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November 22, 2016
The Masters Debate: Back to School or Not?
By: Clara O'Connor

Should you do a Masters and if so when? How can a young professional decide? While the factors that inform this decision are often highly individualized, I have my own take on the matter and have learned a lot along my decision journey, hopefully this will be of interest to some of you who may be in the same predicament I was in.

When completing my undergrad, I debated the idea of going straight on to do a masters. I wasn't quite sure what to do the masters in but considered keeping the focus of my undergraduate degree which was information systems, so thought of doing an MSc in Management Information Systems. However after a bit of consideration, I decided not to undertake the Masters at that time and instead joined Accenture fresh out of my undergrad, a decision I have not regretted once!

I got stuck into work at Accenture and have used every opportunity I have been dealt with as a means to learn and grow. Through my various roles at Accenture I have been able to explore what I am interested in and equally what I am not interested in. With the vast array of work Accenture does, the number of industries they work in and the portfolio of clients they have, learning what is and isn't for you comes easy. I have used the last year to find out what it is that I'm interested in and specifically the direction I want my career to take. Thankfully it didn't take me long to find out what it is that really interests me. In September of this year I decided to undertake my master's journey, studying a part-time MSc in Digital Marketing in UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. I have decided to upskill and steer my career in the direction of in Digital Marketing and couldn't be enjoying it anymore. Accenture are actively involved in the industry that is worth an estimated $62 Billion and I'm delighted to say, that after starting to study and work in the space that I am too!

Looking back on it, I would have only been doing the Masters after my undergrad for the sake of doing the masters, a pitfall I think a lot of students fall into these days. Ultimately, completing a masters will determine a new or narrower path that informs your career, therefore I think, when deciding on a masters you should be quite confident that this is the area of expertise you want to possess. You should be sure that this is right choice for you and that it is right for the next era of your employment career.

If there are any grads out there in the same predicament I was in, debating whether to do a masters or not, I would say think through your decision very carefully. The insights and knowledge you develop when in the workplace, particularly with Accenture, are invaluable and can help steer and shape your career. The masters which may seem appealing to you while in your undergrad may not be the same masters that appeals to you when you get more an insight into different industries and different roles. Ultimately, make sure that you are undertaking the masters for the right reasons and with the right considerations in mind.

Best of luck :)

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