Congratulations on your college graduation! That is a significant accomplishment. So, what’s next?
Often college graduates face question after question about their plans for a job or graduate school. For some college graduates, the idea of pursuing a graduate degree right away is out of the question. They just need a break—and a paycheck.
However, if you are like some of the recent college graduates we have counseled at Stetson University College of Law, you are considering a full-time graduate degree immediately after graduation for a number of strong reasons.
Here are the Top 5 reasons recent graduates pursue graduate school:
- You want to break into a career/industry and you lack the educational and experiential requirements. For example, you want to work in business, but you were a sociology major.
- You want to climb the ladder and know that you will need to continually seek advanced education, certifications and licenses to do so.
- You want to increase your earning potential.
- You are not ready to jump right into the workforce.
- You are truly interested in a particular topic and wish to study it at a more advanced level.
Think about the return on investment
There are hundreds of graduate programs available, depending on your interests and goals. If going to school full-time is appealing to you, be clear about your goals and what you want to do with the degree. While the economy is strong and unemployment is low right now, that tends to be cyclical. So, seek out a degree that will give you an advantage in the eyes of prospective employers.
Google the median income for those with bachelor’s degree versus a master’s degree and you will see a steep percentage increase in income for those with master’s degrees, professional degrees and doctorates. Keep in mind, however, that those salaries are industry- and degree-dependent. An elementary education teacher with a master’s degree will make less than a genetic engineer with a master’s degree.
Be realistic about future demand for your intended career and potential earnings. Take a look at PayScale’s Compensation Research data to get some ideas about the salary data for your field. Keep in mind that there is the added debt from another year of tuition and fees to contend with, as well as the opportunity cost from taking yourself out of the workforce for another year or two.
Consider a degree that combines multiple interests
We often speak with college graduates with an interest in international relations, business and law. Many tell us they don’t want to be lawyers, at least not right now, and they are not particularly interested in the MBA or the accounting, economics and finance courses that come with an MBA. Also, many students lack the undergraduate prerequisites for the MBA and do not want to go back and take those undergraduate courses.
According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, applications for MBA programs were down 6.6 percent in 2018. Many people interested in business education have begun to look at alternative degrees, such as the Master of Jurisprudence (MJ) in International and Comparative Business Law.
Stetson Law’s MJ in International and Comparative Business Law is a great fit for a recent college graduate looking for a full-time, on-campus graduate degree. This program is an intensive one-year master’s degree designed to provide non-lawyers and working professionals with the basic understanding of the legal system and how it impacts the successful operations of a business. The program director accepts part-time students on a case-by-case basis.
Students take graduate level classes in international law, international business transactions, US legal systems and even participate in an externship. The list of electives is extensive, from European Union business law to international trade regulation and international joint ventures. This program is not aimed at future accountants and finance managers, but rather future project managers, business and corporate development executives, international banking VPs, and venture capitalists, among other fields. Students are taught by full-time faculty members and adjunct professors who are practicing lawyers and experienced business professionals.
There is a growing demand for business professionals with advanced legal literacy. This rigorous master’s degree prepares students for work in multinational companies and government agencies. Explore the MJ in International and Comparative Business Law as an option if you are a recent college graduate considering a master’s degree.