The Student Room Group

Masters, internship, or go straight to work? Help me decide pls!

Hi,

I'm a final year student studying BSc International Management and is graduating in 2 months. I'm still quite lost on what to do after graduation. I always thought I'd do a masters straight away, but now I think that may not be the best option.

I've always had a hard time deciding what career path to take and still do. I'm leaning towards marketing but I still have doubts as I do not concretely know what a marketing job actually looks like. I feel like the theory I learnt about marketing throughout my course actually differs quite a lot with the actual duties of a marketing role. Throughout my degree I have not done any internships, which I do regret a lot, but considering my position now I reckon getting work experience before doing a masters might be a smarter choice, so I can have a clearer idea of what I enjoy the most (and if I'd even enjoy marketing) and then apply for a masters.

Right now I think I'm leaning more towards taking a gap year to secure some internships before applying for a masters. I've heard that internships are hard to secure after graduating as companies prefer those still in uni, is that true? Ideally I'm trying to secure 2 6-month internships before applying for my masters next year, would this be feasible? Another option would be to directly apply to entry-level jobs but I'm scared I might not go back to studying.

What should I do? Is taking a gap year to do internships before a masters a good route to take? I'm so overwhelmed and stressed out, I know so little about the professional world and just feel so lost about what would be the right choice. I'm scared of making the wrong decision and have negative consequences on my future. Any help is appreciated! Thanks!
Original post by crushmeii
Hi,
I'm a final year student studying BSc International Management and is graduating in 2 months. I'm still quite lost on what to do after graduation. I always thought I'd do a masters straight away, but now I think that may not be the best option.
I've always had a hard time deciding what career path to take and still do. I'm leaning towards marketing but I still have doubts as I do not concretely know what a marketing job actually looks like. I feel like the theory I learnt about marketing throughout my course actually differs quite a lot with the actual duties of a marketing role. Throughout my degree I have not done any internships, which I do regret a lot, but considering my position now I reckon getting work experience before doing a masters might be a smarter choice, so I can have a clearer idea of what I enjoy the most (and if I'd even enjoy marketing) and then apply for a masters.
Right now I think I'm leaning more towards taking a gap year to secure some internships before applying for a masters. I've heard that internships are hard to secure after graduating as companies prefer those still in uni, is that true? Ideally I'm trying to secure 2 6-month internships before applying for my masters next year, would this be feasible? Another option would be to directly apply to entry-level jobs but I'm scared I might not go back to studying.
What should I do? Is taking a gap year to do internships before a masters a good route to take? I'm so overwhelmed and stressed out, I know so little about the professional world and just feel so lost about what would be the right choice. I'm scared of making the wrong decision and have negative consequences on my future. Any help is appreciated! Thanks!

Are you a UK student or an international student?

I'm still quite lost on what to do after graduation. I always thought I'd do a masters straight away, but now I think that may not be the best option.
Why do you want to do a master's? What would it be in e.g. marketing? If it's not to go into academia, then I would question why you think getting a master's would help you get a job or why you think there's a point to doing the master's.
Have you considered a professional qualification instead of a master's e.g. CIM, IDM, DIM for marketing? Why not? What about some sort of portfolio of mock work in marketing that might be relevant e.g. writing a copy, running a very cheap campaign for £100, designing an ad/running your own mini marketing research?

I'm leaning towards marketing but I still have doubts as I do not concretely know what a marketing job actually looks like.
Go for an internship post graduation. Internships won't be limited to current students, but you would need to shop around for them. If not, try to at least secure some sort of work experience, again not limited to current students.

I feel like the theory I learnt about marketing throughout my course actually differs quite a lot with the actual duties of a marketing role.
It definitely isn't. I would say a lot of the material in traditional marketing degrees are a few steps behind on what the latest methods are and what actually work in practice.

I've heard that internships are hard to secure after graduating as companies prefer those still in uni, is that true?
Any internship is difficult to get, irrespective of whether it's after graduation or before. The main difference is that the range of internships that you can apply for shrink post graduattion.

Ideally I'm trying to secure 2 6-month internships before applying for my masters next year, would this be feasible?
You will struggle to find them, but you can be best try. I recommend networking for opportunities rather than just blind application after application.

Another option would be to directly apply to entry-level jobs but I'm scared I might not go back to studying.
Most don't, but then again a degree in marketing isn't required for a job in marketing.

What should I do? Is taking a gap year to do internships before a masters a good route to take?
It would make things clearer. I would personally recommend it if you can get one.
You will quickly see how things pair up with the theory you learn and see if doing the degree would be of any benefit.
The key thing is to get a relevant internship to marketing as opposed to getting any random job. An internship gives you relevant work experience, a reference, and a track record. A random job would at best give you a reference and nothing else.
If you are serious about it, you should have started applying and networking several months ago. The second best time is now. Don't delay.

I'm so overwhelmed and stressed out, I know so little about the professional world and just feel so lost about what would be the right choice.
I can only recommend to take one step at a time. You won't be able to find out about the professional world by sitting around and overanalysing the situation. It's usually only by reflecting on your professional experiences that you get insight to what actually is suited for you (no matter how small, learn everything and anything that you get from the role, be it good or bad). However, it would really help if you speak to people in the field first to get an accurate picture about the role before applying - companies don't like candidates wasting their time and testing things out to see if the job is something they want to do.

I'm scared of making the wrong decision and have negative consequences on my future.
People are allowed to change careers, but you would want to stick with something with a long time (people will criticise you if you don't). If you need to pivot or change fields, do this quickly and keep your jobs short so they don't have to appear to be a big gap in your CV.
The thing that you don't want to do is to have a large gap between jobs or after graduation. The ideal candidate is someone with relevant professional experience relevant to the role straight after school/college/university. The less ideal candidate is someone with experience that is not directly relevant to the role. The candidate with the most red flags is one who has done nothing relevant or any real job right after school/college/university (or worse, done nothing at all).

Quick Reply