Thoughts on Grad School

I was having a discussion recently with a friend on his first day of college at a new school. In the course of our conversation about the women’s soccer team and girls in yoga pants, he asked me when I was heading back to school. It got me thinking about his question. In a perfect world, I would like to be back in school by next fall, but going to graduate school is a little more involved than just signing up for school. I’m sure I could easily get into an online college if I wanted, but if I do go back to school, I would like to go to an actual college campus. While I enjoyed my experience at Post University getting my degree in accounting, I think graduate school would be better in person, enabling  collaboration with classmates and whatnot.

Despite not really knowing what I want to do with my life and even if a graduate degree would fit in, part of the reason I want to go back to school is to use the rest of my Post-9/11 GI Bill that I earned for my service in Iraq with the Army Reserve. It seems silly to waste this, and it would enable me to complete at least 50% of a degree for no cost. With a lot of student loan debt already, I am wary to go back to school if I need to take a loan to go to school again. Hopefully, if I do get back to school, I’ll be able to go full-time, using proceeds from my GI Bill and writing a bit to cover the cost without another loan.

The problem, of course, is trying to decide what to go back to study if I went back to school. First of all, in order to get into a “real” graduate school, I would have to take either the GMAT or GRE, with the test determined by what I was going to study in school. And since I didn’t necessarily graduate from college with honors, I feel like I would have to study for it (imagine that) or take a prep course in order to do well. I have considered doing this, but to do so would push back the start of school even further. Nevertheless, it is not a horrible idea and could be something that could show me if I am truly ready to go to grad school.

With that in mind, these are the four options which I am considering for an advanced degree, in the order that most appeals to me. If I don’t do anything, all the ladies out there should know if you marry me, I could transfer 10 months of GI Bill benefits to you and you could go to school for free. Just putting it out there.

1) Masters of Science in Finance – If anything, I think this degree fits closest to what I envision myself doing to make my millions and millions of dollars. There might be a bit of growing pains along the way, as my previous academic studies in finance have barely scratched the surface, but it would be nice to learn a bit more about some of the fundamental finance stuff to extend my knowledge on something that is pretty interesting. Most programs look like they can be completed in two semesters if going full-time.

2) Master of Economics – This is something that came to list most recently. However, I think if I were to go back and study economics, it would have to be working towards a PhD in the field. While I think it would benefit me the same a degree in finance would, it seems that a masters doesn’t seem like enough. Plus, if I could go to the University of Chicago and study under Steven Levitt of Freakonomics fame, it would be even sweeter.

3) MBA/Master of Accountancy – I dislike the idea of an MBA, as it has become the de facto grad degree for most folks looking to advance their career. I equate it to what law school has become: it has become a cash cow for colleges, and is generally producing low quality folks with an advanced degree. If you aren’t going to a top tier school, I feel that you are wasting your time. Not all degrees are created equal, and while a graduate of University of North Dakota law school could find a job as a lawyer — assuming they pass the bar exam — they most likely would lose out on jobs to someone at the middle of their class at Yale or Stanford. Then again, I shouldn’t really be addressing law school as I don’t think I could get in, let alone get through. I place a Master of Accountancy on the same level of an MBA, but at least it would be an extension of something I’ve already studied.

4) Master of Real Estate Development – This was once my first choice, but I’ve pushed it down due to some of the admission requirements. Plus, I don’t think the program really fits into what I want to do. From my attendance at the open house, I realized that I don’t think I have the previous experience necessary to succeed in the program, even if I do go ahead and get my real estate license. If I put off grad school for a few years and do pursue the real estate angle to my future empire, I could go back and do it then.

There is still a slight pull in the back of my mind to get a degree in history or even a teaching credential, but neither really fit into my long-term plans. The history degree would just be to pursue an interest and wouldn’t have an impact on my future career, but you never know. And while I value education and what teachers do, I don’t see myself making that a career, unless it is something I do part-time, either as an adjunct professor at a community college or a substitute teacher. Ultimately, we will see. Hopefully, I can find something to do and become even super smarter!

Until next time…

4 thoughts on “Thoughts on Grad School

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