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Thread: Any comments on a Masters degree?

  1. #1

    Default Any comments on a Masters degree?

    Thought I'd get some opinions from the masses regarding this.

    Given the current state of the job market, would it be a good idea to get a Masters degree? I'm considering continuing with one after I finish my honors year.

    The MSc allowance of $1500 a month is attractive as you're effectively paid to study and you emerge with a higher-level set of qualifications, but from what I gather, once you complete the MSc, the pay differences in the real world between an honors
    holder and MSc holder are quite small; the gap only widens between a MSc and PhD holder. I figure it'd be somewhat akin to an army specialist; ie all the responsibilities and confinements if something goes wrong, without the pay of an officer.

    The thing is, I'm not planning to become an academic in a university, where MSc holders are probably valued more.

    Given the current job market state where short-term tenure/contract work and retrenchments are quite common nowadays, would anyone recommend going for a MSc in the meantime instead? Or maybe even converting to a PhD halfway through?


    Of course, the eternal argument is that the paper qualifications only open doors, and you can only hold a job if you're up to it. For this matter, let's assume reasonable competency is present.

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    hi sausage,

    so what do you want to be when you grow up? what's your lifelong ambition? what's your "qwan"? you know, quality without a name, your big picture?

    maybe then we can better help you.

    life's not about finding a job. life's about finding THAT job. so let's work towards that.

    serious questions:
    1) does having a MSc/PhD help you?
    2) how does it help?
    3) is that what you really want?
    4) or does it act as insurance? you now have something you can fall-back on. so you can do what you really want! (and maybe in your case something related to anime perhaps?)

    enjoy!
    Roch

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    Default Re: Any comments on a Masters degree?

    Originally posted by Sausage
    Given the current state of the job market, would it be a good idea to get a Masters degree? I'm considering continuing with one after I finish my honors year.
    Given the current job market state where short-term tenure/contract work and retrenchments are quite common nowadays, would anyone recommend going for a MSc in the meantime instead? Or maybe even converting to a PhD halfway through?
    Hi, I'm doing my postgrad studies in UK at the moment (however back in S'pre in the meantime). Anyway, you should study only if you are interested to do that particular discipline. Life will be a drag if you force yourself to go through another 1-2 years of research and writing journal papers ...

    Anyway, S'pore job market will not recover as early as we all thought. And even if it "recover", chances are retenchment, high unemployment rates, contract work/tenure etc will be the norm of everyday work. So having a higher qualifications no longer demands a premium over the others.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Any comments on a Masters degree?

    Originally posted by Sausage
    Thought I'd get some opinions from the masses regarding this.

    Given the current state of the job market, would it be a good idea to get a Masters degree? I'm considering continuing with one after I finish my honors year.

    The MSc allowance of $1500 a month is attractive as you're effectively paid to study and you emerge with a higher-level set of qualifications, but from what I gather, once you complete the MSc, the pay differences in the real world between an honors
    holder and MSc holder are quite small; the gap only widens between a MSc and PhD holder. I figure it'd be somewhat akin to an army specialist; ie all the responsibilities and confinements if something goes wrong, without the pay of an officer.

    The thing is, I'm not planning to become an academic in a university, where MSc holders are probably valued more.

    Given the current job market state where short-term tenure/contract work and retrenchments are quite common nowadays, would anyone recommend going for a MSc in the meantime instead? Or maybe even converting to a PhD halfway through?


    Of course, the eternal argument is that the paper qualifications only open doors, and you can only hold a job if you're up to it. For this matter, let's assume reasonable competency is present.

    Hi,

    If you can study, and you like to do so, and if there are no circumstances that are preventing you from doing do, I suggest you go for that Masters program. Again, this is only if it is something you like to so. Too many times, I have seen too many people torn between work, family, and evening studies, only to drop out mid-way, with neither a degree, or a quality of life with family members.

    If you have the aptitude and the interest, go and study, go as far as you can. Whether or not you become an academic, or work as a research engineer in some high-end manufacturing is really not important, because you will get the answers along the way. Really, it is not important to have all the stuff figured out now, nobody does.

    I guess you are referring to the programs at NUS/NTU; having just completed your honors undergraduate (will be completing this May/June?).

    The market at this time, the economy, the war and SARS has very little bearing on your passion. At the end of the day, all these will come to pass. Dont be too agitated about what do to, if you want to study, study. Forget about what your friends are doing, forget about how the wind is blowing.

    Your options will be there when you finish this program, and you will find yourself with a vista of opportunities you currently do not have (conversely, going to work now, means choosing from a limited set of options at fresh grad level)

    This is an opportunity that is limited to a few per cohort per year. It does not come again tommorrow, and the time to study is now. For there will be plenty time to work after that.

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    Local universities simply do not have the kind of professors who can guide and motivate a Masters student to complete a significant Masters project in a short time frame.

    In short, the Masters training that our local universities provide sucks. Big time.

    Local employers recognize this and so, a Masters from a local university will not give you an advantage over a Bachelors holder later on in life.

    True, the $1500 they give you now may seem like good money. But in the long run, time spent doing Masters at a local university is time wasted.

    Better to learn at the "University of Life".

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    Originally posted by ckhaos
    In short, the Masters training that our local universities provide sucks. Big time.

    Local employers recognize this and so, a Masters from a local university will not give you an advantage over a Bachelors holder later on in life.

    .. time spent doing Masters at a local university is time wasted.

    Better to learn at the "University of Life".
    I agreed with you. Most Masters in S'pore are sub-standards. Similar in UK & US, most Masters are crap too, unless you go for reputed ones which are again, mostly, privately run.

    I think if given the same salary and job competence, an employer will settle for a Masters holder than a Bachelors holder.

    Most of my peers who returned to Singapore after their degrees in UK are now sitting at home shaking legs.. (means shivering at home having no job and stagging bank loans to pay..). So given the current unemployment situation, and with the interest in the discipline, I'll say, go for the Masters. No matter what others say about Masters being useless, it's better to have than not to have.

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    Originally posted by e_liau
    So given the current unemployment situation, and with the interest in the discipline, I'll say, go for the Masters. No matter what others say about Masters being useless, it's better to have than not to have.
    Well said!
    Is the Master Degree in Singapore that bad like those people mentioned above?
    In my experience doing master degree, I believe the motivation is in the individual who doing it, especially on research paper and thesis. The supervisor duty is only giving advice and direction after it the rest back to the individual.
    But in the bad situation like now, Master degree holder can not expect too much.
    W204FL

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    we would probably need to know :

    a. which field is the MSc in
    b. your interest
    c. your intention after obtaining the MSc

    a ans b would probably have a bearing on the value/usefulness of the MSc.

    with the push for technopreneur, maybe this MSc would be able to give you some contacts in the future.

    one thing is for sure, it would be tough to obtain a part time MSc, especially those that are project based. as pointed out, not many are given the chance to pursue a part time MSc.

    regards

  9. #9

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    If your option is to seek employment, then do it now since job market is bad. General feel is the turn around may be next year. So a short Master program will be good.

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    just my 2 cents worth...

    more practical suggestions
    ... u free
    ... dun need the money that having a job brings in
    ...enuff interest to see u thru the 1 -2 yrs
    then by all means go for it. having an extra qualification (however crap it may be.. i dunno) is better than none.

    afterall, if u are being paid and can study full time better than some of my friends doing part time MBA and struggling with work and family.

    got chance take lah...

    then in nus can call me chat and lim kopi and shoot also=) can get some pretty good sunsets!

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    I know many pple may agree or disagree with me, but here is my 2 cents (not that u need it!). I have a MSc from IDSS since 1998 and I like to think I can speak with limited authority.

    1. It is not true that local Masters programme are crap. Well, at least mine was organised and my prof were actually very famous in their respective disciplinea and I had even one from Harvard. But of course, it all depends on what MSc programme u plan to take.

    2. Your career path. What are yr long term plans? Do u plan to go into academia, if yes, then MSc or even PhD is a must. But if u say u are interested in HR, it does not hurt to pursue a Masters in HR or something related. It may be good for long term career planning.

    3. Having said that, in today's world, there is no guarantee that having a Masters in a particular field, will guarantee u employment. There are already plenty of Master's holders in the various discipline, so be forewarned. Everythingelse being equal, someone with a Masters compared to someone with a first degree, I think I need not say who will be looked upon more favourably.

    4. Finally, are u really interested in that MSc programme, aside from the current downturn, economic opportunities and better prospects. U have to ask yrself that Q. It is very impt, cause if u are truly interested, u will do yr best and it will be reflected in the grades that u obtain at the end of the programme. No pt, going thru a Master's programme and getting C average. Might as well don't do, understand?

  12. #12

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    Originally posted by jeff chen
    I know many pple may agree or disagree with me, but here is my 2 cents (not that u need it!). I have a MSc from IDSS since 1998 and I like to think I can speak with limited authority.

    1. It is not true that local Masters programme are crap. Well, at least mine was organised and my prof were actually very famous in their respective disciplinea and I had even one from Harvard. But of course, it all depends on what MSc programme u plan to take.

    2. Your career path. What are yr long term plans? Do u plan to go into academia, if yes, then MSc or even PhD is a must. But if u say u are interested in HR, it does not hurt to pursue a Masters in HR or something related. It may be good for long term career planning.

    3. Having said that, in today's world, there is no guarantee that having a Masters in a particular field, will guarantee u employment. There are already plenty of Master's holders in the various discipline, so be forewarned. Everythingelse being equal, someone with a Masters compared to someone with a first degree, I think I need not say who will be looked upon more favourably.

    4. Finally, are u really interested in that MSc programme, aside from the current downturn, economic opportunities and better prospects. U have to ask yrself that Q. It is very impt, cause if u are truly interested, u will do yr best and it will be reflected in the grades that u obtain at the end of the programme. No pt, going thru a Master's programme and getting C average. Might as well don't do, understand?
    Jeff, you hit it right on the head, particularly on 2 counts.

    I am currently in human resources, and read CVs on a regular basis. What gets a person hired is not so much academic and professional qualifications. Many times, it is favor. Some people have favor that opens doors that are otherwise closed, even to those who are more qualified and experienced.

    Also, Masters degree in NUS/NTU, are generally more rigorous than the other distance learning programs offered on a evening, part-time basis. Of course, some might bg to differ, and in this regard, there is no wrong or right, but we prefer familiar brand names, that is the truth. In this case, Sausage is taking one on a fulltime basis, with a monthly stipend, at NUS. That looks good to us.

    Granted that not all professors are good at teaching, but anyone who says that our local programs is "crap" and "no-good" is seriously misguided. Being on the hiring side, I also disagree that as an employer, I do not take postgraduate studies into account in the recruitng process.

    Understand this: recruiters look for postgraduate qualifications in instances when the job requires that. e.g. in the R&D section at many of the semicon fabs, the engineers hired are mainly PhDs, and many have double Masters, folks who are very good at their speciality. So that is an instance when postgrad qualifications become a ticket for admission.

    Recruiters always look for as many angles as possible when assessing candidates. The most important angle, other than relevant experience, is consistency. We look for a consistently good performer, and that can be gleaned from academic studies.

    Academic records reflect consistency in hard work. If I see a potential hire with a consistent good grade, then suddenly the grades plunge for a particular year, or he takes 1 year off from studies, or he change course of studies, or he drops out, I want to know why.

    Pressure? Cannot cope? Stretch too thin? Poor manager of resources? Priority changed? Can he cope in this job that i am about to throw him in with minimum guidance? We asked these questions all the time, and nowwhere can that info be more telling, than from whatever academic pursuits the person has engaged in, or is currently engaged in.

    Studies require hardwork, daily, and for long periods at a stretch. If someone has the opportunity to study, and with a stipend from the school, that is good, provided there is interest in studying.

    At the end of the day, professors do not make brillant students, it is what the student does with the time in his hands that make a difference. And as i always said, study if circumstances and passion permit, because there is always plenty time to work. In fact, an average of 4 decades for majority of the working population.

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