Are you keen on pursuing postgraduate education, and specifically a Master’s degree? Here are five key steps to follow before setting your heart on a specific program and submitting your application form.
1) Identify the ‘whys’
A Master’s degree requires a significant commitment of your time and finances, which is why you should be very clear about why you want to pursue one. Will it unlock better career prospects or pay? Is it a field you’re passionate in, and will the Master’s degree help you explore future employment? Is it because a Master’s degree is necessary for advancement in your field?
No matter the reason or rationale, be aware of what you want and stand to gain from this qualification. This way, you will be able to choose the Master’s Degree that helps you meet your goals and keep on going when you start feeling overwhelmed.
2) Narrow down programmes that are a good fit
Now that you’re clear about why you want to pursue a Master’s degree, it’s time to shortlist suitable programmes. Here are some things you can consider when doing so:
- Teaching style: Will the programme be taught entirely online? Or will it be blended learning? Which works better for your current circumstances, and how do you learn best? Do you prefer more guidance or independent study?
- Curriculum: Does the Master’s Degree offer modules that interest you, or help you get closer to your aspirations? Is the programme’s content in line with the latest industry happenings and goings-on?
- Type: Will a popular graduate management degree like a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA), or a Master’s Degree in a specific subject area like a Master’s of Analytics better help you reach your goals?
- Destination: Do you intend to study overseas or here in Singapore? If the destination or region of study is in a strategic location, which adds value and helps your future plans, are you ready to immerse yourself in the country’s culture and language to make your investment worthwhile?
3) Consider their duration and the fees
Does the institution offering the Master’s degree(s) you’re keen on offer any financial assistance, scholarship, or grant that you can tap on? If you intend to take up part-time studies while holding a full-time job, will you be able to commit your time and energy for the entire duration? Are there any good opportunities you may forgo, like an upcoming job promotion, and are they worth this exchange?
4) Check if you meet the admission requirements
There’s nothing more heart-breaking than getting all excited and ready to apply for a Master’s degree programme—only to realise that you don’t meet the pre-requisites. This could range from years of relevant working experience to proof of language proficiency, should the language of instruction not be your first language.
Even if you intend to enrol for a Master’s degree later, consider sitting for the relevant graduate admission tests first. Many of them have test scores valid for a few years after the test or result date, so don’t worry about taking them too early. If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to take, or retake, either the TOEFL (two years validity) or IELTS (two years validity) test. While some postgraduate degrees may request for GMAT (five years) and GRE (five years) results, not all do!
5) Do more research
Just looking at Master’s degree programme pages isn’t enough: you’d want to know if their awarding institutions have excellent teaching faculty or facilities, for instance. It’d also be good to check if the awarding institution has a strong reputation in the field you’re considering, and read up any student reviews you come across.
Keep an eye out for course previews, open days or sharing sessions. You’ll be able to swing by the campus (possibly virtually during these COVID times), speak to students and course lecturers, and acquire information first-hand for yourself. PSB Academy, for example, has an upcoming talk about Master’s degrees that we’ll share more about below.
If the marketability of the field of the Master’s degree you’re interested in concerns you, speak to industry seniors or mentors to seek their advice on top of doing your own research. Those interested in a business postgraduate education may find the Graduate Management Admission Council’s latest Application Trends Survey report to be of interest.
6) Speak to course consultants
Last but not least, don’t hesitate to approach a programme advisor or course consultant! They’ll be more than happy to help, and are there to make sure you get all the information you need. They should be able to assist you with course queries, guide you through the application process, and share with you resources that best fit your situation.
Have you gone through this six-step process yet? If you haven’t, it’s not too late! We hope that you’ll be able to have a greater sense of clarity and purpose after and be able to narrow down the best Master’s degree choice(s) open to you.
If you’d like some more advice on Master’s degree programmes, we’re happy to share that PSB Academy has an upcoming talk on the value of a Master’s degree and how to find the right fit. Conducted by Mr Alex Soon, a PSB Academy lecturer, it will take place on the 15th of January from 2–3 pm. Registration is free, so why swing by and hear to learn more? We hope to see you there!
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