This is one of the most common questions I get from students and from job-seekers of all ages these days.
I have a very strong opinion on this subject because it’s one I wrestled with myself a few years ago when I was at a crossroads for my career. After achieving success in my dream job in the NBA, I reached a point where I was ready for a new challenge, and I told myself that I was not sure what I wanted to do next. Full disclosure: I knew what I wanted to do next (start my own business), but I didn’t have the courage to give it a go at that point. One year later, I took the plunge and went out on my own.
In hindsight, not going to grad school was one of the best decisions of my life. To be clear, there is nothing inherently wrong about going to grad school. However, it would have been the wrong decision for me because I didn’t have a great reason for pursuing a graduate degree. If I had gone to grad school, it would have been as a stall tactic, and that would have been a HUGE mistake.
So many people go to grad school right out of college or early in their careers because they think it is what they are supposed to do or because they simply want to push off the decision of what to do next with their lives. They lack direction, and they think the only way they will “figure it out” is by being in school for another 2-3 years.
Many of these people end up in careers completely unrelated to their graduate education, but guess what? They still have to pay off their student loans for grad school!
Go to grad school if you have VERY strong evidence that grad school will benefit a specific career path that you are excited about pursuing for the foreseeable future.
Do NOT go to grad school to “figure things out” or because you think “no one is hiring in this economy.”
Some marketers and media personalities want you to think that no one has gotten a job in the last 3 years. They want you to think that the only way any employer will ever hire you in the future is if you have a few more letters after your name. This is simply not true.
You will never meet anyone who is more passionate about the value of education than I am. However, way too many people go to grad school for the wrong reasons.
Again, go to grad school if it will benefit a specific path you want to follow for at least the next 5-10 years. Otherwise, there are much easier and much cheaper ways to figure out what you want to do with your life.
-By Pete Leibman, Founder of Dream Job Academy and Author of “I Got My Dream Job and So Can You”
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