Author Topic: Pursue a part-time (mostly company paid) masters?  (Read 5870 times)

DanBrewMan

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 45
Pursue a part-time (mostly company paid) masters?
« on: March 07, 2013, 10:23:26 AM »
Hi there mustachians!

I am very seriously considering (already applied, been accepted) in getting my masters in chemical engineering.  My company will pay 75% of all tuition, fees, and books.  When all is said and done, it would cost approximately $100 per month out of my pocket for part-time enrollment plus 25% of any books, etc.  so for estimating purposes lets say $120 per month.  The only caveat I see is commuting to the classes which would involve about a 30-45 minute (depending on traffic) commute for 30 miles about 2 times a week.  I plan on living very close to work (bike commuter distance) by the time I begin classes, so that would be the majority of my commuting.

I honestly see no reason not to.  I can expect a healthy pay raise (10% minimum) and it will keep me so busy I'll spend less money on entertainment, etc.  Just throwing a feeler out there to hear others opinions.

DanBrewMan

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 45
Re: Pursue a part-time (mostly company paid) masters?
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2013, 10:24:47 AM »
If you'd like to see my budget and monthly take home, see my other post:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/ask-a-mustachian/should-i-sell-my-2-month-old-subaru-wrx/

brewer12345

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1386
Re: Pursue a part-time (mostly company paid) masters?
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2013, 10:49:38 AM »
The costs of doing this are (mostly) not financial.  How much of your time and energy will the degree suck out of you?  Is it still worth it after consideration of non-financial costs?

Apocalyptica602

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 271
Re: Pursue a part-time (mostly company paid) masters?
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2013, 10:56:37 AM »
I'm in a similar situation, except instead of Chemical Engineering it would be Mechanical Engineering / Engineering Management / MBA (still deciding =P)  and that my company pays 100%, up to a maximum of $10,000/semester, which works out to roughly a maximum of 2-3 classes/semester.

I agree with brewer12345. I'm still a little pensive because I could see a lot of other stuff going on realistically soon next couple of years (buying a house, getting engaged and all the stuff that goes along with that) and things in the not-so-distant-yet-not-so-near future (kids).

Not to take over the thread but, my main concerns are not having enough 'time / motivation / mental fortitude' after a draining full time job to complete masters-level engineering coursework (MBA might be easier) or have too much other stuff going on.

However, if I don't get my masters in the next few years, once I have young children I think it would be out of the question, since while I'm working my way to FI, any free time I see myself wanting to spend with them, not studying or doing assignments.

Ultimately in your case I wouldn't sweat the 25% cost. Think about the intangibles that you place value on and have that help you decide whether it's worth it.

NumberCruncher

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 612
Re: Pursue a part-time (mostly company paid) masters?
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2013, 11:23:09 AM »
I agree with the other posters on your time being important.

If you're looking at a purely financial standpoint it would depend on when you want to retire/what else you could do with your time/how long completing a masters would take. For example, if you could somehow retire in the next five years on your current salary and it takes 3 years to complete the degree, it wouldn't make a ton of sense to me. If you're projecting it taking 10-15 years to FIRE, spending a little now to get a decade of income bumped up 10% makes sense, especially if you like what you do/learning more.

I am currently in a masters program for engineering management and am really enjoying it. My employer pays 100% of it, which is awesome, and it's been a great learning environment that has made me think more about where I want to be in my career. In addition, in my company not having an advanced degree hurts you in terms of advancement. Current retirement plan is in around ten years, and I'll have my degree in two years. My decision process was more along the lines of which engineering masters should I get?


Jamesqf

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4047
Re: Pursue a part-time (mostly company paid) masters?
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2013, 11:51:33 AM »
I'd say go for it, especially if it's been a few years since you finished your BS.  I finished my MS about 15 years after the BS, and because of the work I did for my thesis, wound up getting headhunted into a couple of interesting (& lucrative) jobs, which eventually morphed into freelancing.

There is also a bit of protection from age discrimination in getting an advanced degree.  To prospective employers, you are part of the crop of new graduates, so you might find opportunities where the equivalent person without the new degree would be rejected out of hand.

tooqk4u22

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2196
Re: Pursue a part-time (mostly company paid) masters?
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2013, 01:16:58 PM »
There is nothing wrong with increased education, especially if it comes at a bargain. Like others said time matters and once you become encumbered, if at all, by greater financial obligations and time commitments (mainly spouse and/or kids) it does become more difficult to pursue.  So this all favors to get it, but....

So the only real question to ask is do you envision being in this field long term - i.e. if your FIRE in the next 10 years and don't want to work or you long to get in another field/career - then you wouldn't really put your degrees to use so then why get a masters for such a relatively short timeframe.  If the horizon is longer regardless of FIRE or not then go for it.

DanBrewMan

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 45
Re: Pursue a part-time (mostly company paid) masters?
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2013, 06:34:14 PM »
Thanks for all the reply's!  All very helpful and basically agree with my current thinking on the subject:  It's the time, not the money.

However, with the pay bump and the opportunity to move into what I see as more interesting fields with a masters, there is some value.  But do I have 2 years of stamina in the tank?  I think so.

jrhampt

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1072
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Connecticut
Re: Pursue a part-time (mostly company paid) masters?
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2013, 10:00:40 AM »
I'm just finishing up my (nearly) 100% company paid master's in Statistics.  I did have to pay for some assorted fees and books, but the total cost to me was mainly in time and aggravation.  It is not nearly as much fun to go to grad school part time with a full time job as it is to be a full time grad student.  However, I do feel it has been worth it and has given me many more opportunities career-wise.

Zaga

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2129
  • Age: 39
  • Location: North of Pittsburgh, PA
    • A Wall of Hats
Re: Pursue a part-time (mostly company paid) masters?
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2013, 12:16:36 PM »
I'm just about finished with a 3 year company paid MBA Accounting program.  It was an accelerated course, and about half of my classes were pre-requisites because my previous undergard work was in Biology and Chemistry. 

It's very tiring and I'm very much looking forward to being done in 71 days (not that I'm counting...), but I think at the price you'll be paying it's worth it!

ThatGuyFromCanada

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 81
  • Location: Calgary Alberta - Canada
    • www.jonathanneufeld.com
Re: Pursue a part-time (mostly company paid) masters?
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2013, 03:31:38 PM »
I'm doing something similar right now. I've got an engineering undergraduate degree and my company is sponsoring my MBA. So far it's a good experience and the hardest part is balance family, work, and school. I'd say go for it, there probably isn't much to lose 

Richard3

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 292
Re: Pursue a part-time (mostly company paid) masters?
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2013, 04:58:38 PM »
Sounds like a no brainer unless you're so close to FI that you would rather have the extra spare time.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6673
Re: Pursue a part-time (mostly company paid) masters?
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2013, 09:31:55 PM »
I would do it.  My BS is in Chemical Engineering and I got my Master's in engineering management at night, while working FT during the day (in the Navy!)  I wasn't married, no kids, just a boyfriend and lots of volleyball with friends.

I really enjoyed the experience and learned a lot.

I'm not gonna lie...by the end of the 2.5 years...I was kind of over it.  It did take quite a bit of stamina to sit in class for 3 hours 2 nights a week for 2.5 years.  But I look back (I was 24-26 years old, now I'm 42) and I have to say it - no way I could do it now with two kids.  I have a lot of coworkers who talk about going back to school, but once they have kids it doesn't happen.  In fact, I know several who were ABD (all but dissertation) on the PhD or master's but they never finished.

jrhampt

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1072
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Connecticut
Re: Pursue a part-time (mostly company paid) masters?
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2013, 08:06:30 AM »
Yeah, "ABD" is where I'm at now with the master's.  I am finding it very hard to dig up the motivation to finish at this point, but I am making steady progress toward the end and am about 75% done by my estimation - just filed the second set of paperwork with committee signatures and have a reasonable working draft.  Thankfully I have no kids.  I also have a friend who finished the coursework for his master's a couple of years ago but is still stalled on his thesis.  That has been my motivation for the past few months - that fear of not ever finishing.