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Volume 10, Number 17
24 February 2004

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Post-Graduate Dilemma: Part II

After my friend decided that a graduate study (masters or doctoral) would be essential for his career, the first thing he was concerned about was when to enter graduate school. Obviously he had two choices: He could immediately start or spend for few years in a job to gain some experience. Indeed he knows both options have distinct pros and cons; and the choice depends on his personality and expectations.
He was aware that when he graduated with a bachelor's degree, he would be accustomed to being a student and have momentum, his knowledge would still be fresh and his skills sharp. Thus, enrolling in a graduate school at this point would not cause any “back to school” syndromes. More, the industry may be going into tough days, I added, and even his experienced colleagues were unemployed. Perhaps the position he wanted requires a higher degree, or simply he may not want to go into the world of business and combining this with the option of delaying his obligatory military service, the best course of action for him might be to spend the summer after graduation registering for a graduate program, I continued. Of course I mentioned the drawback to this option, in that it can be difficult to meet the debts incurred with financing his education.
But he was not that easily persuaded. He knew that working a few years before going to graduate school could possibly solidify his career goals. With prior experience, he said he would bring a broader world view to his studies and bring together what he learned in school with what he gained from his practical experience in the job market. More, he claimed he could formulate the problems needed to be solved and generate research ideas. He believed this option would also bring the chance of covering his school expenses himself or his company, possibly would do it for him. I agreed with him and added that even if he were not the best student in his undergraduate program; an eye-catching work experience, would definitely increase his chances of being accepted for a graduate program. But I warned again, his choice of going back to school may require monetary and locality sacrifices and it wouldn’t be easy for him to leave the relative comfort of getting steady paychecks.
I think the ideal choice should be based upon his positional interests since some positions require us to have graduate qualifications, like an MBA (Master of Business Administration) while some companies wish to recruit at the entry-level. Thus, once he decides which position he wishes to work in, in the future, and carefully identifies that position’s requirements, he will most likely be able to make the best decision at this major turning point in his career.

Dođuţ Uysal (CS/IV)

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