Should I go for masters immediately after my Bachelor’s Degree?
Several times I have been asked this question both by undergraduate students and by parents who have sons or daughters who were approaching graduation. Every time, I happily explained my view.
Once I was asked the very same question by a chemical engineering undergraduate student in Facebook. I had crafted a written response for him.
Since many graduates still suffer from this dilemma of whether they should get a job first or immediately go for graduate studies upon graduation, I have decided to publish my written response (slightly edited for the purpose of posting it in my blog) to this dilemma as a blog post, which I believe undergraduate students having this dilemma will inshallah find beneficial.
Should I go for graduate studies immediately after I complete my bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering?
Thanks for asking this question.
Whether you should immediately pursue graduate studies after you finish your bachelors degree depends on number of factors:
Factor 1: Are you passionate about what you have studied?
First of all, are you really PASSIONATE about what you have studied? Do you love it? This is a very profound question that you must answer with brute honesty. Because what you have studied will be your bread and butter. About eight hours of your daily life will be about dealing issues related with chemical engineering and chemistry, and trust me, eight hours is a tremendous amount of time.
Please do not be startled or offended that I am asking this question at a time when you are about to graduate. In our traditional upbringing, and Asian upbringing in general, it is very common that children are brainwashed to think only of medicine and engineering as their career options, which consequently never gives them a chance to explore and discover what they have true and genuine potential for.
The consequence of such brainwashing is students often end up with a major that may seem impressive from outside and in terms of social status, but may not bode will with their souls. Remember that at the end of the day, it is your life and YOU will live it; not your parents, friends, and society. And if you cannot truly ACCEPT what you have studied, your happiness will go out of the window soon after you start your career. Because the lifestyle we live in has been designed such a way where pretty much all other aspects of our life revolves around our work, and therefore, if you are not at ease with your work life, it will definitely affect other areas of your life.
Additionally lack of passion will make it very difficult for your career to grow a firm root. Once you land in a job, your certificate will not guide you anymore; it will be your interest and intrinsic motivation that will direct you to create your own comfortable niche.
That is why the first step should be answering the question: “Am I truly passionate about what I have studied?”
If you are convinced that you have made the right decision and have no qualms about it, then go to Factor 2.
If you are indifferent or unsure, I would suggest you to find a job in your field of study to give it a go for a period of time and truly ascertain your interest and passion.
Factor 2: OK, I understand that you are an engineer, but what do you want to do with your degree?
Now that you are convinced that you are truly a chemical engineering guy, you should ask yourself, “What do I want to do with it?”
This is another question that is very difficult to answer. Why? Because a wide variety of career options is available for any engineering major. Some becomes process engineer. Some go into design. Some go into food and nutritional industry. Some opt for research.
So you need to think about where you want to work. As far as I am concerned, and as far as my experience of job searching goes, I can safely say that an MS degree in chemical engineering is not a requirement for most of the entry level chemical engineering jobs available here in Qatar. An undergraduate is more than enough. At the same time, the probability of having an edge in getting a job with an MBA or MS in Engineering Management degree without any prior work experience against graduates who only have BS for the same job is extremely low.
Having said this, if you have specific answer to “What you want to do with your degree”, and if you have a plan about where you are going and what you are going to do, then doing an MS immediately after BS may give you an advantage. For example, if you know that you will be doing industrial research for a company in Qatar Science and Technology Park, and if you also know the subject matter of your research, then the advanced knowledge of graduate studies may give you an advantage. Or if you know that you will get into academia as a professor or a lecturer, then doing an MS immediately after BS will give you an edge.
In a nutshell: Do not let your degree determine which career path you will choose. Because a degree cannot do it for you. First you will have to set your goals, and then you can decide what tool you will need to achieve those goals, which is your MS degree in this case.
So, if you know what you want to do, and know how you will utilize your MS degree, go ahead and do it. If you are unsure, it is better to get into a job first.
I always give my advice with a disclaimer notice. I have given you my sincere advice, and if what I have said influence your decision making in any way, I will not bear any responsibility whether such influence brings good or bad for you. At the end of the day, we make decisions, set our goals, and try our best, but for the outcome, we put our trust in Allah. If the outcome is good, we express gratitude, and if the outcome is otherwise, we remain patient over the decree of Allah.
I hope I have communicated my message with clarity and I hope that you will find it helpful.
The Shardul of Allah