Author Topic: Going back to school for Master's-advice sought  (Read 2394 times)

RosieTR

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Going back to school for Master's-advice sought
« on: July 22, 2016, 01:00:55 PM »
I am considering going back to school part time while doing full time work. Work will pay pretty much 100% of tuition but I may need to pay fees and may have some additional tax liability (possibly not, considering I could potentially count it as for work but I'll have to discuss with tax accountant for details for this). To take maximum advantage of the work benefit, I would have to stretch this out to 4-5 years, depending on the program. I would prefer to do this anyway, because I have taken graduate level classes while working full time but doing more than 1 at once makes it suck really quickly. As for the money, any way you cut it, it's a good deal so I'm very tempted.

My problem is deciding which course of study: Master's of Business Admin (MBA) or Master's in Computer Information Systems (MCIS). I spoke to a recruiter for both and did not get a really clear answer-she was helpful in outlining the programs and said a lot of people she talks to are clearly better for one or the other program, but I could go either way. Adding to the confusion is that we will likely be FIRE ready by the time I would finish, so what I'm really looking for is something that will provide a backbone for doing a part-time/consulting/freelance type situation. I know myself and I will still want goals when I'm FIREd.

Some pros and cons:
MBA would take a bit longer. Friends who know me IRL think I may not be the "MBA type" because I am, frankly, a natural Mustachian who has zero interest in marketing, status seeking, or ever wearing pumps, ever. OTOH, I could do non-profit work with an MBA, and it would help some side hobbies I have now such as an investment club. I may decide to do some small business which an MBA is not necessary for, but probably helpful with. It seems like a degree that gives credibility as much as knowledge, to get a foot in the door or have people more likely to take you seriously.

MCIS would take a bit less time. I have some technical background, though not much with programming, doing analysis, trouble-shooting and coming up with creative solutions for solving a technical problem. I could more easily parlay MCIS into my current work in a couple of different ways, prior to completion. I'm not certain if I could do any of the coursework as part of my work time, but it seems possible/likely (what workplace doesn't have use for someone writing computer programs specific to its processes?). This also seems like it would fit well with my previous work experience, which I could parlay into something that uses all of the work experience I have ever had...but may require a FT job which is not my goal at FI. This would be my top choice if I had like 10 years til FIRE rather than around 5.

So, I am putting this to the MMM community with the hope of getting your thoughts. Do you have either of these degrees and if so, what did you think? Did you consider going back to school to get a degree when you were near FI? Or after FI? Why or why not?

Thanks, I look forward to hearing everyone's thoughts!

Gronnie

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Re: Going back to school for Master's-advice sought
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2016, 09:43:46 PM »
Are you going to owe your employer additional years of service in exchange for the tuition payments? This could put a damper on being ready to FIRE.

BetsyS

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Re: Going back to school for Master's-advice sought
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2016, 09:44:43 AM »
Mba definitely not required for working or consulting in the nonprofit sector. And it's a very broad sector of course, there are some parts that are more business oriented and some that are more community or grassroots oriented. But the latter may even look with skepticism on an Mba.

If feasible, I would talk about it with some potential future clients (or types who might be clients).

RosieTR

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Re: Going back to school for Master's-advice sought
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2016, 09:25:28 PM »
Thanks for the replies! Good question, Gronnie! My employer just pays up to a certain number of credits per year, so no obligation to work a certain amount of time after.
Thanks BetsyS for your thoughts. I suppose I have been conditioned to think of never getting more education as a waste, esp since it's free and I can see how I'd use the skills in either program. Maybe get a raise and SO could FIRE a little earlier, so I could have a house husband ;-)

Altons Bobs

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Re: Going back to school for Master's-advice sought
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2016, 12:47:39 AM »
I don't like to study, so if you ask me, I'd say don't waste your time. Experience is more important than a degree in my opinion.  But, if you're trying to fulfil a dream of having a Master's degree, go for it. I have a friend who got an MBA, no employer would recognize that as a benefit especially since he had no experience, he's still slaving away and can't seem to get ahead. But of course your mileage may vary.

mozar

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Re: Going back to school for Master's-advice sought
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2016, 02:38:44 PM »
My mother has a mba, and I think it has helped her in her non profit career. In terms of name brand recognition I would go for the MBA.

RosieTR

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Re: Going back to school for Master's-advice sought
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2016, 02:04:35 PM »
I don't like to study, so if you ask me, I'd say don't waste your time. Experience is more important than a degree in my opinion.  But, if you're trying to fulfil a dream of having a Master's degree, go for it. I have a friend who got an MBA, no employer would recognize that as a benefit especially since he had no experience, he's still slaving away and can't seem to get ahead. But of course your mileage may vary.

Yeah, I like to learn stuff but wind up not getting as deep as I should if I don't have deadlines or a program. Took a couple of grad-level classes in my field as a potential to move in a different direction. Those wound up not being something that took me in a different direction but I don't regret taking them and I did well in the classes. I'm one of those nerds, I suppose.

I looked a little more deeply at the curriculum for each program. My logical brain understands that the trajectory is there for more and more involvement of computing in our lives: smart homes, self-driving cars, etc. However, many of the courses for the computer information systems program did not sound that interesting whereas there was maybe one class that I thought might suck in the MBA program. And that one was mostly because I hear the word "marketing" and to me it just sounds like "bullshit". I know this is because don't understand or notice good marketing unless I make a big effort. So that class would probably be really good for me to take, even if I don't actually like it. The recruiter said that most people hate the accounting classes, but that was stuff I was planning to try to learn on my own anyway, and I have several friends who are accountants so I'm less worried about that. Also I'm not like "most people" in a number of ways.

forummm

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Re: Going back to school for Master's-advice sought
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2016, 02:18:59 PM »
I don't have an MBA, but I know a lot of people who did get one. My experience is that you don't really learn a lot in terms of classroom learning with an MBA. What you're essentially learning is networking and you actually build a network through your program. You'll have some classes in accounting, marketing, etc. But at a good program, the network and the brand is what is valuable (and what you are paying for).

pbkmaine

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Re: Going back to school for Master's-advice sought
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2016, 02:23:10 PM »
Where's the MBA? Status counts with this degree.