a succinct yet informative answer to their questions which was also reviewed by my university careers advisor who has experience in helping non-law students such as myself to succeed in these applicaitons.

Aside from that I have gone on to complete a video interview with one of the firms and am awaiting their response. Two other applications have been made - which were submitted mid December - but they haven't got back to me yet either.

My interest in law only really came to surface towards the beginning of my second year at uni. I understand that not having a direct focus on one particular industry can certainly be an issue, but I feel as if for now I should chase whatever seems interesting and can offer an opportunity to develop key skills/knowledge that can make me even stronger in future applications.
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JohanGRK
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(Original post by kt21)
Do you think trying to buy some time to gain experience and develop key skills alongside knowledge of the legal sector is worth it in the long-run?

The more I research about law and attend various conferences and open days, the more I'm getting drawn in.

I feel like doing a masters could maybe also show employers that I may have developed analytical/communication skills slightly (if at all (who knows lol)) more than the average BA student?
You can gain that time through a year abroad or a year working as a paralegal - the latter will give you a lot more commercial awareness and 'hard' knowledge than a Master's in an academic field.

They test you on these skills during ACs. If you meet the standard, you've met the standard, and you're in. Signalling/perception doesn't come into it - you either perform on the day, or you're out. Now, different people come to reach that standard of interviewing/being assessed at different stages in their lives, which is why some law firms are more than happy to give offers to first year students.
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J-SP
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(Original post by kt21)
Do you think trying to buy some time to gain experience and develop key skills alongside knowledge of the legal sector is worth it in the long-run?

The more I research about law and attend various conferences and open days, the more I'm getting drawn in.

I feel like doing a masters could maybe also show employers that I may have developed analytical/communication skills slightly (if at all (who knows lol)) more than the average BA student?
You might as well just do the GDL/SQE rather than a masters in a non law subject.

If you want to do a legal career, then the only reason you would do a masters in a non law subject is for your own personal interest. It won’t help you get a job. It sounds like you could use the time between now and graduating to focus on building your skills/knowledge.
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J-SP
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(Original post by kt21)
Hey Notoriety,

So far I've been rejected by most of the law firms I have applied to. One of them had even rejected me the day after applying even though I had spent weeks developing a succinct yet informative answer to their questions which was also reviewed by my university careers advisor who has experience in helping non-law students such as myself to succeed in these applicaitons.

Aside from that I have gone on to complete a video interview with one of the firms and am awaiting their response. Two other applications have been made - which were submitted mid December - but they haven't got back to me yet either.

My interest in law only really came to surface towards the beginning of my second year at uni. I understand that not having a direct focus on one particular industry can certainly be an issue, but I feel as if for now I should chase whatever seems interesting and can offer an opportunity to develop key skills/knowledge that can make me even stronger in future applications.
So let’s be clear, you have only been unsuccessful in one application? Why are you assuming you need to do a masters if only one application has been unsuccessful. I will bet money now that you weren’t eligible for their scheme if you were rejected so quickly - sometimes you have to be in your final year as a non-law student.
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kt21
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(Original post by J-SP)
So let’s be clear, you have only been unsuccessful in one application? Why are you assuming you need to do a masters if only one application has been unsuccessful. I will bet money now that you weren’t eligible for their scheme if you were rejected so quickly - sometimes you have to be in your final year as a non-law student.
Right now, I've been rejected by around 10 law firms, 5 banks and the civil service twice and I was suitable for the eligibility requirements for all of these applications. I'm aware that there are people out there who have suffered from far, far, far more rejections.

I just put the question of a masters out there to see whether undertaking something like this could have any positive influence on my future applications - that's all.

Oh and sorry I wasn't very clear in the previous response. I was just given insight into a few of the applications I made (which don't make up the 'most' that I mentioned)
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J-SP
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(Original post by kt21)
Right now, I've been rejected by around 10 law firms, 5 banks and the civil service twice and I was suitable for the eligibility requirements for all of these applications. I'm aware that there are people out there who have suffered from far, far, far more rejections.

I just put the question of a masters out there to see whether undertaking something like this could have any positive influence on my future applications - that's all.

Oh and sorry I wasn't very clear in the previous response. I was just given insight into a few of the applications I made (which don't make up the 'most' that I mentioned)
How can you apply for the civil service twice when you are only in your penultimate year? For the civil service, you can only apply in your final year.

Your possibly spreading yourself too thinly. You said you have applied to banks, and yet nothing you have posted so far suggests an inkling of an interest in a financial career.

All the sectors you are applying to are highly competitive. Most civil services applicants take several round of applications before they get in.

A masters in a non vocational subject won’t help any of these applications though. I really don’t think it’s worth it if you are still looking at a wide range of career opportunities.

Better to go out into the world of work and build your skills/knowledge there and work out which sector you want to focus on.
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kt21
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(Original post by J-SP)
How can you apply for the civil service twice when you are only in your penultimate year? For the civil service, you can only apply in your final year.

Your possibly spreading yourself too thinly. You said you have applied to banks, and yet nothing you have posted so far suggests an inkling of an interest in a financial career.

All the sectors you are applying to are highly competitive. Most civil services applicants take several round of applications before they get in.

A masters in a non vocational subject won’t help any of these applications though. I really don’t think it’s worth it if you are still looking at a wide range of career opportunities.

Better to go out into the world of work and build your skills/knowledge there and work out which sector you want to focus on.
There are first and second year opportunities in the civil service for individuals from BAME backgrounds.

In terms of applying to banks, I had previously completed an internship for a private equity firm where I ultimately gave an investment pitch after having researched and analysed relevant markets and the financial statements of the companies found within them.

The point of this discussion was for me to see whether a masters in itself can further my job prospects with a particular focus in law (my primary goal).

But yes, I totally agree with you on the fact that I probably do need to go out there and have more first-hand experiences. Hopefully that should end my indecisiveness.

Thanks for the advice.
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J-SP
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(Original post by kt21)
There are first and second year opportunities in the civil service for individuals from BAME backgrounds.

In terms of applying to banks, I had previously completed an internship for a private equity firm where I ultimately gave an investment pitch after having researched and analysed relevant markets and the financial statements of the companies found within them.

The point of this discussion was for me to see whether a masters in itself can further my job prospects with a particular focus in law (my primary goal).

But yes, I totally agree with you on the fact that I probably do need to go out there and have more first-hand experiences. Hopefully that should end my indecisiveness.

Thanks for the advice.
Those internships with the civil service are notoriously competitive - I wouldn’t take it as you can’t be successful just because you didn’t get on them. The civil service has to have a pretty strict process in how they screen (all has to be fair and consistent) and all it takes is for something not to meet one of their marking criteria and you won’t get through.

I understand your “point of this conversation” to this thread - but what I am trying to show is that you are looking at this in the wrong way, like many others do.

As Johan as said, at best a masters will just buy you some time, but that time could be bought doing something far more productive. Your choice of masters won’t really directly apply to any of your career choices. Working is likely to be far more useful - but at the same time if you have work experience at a PE firm then maybe it isn’t that which needs work. Maybe it is your motivation or your written style of application that is the part that needs more focus.
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