My Master Degree Journey
Once again here at Big Data Big Questions we tackle a College related question. Today is a little different where I discuss MY JOURNEY in choosing a MBA over a Masters of Science. After less than 6 months into my first Software Engineering role, I decide to pursue a Masters degree. One of the biggest reason I acted so fast was advice from peers. The advice was simple knock out the Masters before you get too busy with life in general.
Wow was that good advice for me!
Once the decision to go back to school was made, I had to select as Masters program. In reality I’m sure I made the decision a lot harder than it should have been. Looking back after all these years I’m confident I made the right decision. Watch this episode of Big Data Big Questions to find out my process for choosing a MBA over a Masters in Science.
Transcript – MBA Over Masters in Science
Hi folks! Thomas Henson here with thomashenson.com. Today is another episode of Big Data Big Questions. Today’s question is another in the “how do I choose a degree” series I guess, that I’ve been getting in, and this one is more just around my personal journey. How did I decide to go with an MBA versus a Master of Science? It was a pretty big decision for me, so I thought I’d share my journey, because I know a lot of folks are looking at, even from an undergrad perspective, am I going to go more information systems, or am I going to go more computer science, or engineering from that perspective? How does it all go through, and what’s the thought process? I’m just going to provide my thought process to how I went through it, and maybe that can help you. Maybe you can give me some advice, tell me if you think I did the right decision.
I want to talk a little bit about my journey into choosing my MBA over choosing a Master of Science, just to give some thought process around that. I was not a traditional student in the fact that I graduated a little bit older. I had a career outside of tech a little bit before I really focused down, and buckled down, and went back and got my information systems, or CIS Computer Information Systems. It’s different at other places. Whenever I went through that, I made it, really, a focus that as soon as I graduated, I was really going to try to get back in. I think I only took six months off. During that six months, and even before then, I knew I wanted to go and get my Master’s, and so I was really struggling with the fact that, hey, what do I need to do? Should I go for a computer science or some kind of science master degree, since I had what was essentially a business degree in information systems, or should I continue on the path and go down the road of getting my MBA?
Sought out a lot of information from mentors, people I worked with. I was very fortunate in my first job, where they would pay for my college tuition for my Master’s degree. I was really excited about that, and also another one of the reasons that it probably really drove me within six months of graduating, getting a job, going back in and being like, “I want to work full-time and get my Master’s degree.” For me, sought out some mentors. My manager at the time, he had an MBA, and that was one of the things I asked him. I was like, “How did you decide?” He was like, didn’t really matter as much in his eyes from what he’s seen, and with him having an MBA, plus, a little bit biased. For him, he was like, “I liked it.” The thought process around having an MBA, being able to say MBA in your title, is a little bit different and has more of a pop, I guess, from his perspective. Another one of the mentors I talked to, actually he had a Master’s of Science, and he was upper-level director at the organization I worked for, and just talking with him, and he was along the same path of not necessarily saying that an MBA was going to matter. He was more that it matters that you finish. From that perspective, so really after I had some advice from that perspective, it really let me go in, and the way that I actually chose is like, all right, it’s not going to hurt my career path either way.
I really went through, and I looked at the programs. I compared the programs, compared how long it would take. It would take me a little bit longer to go through the Master’s of Science and really, it was more about some of the classes and some of the cool things. I’ve always had a knack for business. I really liked accounting when I had accounting classes previously in my undergrad. It really gave me an opportunity to dial in and look at some of the things across business from an economics perspective. Some of the computer information systems classes, because they’re still focused. You have an MBA. You have a focus. I still focused on that. Being able to do some things with more Java classes, because at the time, I liked Java. [Laughs] Some of the things with databases and information systems. Really, there were some cool things that were going on around healthcare that piqued my interest as well, too. Chose that path, so I know people have sought out advice, and looked around and asked. Should we do this? Should I go for a data engineering degree or a data science degree? It really depends on what you want to do, and I don’t think, just like with my journey, picking one or the other is going to hurt you down the road. Going back to the blunt advice I got from a senior director was, it matters more about if you finished it.
When you start out on that journey, make sure that you capture it and go on. That doesn’t say that anybody that’s watching this don’t think it’s a thing where you’re like, hey, you have to get a Master’s degree to be able to succeed within your role. We’ve proven that, especially in tech, so much in tech. There’s folks without Bachelor’s degrees, without Master’s degrees, and even without high school diplomas. It’s more about how creative you can be and how much you can focus, and just really pull yourself into your craft, whether it be development, whether it be analytics, or wherever you want to go. Just for me, for that journey, it was having me being a later student is kind of like, for me, I really wanted to go back and prove to myself that I could finish and stick it out. Being one of the first in my generation, between my family, to go and to have that Master’s degree, also was really awesome. Personal decision, but I’m sharing it with everybody here. Everybody’s situation’s different. Happy to give advice, happy to talk through it all, but that’s my story, my journey. If you have any questions, put them in the comments section here below or reach out to me on bigdatabigquestions.com. I’ll do my best to answer those, and I’ll see you again next time on Big Data Big Questions.