Why did you pursue a master's degree?
"I pursued a master's degree for two reasons; first, to quickly transition from public policy to a business career path, since my career interests were shifting, and a two-year intensive MBA curriculum seemed the best way to achieve that. Second, was to expand my network of people with similar career interests and people from a variety of backgrounds. I think one of the best ways to achieve the most that you can in your career is to surround yourself with many people who will open your eyes to new ideas and inspire you, and a master's program that draws students from a variety of professional and cultural backgrounds is a great place to find that."
What would you tell someone who is considering returning to school to earn a master's degree?
"A master's degree is not necessary for everyone. If you're already on a great trajectory in your field and have a broad and strong network, then consider whether the financial cost is worth the gains. But, if you feel something is missing in your career, then a master's degree can open a lot of doors. The best way to find out if it is right for you is to have many talks with alumni of the master's programs you're considering – ask what drove them to pursue the degree, why they chose the particular school and what they've learned that has helped them succeed in their career. If you are inspired by them to do the same, then you should go for it."
What was the biggest challenge you faced when pursuing your master's degree?
"My MBA program (as I'm sure with most master's programs) had a packed curriculum with extracurricular academic and lab activities to top it off (things like teaching assistant opportunities, mentoring undergrads, startup or other business competitions). It forced me to get really good at managing my time and making decisions, which is a critical skill now in my career that I hadn't anticipated I'd learn from my MBA."
What was the biggest reward for earning the master's degree?
"The biggest reward from my master's degree is the network of alumni and faculty that continue to teach me concepts I can apply in my job, like new marketing data tools or sales strategies, and continue to open my eyes to new business or cultural ideas and trends that change my way of thinking. We are all continuously learning, and I lean on my master's alumni network to be a huge source of new tools and ideas."
Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at Examiner.com
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