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Students Speak Out: Master’s Degrees are ‘Totally Worth It’

When you’re considering pursuing your master’s degree, be prepared to hear a whole slew of opinions on your decision. Is it worth the investment? With the cost of tuition today, this question is a valuable one, and some students aren’t sure of the answer. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the payoff is, in fact, worth it. Marilyn Mackes, the executive director of the NACE, told Fox Business that average starting salaries can shift by more than 20 percent between bachelor’s degree and master’s degree holders.

This salary difference and the chance that greater job opportunities will arise are two major reasons why students across the country decide to bite the bullet and pay for graduate school. Here, students who graduated from various New England colleges share their reasons why they’re happy with their decision to pursue a master’s degree.

Alicia Forte, Master of Business Administration, Bentley University 2011
“I definitely think a master’s in business is worth the financial cost. I am an auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the Big 4 Accounting Firms, who only hire candidates with a master’s degree. For that reason alone, obtaining a great job at such a young age is worth the financial cost of my MBA.

Currently, more and more companies in the business world are only hiring employees that have a master’s degree in business management or administration, trying to set a higher standard for quality. Other companies help pay for classes, and for those questioning going back to get an MBA, it seems like a no-brainer. I also believe my master’s degree at Bentley put me in a better position coming into the business environment, where I felt like I could easily transition into the workplace. I definitely feel like I can add value to the work I am doing, and have gained respect from my colleagues. I believe my master’s degree gave me the tools to do this.”

Sarah Balal, Master of Education in Higher Education Administration, Northeastern University 2013
“An MBA and other master’s degree programs are becoming increasingly important in today’s job market.  The cost of courses can often be covered by employers, and for those pursuing a degree full time, the cost should be seen as an investment that will eventually pay for itself by providing opportunities for better employment.”

Paul Valente, Master of Business Administration, Bentley University 2012
“I decided to concentrate in accounting because I knew I would be pursuing my CPA license The great aspect of an MBA versus an MSA (Master of Science in accounting) is that you are exposed to a much broader range of business courses, whereas the MSA (or any other focused degree) is solely focused on accounting. I ended up taking one online ’hybrid’ course per semester. Hybrid means the classroom is set up so people can attend online and still raise their hand virtually and talk via microphone so the whole class can hear your questions. The hybrid classes were awesome because I was able to have a flexible schedule.

I think the experience of the MBA was totally worth it. Going and working for a couple years and then going back to school makes you appreciate the opportunity to learn. Unlike undergrad, almost everyone in my MBA classes had experience and they were able to share their experiences with the entire class. Essentially everyone there had great stories and lessons to teach everyone else. In undergrad, the teacher does most of the teaching, but in the MBA environment everyone is teaching. I was lucky enough to have my MBA fully paid for through my father’s military benefits so the financial aspect is a little different in my situation. However, I was able to work as a real estate agent while taking my MBA, mostly due to the flexibility afforded to me by the online flexibility. I will, however, say that I believe the experience I gained from the MBA will certainly pay for itself in future earnings, and therefore was worth the investment. There are affordable MBA programs out there – I’ve heard Louisiana State University has online classes for around $500 each.”

Jill Dilibero, Master’s in Business Administration, Simmons College 2013
“I think it will be beneficial to my career goals. Statistically, MBAs receive higher starting salaries than those with undergraduate degrees. Also, a lot of companies like MBA degrees, so you may be more likely to get an advanced role.”