A few months ago, I was in the middle of an employment transition and was up to my ears in job applications. Under skills/qualifications, nearly every job listing I viewed said something to this effect: bachelor’s degree required; master’s degree preferred.

The world is changing. Every day, the job market grows more competitive, and the number of employers who want their employees to have graduate degrees is increasing.

If you’ve ever toyed with the idea of going back to school, now might be the best time to finally take that step. Whether you are currently in college or have been out of school for years, here are just a few reasons you should consider furthering your education:

  1. Many jobs require or prefer a graduate degree. Having a graduate degree can open up a world of opportunity for you to pursue career options you might not have considered or felt qualified for otherwise.
  2. Personal growth. Graduate school can provide a highly transformative learning experience. As you flex your intellectual muscles and glean knowledge from your professors and peers, you may learn more about yourself and discover new passions you never realized you had.
  3. Networking opportunities. Graduate school often has a reputation for its fierce competitiveness. While this might be true in some cases, many graduate programs also allow you to develop increased networking opportunities – with your peers (who oftentimes are working professionals), with your professors, and with other industry experts. In fact, many graduate programs utilize the cohort model of learning, which naturally fosters strong professional relationships that will continue even after you have graduated. And when it comes to moving forward in your career, sometimes “who you know” can make all the difference.
  4. Career advancement opportunities. A graduate degree doesn’t necessarily guarantee a promotion, but it certainly increases the possibility. I recruit for an MBA program and constantly hear of our students receiving promotions and/or leadership opportunities once their employers learn that they are pursuing their MBA.
  5. Increased financial opportunities. Similarly, a graduate degree doesn’t necessarily guarantee a pay raise, but it certainly increases the possibility. Many employers understand the value of a graduate degree and seek to financially reward their employees for taking this important step in their professional development.

If you find yourself wanting to make any of these changes in your personal or professional life, I encourage you to consider graduate school. A number of programs are currently accepting for the fall, so this is a great time to do your research and apply.

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