Your Career and You: “To Be…or Not To Be…MBA?”

Publication1Conversations with my undergrad COM/PR students at Curry College cover the waterfront…from “what kind of paper should I print my resume on?” to “how do I start my job search?” and beyond.

One that bubbles up more and more often, though, is “should I go to graduate school immediately and, if so, what should I study?

All are reasonable questions, although the first one is becoming more and more dated as job-hunting transactions become more digitally based.

For the resume…doesn’t matter…just don’t use recycled Kleenex or something like that.

Job search? You’ve already started it by sitting down and talking with me. It’s called “networking,” and you’re going to be doing a LOT of it in the coming months both one-on-one and in groups…professional organizations like, for us in the Boston area, the Boston Chapter, Public Relations Society of America, and the Publicity Club of New England for starters.

Now…grad school. Hmmmmm…..

Here’s a starter for you. Why? What do you hope to get from graduate studies right now? How do you think a graduate degree in “something” is going to make you more marketable as opposed to actual work experience that allows you to use and improve on the knowledge and skills that you got from your undergrad college studies and your internships? (You DID do at least a couple of internships, didn’t you?)

I was asked recently by a colleague at Education Dynamics for my thoughts both on taking business courses as part of one’s undergraduate studies and on the value that a master’s degree can add to your marketability The decision obviously rests with the individual, but I’m a firm believer in the benefits of both…when done correctly.

As I counsel my students, you absolutely must understand how business leaders…your bosses or your clients…think. And an understanding of business structure and business operations will help. So take “Introduction to Business Management” and other courses as electives…build your knowledge base NOW.

For your graduate studies, though, I recommend waiting. Get some real-life work experience first. Figure out what it is that you really like doing or would really like to learn more about. THEN look for a graduate program that will give you that additional knowledge. (And an added “plus” is that, often, your employer will pay for you to get that additional knowledge…you’ve got enough debt with your undergrad loans!)

I’ve talked and written about the value of learning a bazillion times, and I will continue “preaching” about it! I do my dead-level best to learn something new every single day.

It’s your decision, and you are going to have to live with the results. So do some serious thinking. Talk to everyone you can who can give you some guidance.

Then take a deep breath…and do it!


About kirkhazlett

35+ years' federal government and nonprofit organization PR experience followed by more than 20 years' undergraduate and graduate college teaching experience. Community and media relations expertise, as well as a fanaticism for quality service and customer satisfaction. PR for healthcare and member services organizations ranging from Blood Bank of Hawaii to Medical Area Service Corporation to Boston Harborfest. Consulting services for Manila and Singapore Red Cross.
This entry was posted in Action, careers, Communication, Critical Thinking, Curry College, Education, feedback, Graduate Communication, Inspiration, internships, job hunting, job search, networking, Planning, PR, PR students, professional organizations, PRSA Boston, public relations, Thinking, Undergraduate Communication and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Your Career and You: “To Be…or Not To Be…MBA?”

  1. Howie Sholkin says:

    I heartily endorse taking business classes regardless of major. Whenever one ends up in a career, it will be a business including government. It’s good to know how it functions both to relate to leaders and to understand the financial condition of the organization. As for grad degrees, learning on the job worked best for me. I believe it is important to gain work experience for a while to test one’s interest in an advanced degree. It’s also key to analyze the cost of the education plus a year or two of lost wages. The expense is more than tuition, room, and board.


    • kirkhazlett says:

      Thanks, Howie. Grad degrees aren’t necessarily for everyone. I agree that work experience can be much more valuable oftentimes. It’s an individual decision that each of of faces.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s