Students share their experience
Making the decision to pursue a graduate degree isn’t easy—nor should it be. The investment is as much emotional as it is financial and will affect the next two to three years of your life.
“You need to make it work for you,” said Iona Tice, a Master of Public Administration candidate, on Saturday, March 14, to a crowd of prospective students at Northeastern University’s Graduate Programs Open House.
Tice spoke during the Student Experience Panel alongside Rini Ghosh, a student in the Doctor of Law and Public Policy program, and Umeaz Kheradia, a Master of Science in Engineering Management candidate. Each explained why he or she chose to attend graduate school, as well as the impact the decision had on other aspects of his or her life.
The trio spoke candidly, addressing academics, work-life balance, and the opportunities that lie ahead. Wondering whether you should make the leap? Here’s what you should consider:
Make Your Motive Clear
For Tice, her reasoning was as clear as, “I knew I needed a master’s degree to get higher in my career.” Rising in the ranks requires more than just a master’s degree, however. It takes a strong network, and it was Northeastern’s network that attracted Tice to Boston.
For Kheradia, whose interests are in the startup space, Boston’s legacy as a tech hub is what drew him in. By enrolling in Northeastern, he could immerse himself in a city known for innovation, while honing his business strategy and product management skills.
Determine your end goals and ask yourself how a graduate degree might factor in. Whether you are generally looking to advance your career, or want to advance your career in a particular city, can the credential help?
Remember the Resources
Undergraduates are not the only ones with access to a university’s career services department or its extracurricular activities.
Northeastern’s Employers in Residence program in Career Development has proven beneficial to Tice; the University Health and Counseling Services helped Ghosh. “Both professionally and academically, the student organizations are amazing,” Kheradia chimed in.
Graduate school offers that access you thought you lost at the end of your senior year, so take advantage of it. As Ghosh said, “There’s a lot on campus that you can get out of it, outside of your academics.”
Expand Your Network
The opportunities don’t exist solely on campus, however. Northeastern’s online degree programs also offer access to the university’s esteemed faculty, whose expertise students are able to benefit from.
“Our professors have a lot of great experience and background … and you get to share that,” Tice said. “It’s really great to build your own connections.”
Those connections extend far beyond the faculty, though. “There are a lot of great opportunities for students to get involved and network with each other,” Tice added.
Northeastern’s network of employers will be valuable when you graduate, but you never know who might be introducing you to those employers along the way.
Be Prepared to Balance
With more than half the crowd juggling full-time jobs, graduate students’ ability to balance work and school was a natural topic of discussion.
During the discussion, online learning was reintroduced. Although still academically rigorous, students are able to schedule time to complete class assignments around their work and family agendas with the help of anytime-anywhere access.
Whether you attend online or on campus, the key, according to Tice, is to make grad school a priority and just do it. “You need to make it work for you.”
And, if successful, you will have the opportunity to expand your network and advance your career in the process.