21 years old - do masters or keep on working?
#1
Hey guys, I have about a week to make a decision which could potentially be important for my future. I’m a Bachelors graduate of urban planning and a employee in sales/marketing which I really enjoy even though the pay is just okay.

My friends and family are pressuring me to do a masters degree this year as they think it’s the “correct way”. The problem is I didn’t like university and got average grades, I would hate to do it although if it is in something I enjoy I could bite my teeth and do one more year I suppose. My background is urban planning which I barely like although I also have the option of doing an international Business Management masters (which I’m interested in but isn’t it just a waste of time and money?)

My dream ultimately is to work remotely and live in Latin America, learning Spanish, opening a bar or restaurant of my country of origin and living the life. Right now I have the potential to work remotely because of my job, should I take it or do a masters? I’ll be getting around 1.5k usd a month (which I’m comfortable with for now). What would you do in my shoes? Another option is to do a masters in a Spanish speaking country like Mexico’s UNAM. Ultimately I know for a fact I want to live in LATAM and stay the hell away from England. I could make living in mexico and working remotely happen easy, whilst learning new skills on the side. Only problem a my parents aren’t happy with this option. The bottom line is I I want to move out of my parents house and out of England too, I’m kind of tired of the same lifestyle
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#2
Brah the value proposition on degrees is fucked right now, given the online learning component. Especially grad degrees. Add to that many other Zoomers are now gonna pursue additional degrees because the market is shit and they're already going down the student debt wormhole.

You have a so-called liberal arts degree and if you get another it's gonna do little or nothing to help you. I guess I would understand the utility of getting a MBA (master's in business administration) but you can get one of those in several years if your employer wants to move you up in management and pay for you to do that. That is what you ought to look at.

Consider stacking cash given how volatile the situation is right now.

If you really want to make money learn programming, which is something I'm doing. You could do a boot camp for 10kusd or try to learn yourself. The unemployment rates in programming and cybersecurity are extremely fucking low.







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#3
You have a very good point there JL, to be honest programming is something I tried in high school and it’s definitely not my forte. Luckily for me sales is and my industry is popping right now cos of coronavirus so I won’t have shortage of work. The question here is whether I should take this opportunity for 1.5k to work abroad for now or to take a masters and pray it gets me a similar job but better paid
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#4
One of the best lines from Aaron Clarey on the subject of going back to college for a masters "If your company is willing to pay for the classes AND your time(i.e. overtime) to go to class, then and only then is a Masters is worth it."  Bottom Line is that you learn basically the same thing as you generally did in you Bachelors,(although in your case you are getting a business degree rather than a masters in urban planning) and the return on your investment will almost never pay off.  I don't think that any masters is worth your time, money, and effort these days, as most majors are over saturated with graduates, and it will get worse as the world economy slows.  The only notable exceptions in my mind are Accounting, and Engineering.  I am from across the pond so there may be some factors that I don't know about.  

Specifically since you are 21, enjoy your 20's and a remote sales/marketing job that pays the bills and allows you to save a little here and there while allowing for a traveling budget is a pretty nice deal.  You can always go back to school when you are single and in your 40's.  There you will have a reason to hit on 20 something girls.

Edit:  JL typed the above while I was typing this.  Yes, I would start stacking those portraits of the queen while you can given the circumstances.  You are not going anywhere travel wise any time soon, so putting as much as you can into savings is a very good idea, and no I still think that starting a Masters is a bad idea in general, but worse right now as a lot of people are going to be looking at graduate school when their day job gives them a pink slip.
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#5
Wink 
Unless you are independently wealthy and can collect degrees for fun, I see it like this: When there's a specific thing you know you want to do, and a degree is a requirement for that, then do the degree. For example, you want to be a veterinarian, so you go to veterinary school. Or you are in a management job and in order to get a promotion, you need a master's degree. Or maybe you think a certain degree would protect you against layoffs in your company.

But if you aren't sitting around thinking "I need that specific degree in order to achieve this certain thing," then don't do the degree. Because why would you?

First figure out the thing you want to do. Then determine whether you need a degree to accomplish it.
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#6
If you're considering staying in sales, there is no need for another degree.







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#7
(07-30-2020, 10:20 PM)Mikestar Wrote: ...opening a bar or restaurant of my country of origin and living the life...

Very hard in South America. You will have to grease so many palms. And then you could easily be sued by employees and/or go broke paying their obras sociales (pretty much have to get family to work for you off the books).

(07-30-2020, 10:44 PM)JolietJake Wrote: ...I don't think that any masters is worth your time, money, and effort these days, as most majors are over saturated with graduates...

Exactly. In some fields a phd might get you ahead (professor) but a master's is neither here nor there. And you can get a phd without getting a master's first. So no point to a master's why not just get a phd. You can get the phd online in "life studies" or something if you really want to tack a title after your name (like if you're a gubmint employee, or an author, minister, whatever)
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#8
Grad degree pretty much allows you to teach anywhere to anyone in your subject field (without Ed training). Someone I know got an urban planning degree and immediately jetted to project manager in an unrelated field making six figures, because yes, it’s hard to do anything with just the BS and you gotta love it for the nonsense that’s a masters disease would impart.

It’s pretty interesting teenagers nowadays going to into college knowing it’s a credential scam. People get all sorts of perceived positive benefits at least temporarily from scams.
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#9
At 21, you have lots of time to explore life before there's a pressing need for an MA. Unless you specifically want to do something that requires an MA, there's no reason to rush towards it.

If you enjoy sales, the best path for you is to work towards getting a more lucrative sales job. Best part is, you'll get paid the whole time you're pursuing this goal. If you take off time for school, you're losing all the money you would have earned working full-time during the period of time that you're in school and there's no guarantee that the MA will increase your options.

An International Business Management MA is a bit of a Mickey Mouse degree. It doesn't really train you for a specific job and degrees like this are a dime a dozen. I'm guessing most programs focus almost purely on theory and judging by your post, you seem like a guy who probably appreciates more practical learning.

No need to rush into this. You've got your whole twenties to go after an MA if you decide to do so and if you can get accepted into a program now, you'll be able to get accepted into a program in the future. Work experience has a multiplier effect on the value of any education you receive and more prior work experience will also allow you to better internalize any new academic learning, since you'll immediately be aware of its relevance to real world situations.

There's also the option to do an MA part-time/online, which would allow you to keep working and still have an advanced degree a couple years down the line.
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#10
The top MBA programs don't take people that young, because they want you to have a few years of work experience after university. For example, the average age of an incoming Harvard MBA student is 27.

So the "international business management" may not be worth much at this point. Get some experience first, then it'll be much more useful.
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#11
As someone who has an American MBA, but from a 2nd tier one, I can tell you that MBA's are all about the networking.

Unless you get into a top tier one, your MBA will generally only be regionally useful. And yes, the top tier ones generally require some work experience.

Make sure you know where an MBA school's graduates generally go before you even bother applying.

Especially in this environment though, OP, I'd take the money and job experience over a Master's.
If you haven't met anyone, I'll assume you're lying (h/t to Teedub from the old forum)
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#12
I had similar choices to make in the past.
My choice was staying in my OK paid job in accounting (which I absolutely hated) and just straight up quitting and look for alternatives. I wanted to experience more out of life than making invoices, calling customers/suppliers and analyzing balance sheets.

What I did was take a piece of paper and do some sort of cost-benefit analysis. I just did the benefits of either options, cost /salary isn't something I was worried about. Also in Belgium education is very affordable and I don't know anyone with student debt. That might be different in UK. If the masters is expensive, are you willing to pay of that debt?

My comparison was like this.

Staying in my job: Decent money, prestigious company
Quitting: A lot more happy, energized, focus on online career, travel (!!!), financial freedom (geo arbitraging, live where it's cheaper and receive dollars or euro), live where I want.

It's so obvious really. Just take an afternoon and really think about it. Are you willing to study one extra year? Will it help you reach your goals if you don't stay in UK anyway?

Working and travel was something I always wanted to do, but I would have never taken the leap if I stayed in my comfortable boring day job. In the end, I decided to quit my job, and work 6 months in SEO in Malta. After that I was confident to go fully remote and leave Malta (which I didn't like). Now I've lived across Latin America (particularly Mexico) while earning more than my previous day job. Just make sure you have a plan. There's no reason you can't earn more than 1500$ abroad with all the time you'll have skipping meetings and commutes.

You're still young. If the masters is not too expensive and you don't have to be forced to work to pay of debt, there's no reason you can't do it all. Study and in your spare time find some online income, save money, and travel later. But again, it's a very personal choice. If you're patient, just do it all.
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#13
I have a unique perspective on this, because I was someone who didn't perform exceptionally as an undergraduate, but recently re-entered the academic world by taking a university summer course in my mid-30's.

In the six years between when I graduated from my undergraduate program, I improved my organizational and productivity skills significant. I've been applying those to the summer course I've been taking and despite working a full-time job at the same time, I've been doing very well.

But the other part of the story is that in the six years since I finished my undergraduate degree, I've learned what I really want to do in life and while the course I've been taking hasn't been precisely that, it is in a very related part of academia and I've been learning skills that have been immediately useful in my day job. More importantly, this course is valuable in preparing me to complete a master's degree in the field that I love, if I choose to pursue that option.

I think at 22, it's a bit premature to be going after a master's degree, unless you know exactly why you want it. If your performance on your undergrad wasn't top-notch, you're robbing yourself of the opportunity to improve your study skills first. You're also going to spend another year in the more theoretical academic world instead of in the more practical work world, where you may have the opportunity to discover what you really like the most (and potentially could study later in more depth after you discover it).

Also, if you collect a quick one year MA, you may be shooting yourself in the foot, because if you ever become interested in additional advanced study in the future, one year, non-thesis master's degrees usually are not considered preparation towards a PhD. The degree you're looking at completing would also probably be in the wrong field, should you discover a passion in the future that you really want to invest in within the academic world.

You have lots of time to do more school in the future if you wish. Why not give yourself the gift of a least a few years to explore your interests and potential passions so that if you do get an MA down the road, it'll be in field that will of real use to you?
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#14
(07-30-2020, 10:20 PM)Mikestar Wrote: Hey guys, I have about a week to make a decision which could potentially be important for my future. I’m a Bachelors graduate of urban planning and a employee in sales/marketing which I really enjoy even though the pay is just okay.

My friends and family are pressuring me to do a masters degree this year as they think it’s the “correct way”. The problem is I didn’t like university and got average grades, I would hate to do it although if it is in something I enjoy I could bite my teeth and do one more year I suppose. My background is urban planning which I barely like although I also have the option of doing an international Business Management masters (which I’m interested in but isn’t it just a waste of time and money?)

My dream ultimately is to work remotely and live in Latin America, learning Spanish, opening a bar or restaurant of my country of origin and living the life. Right now I have the potential to work remotely because of my job, should I take it or do a masters? I’ll be getting around 1.5k usd a month (which I’m comfortable with for now). What would you do in my shoes? Another option is to do a masters in a Spanish speaking country like Mexico’s UNAM. Ultimately I know for a fact I want to live in LATAM and stay the hell away from England. I could make living in mexico and working remotely happen easy, whilst learning new skills on the side. Only problem a my parents aren’t happy with this option. The bottom line is I I want to move out of my parents house and out of England too, I’m kind of tired of the same lifestyle
From how you describe it, it would be a waste of time.  You don't get a Masters because your parents are deluded into thinking it will be good, you get it because a promotion or a waiting position depends on it.  Grad school should be paid for by your employer and you will still be two years not earning a salary which increases the opportunity costs. 

Get working in a career and start saving and investing your cash.  You can thank me later....
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#15
If you learn enough from your current job to move into a higher paying career you like, then the job will serve you better than school. If you're into sales I'd take it a step further and start reading books on sales to step your game up. Top sales people are rare but they can easily get good jobs that they can make recurring $ off clients. I have a friend in insurance who makes around 500k a year.
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#16
Read the WallStreetPlayboys site and their ebook "Efficiency" for more analysis on your options.
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#17
(07-31-2020, 12:08 AM)Mister Happy Wrote: [quote pid='33800' dateline='1596149066']
...I don't think that any masters is worth your time, money, and effort these days, as most majors are over saturated with graduates...

Exactly. In some fields a phd might get you ahead (professor) but a master's is neither here nor there. And you can get a phd without getting a master's first. So no point to a master's why not just get a phd. You can get the phd online in "life studies" or something if you really want to tack a title after your name (like if you're a gubmint employee, or an author, minister, whatever)
[/quote]

Big thing about a PHD is that one can make other people call them Doctor if that is their thing.  You can be like Dr. Evil in the first scene on this clip.  



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#18
(08-06-2020, 01:12 AM)JolietJake Wrote: Big thing about a PHD is that one can make other people call them Doctor if that is their thing.  You can be like Dr. Evil in the first scene on this clip. 
Yeah I have considered getting some lame online phd degree in life studies which will allow me to call myself "doctor" I think it would be funny. Even more cool would be to get an actual offshore medical degree so I can legally cut people open lol. And imagine the dating potential at a university for offshore medical degrees.
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#19
Can you describe your current job that pays 1.5k and that allows you to work remotely?

Oh, and forget the masters for now.
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#20
Thanks everyone for the input. My job is Marketing/Sales/customer service in the science field. I have to call customers everyday and sell them our products, I actually like it as it is similar to game, I basically convince people to buy what we have and it's an interesting field. My performance is above average too and I like my managers, best thing is I can take time off work whenever as I have a zero hour contract (but maybe I will change this to a full time contract to ensure higher stability).

Work is great but I am living at my parents house. I work 1-9pm (because I call US clients and im in UK) and outside of work hours I am so lazy recently. Everyday I think about moving abroad. Right now I pay no rent but sometimes help out my parents. If I stay longer in London I feel like it will drive me mad, I want to go to a place where I can live for $1000 a month and then save $500 every month and put it in the stock market. My manager does not know this but I doubt she would notice I am in a different country, all I need is decent internet connection. If she finds out I would apologise but tell her it increases my productivity. The other thing is the big picture. This job is good for my age of 21 but what about after that? How do I develop in this field and move up every year without being stuck all the time?
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