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Author Topic: Most Valuable Graduate Degree  (Read 6826 times)
chewydog1
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« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2006, 1:00:49 AM »

I partially disagree with the below post. No one should make "options" the sole component of their decision, but definitely they should consider it as part of their decision process.  For example, if I want to do research on ecology, the job prospects for a pure ecologist versus an environmental scientist can be night and day (EVS being much better). The dissertation and research components may be essentially identical.  Certainly their are examples in other fields.  In fact, the reason so many PHDs are unemployed/underemployed may be traced back to this problem.  When I did my MS, I based my entire education on what I was interested in.  I graduated and was basically unemployed for several years. I returned to get a PHD in a marketable field that encompassed my passion.  I walked out of my PHD into a tt academic job with a prestigious postdoc offer as an alternative.  I am not saying I did it right, but I am saying I thought it through ahead of time and it worked.  Still, I had some 20 pubs upon graduation through great fortune, so some things fell my way outside of my control.  Keys to getting an academic job in the sciences are simple:  publish frequently, propose fundable research, present at scholarly meetings, and participate in organizations.  Oh yeah, you have to show success in the classroom as well! 

Its all hard work, and eats at your gut, but the formula is simple.  Determining how you will solve this equation leading to your employment in a good position is not so simple!  I hope you all find the positions you are wanting!

Something's been bothering me about the question that starts this thread, and I finally figured out what it is. 

No one should pursue a graduate degree because it gives them options.  They should pursue the appropriate graduate degree to give them the training they want for the job they want.  If a student comes to me and says she wants to be a lawyer, or a biologist, or a high school principal, I don't tell her she should go to B-school instead because her options and earnings will be better.  I tell her to go to law school to be a lawyer, or go to grad school to be a biologist, or get her secondary teaching certification to be a principal. 

Some college presidents have MBAs, some have JDs, some (most, I think) have PhDs, some have EdDs.  That tells you only that there are many paths to the presidency.  It doesn't tell you which one you "should" have if you want to be a president.  A PhD will be one kind of president, an MBA will be another kind.  Which kind do you want to be?


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tt_wannabe
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Posts: 283


« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2006, 3:32:05 PM »

I think I have to agree with Chewydog1 on this one, to an extent.

Consider the differences of opinion between the EdD and the PhD in Ed that posters on these fora have. Or consider how some posters in these fora view Online Universities or part-time PhD programs.

There's quite a bit of snobbery out there and not getting the right degree, when considering all of you options, can be the difference bewteen employment or not.

There is a Zen (I think) saying that goes something like:

"After enlightenment, the laundry."
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Counting *chimes* as citations.
drdirt55
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Posts: 520


« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2006, 5:53:53 PM »

I believe that a Master's degree is the most marketable.  The doctorate can pigeonhole a person into a narrow field which limits their marketability.  If you aren't sure that an academic area and specialty is what you want and it will want you, then I think the Master's gives you options to continue to explore without being tied to a narrow field.

If you really want to know what is the most valuable, get an Associate's in diesel mechanics or IT - it would be a good back-up for when other things don't pan out or you need a change of pace.  I often wish I had some type of hard skill that I could market while I search for my academic dream job.
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sibyl
Do these gray hairs make me look
Distinguished Senior Member
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Posts: 2,403


« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2006, 1:04:14 PM »

I partially disagree with the below post. No one should make "options" the sole component of their decision, but definitely they should consider it as part of their decision process.  For example, if I want to do research on ecology, the job prospects for a pure ecologist versus an environmental scientist can be night and day (EVS being much better).

Fair enough, but you're not talking about the differences between an MBA and a JD.  You're talking about different approaches to overlapping subjects, the way that doctors choose between the MD and the DO or musicians choose between the PhD and the DMA.  Based on this question and other threads the OP has started, it seems the OP is trying to figure out which degree to pursue -- or perhaps to validate hu's choice of the MBA -- as the optimal preparation for some not-quite-yet-defined career in higher education.
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"I do not pretend to set people right, but I do see that they are often wrong." -- Jane Austen, Mansfield Park
harry
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Posts: 187


« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2006, 1:48:36 PM »

Similar to science education, I was just talking to someone last night who worked in our ed department (an R1 at a big state school--Big 10, Big 12, Pac 10 sort of thing). Math education apparently has been an incredibly difficult fill. Last search garnered 4 applicants. Now we're not in the sexiest area in terms of big city (but not anywhere many people bristle at), but still, that's crazy.

Someone else in the same conversation (whose daughter was pursuing that degree) says she's got an large amount of flexibility in the search, especially geographically. In my field--lit--geographic limitations are the fastest way to kill a search.
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chewydog1
Junior member
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Posts: 89


« Reply #20 on: November 29, 2006, 1:15:40 PM »

You are correct, there is a difference (in retrospect).  I was interpreting the person entering a JD vs an MBA likely overlapping in that an MBA empoyee could easily be working on contracts and policy/law issues very similar to what a JD might be employed to do in a corporate setting.  So these two COULD overlap a lot, but they also MAY be very different.  It all depends on what the job goal of the education was! Thansk!

I partially disagree with the below post. No one should make "options" the sole component of their decision, but definitely they should consider it as part of their decision process.  For example, if I want to do research on ecology, the job prospects for a pure ecologist versus an environmental scientist can be night and day (EVS being much better).

Fair enough, but you're not talking about the differences between an MBA and a JD.  You're talking about different approaches to overlapping subjects, the way that doctors choose between the MD and the DO or musicians choose between the PhD and the DMA.  Based on this question and other threads the OP has started, it seems the OP is trying to figure out which degree to pursue -- or perhaps to validate hu's choice of the MBA -- as the optimal preparation for some not-quite-yet-defined career in higher education.

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