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Bentley on Bloomberg: Is a Graduate Degree Worth It?
In a time when high-skill workers are more in-demand than ever before, many say that graduate degrees are becoming the credential that bachelor's degrees used to be. But the question still remains...is it really worth it?
Bentley President Gloria Larson, along with guest experts, joined Bloomberg Radio’s Carol Massar and Cory Johnson, to talk about how business schools are staying relevant to answer market demand, what kind of graduate school experience students should look for to get ahead, and what hiring managers really look for when they see a graduate degree on a resume. Here are excerpts from the show. (Interviews are hyperlinked to guests' names.)
Do your research to pick the right school
There are many opportunities to upgrade your skills and you need to think about what one is best for you. If you’re thinking about graduate school, it’s important to do your research before deciding on a program. That means not only figuring out the logistics of paying for the degree and calculating your potential ROI, but also ensuring you get the most from your experience. That means connecting with the career services office to make sure they will support your goals and help you achieve them while you’re in school and once you graduate, identifying the alumni network and taking advantage, and researching the field you’re in to make sure the degree actually will open doors and make an impression on employers.
The graduate school landscape is constantly evolving
Colleges and universities that offer graduate programs must adapt to the ever-changing market and figure out where their strengths can match up with market needs. Schools need to continue to create new programs, be nimble, and create deep and meaningful connections with industry partners to be sure they are turning out graduates that are not only highly employable, but engaged leaders and contributors that are ready to make immediate impact.
Employers are looking for leaders with a combination of hard and soft skills
Given the dynamic nature of health care, we look for employees who bring valuable leadership and collaboration skills to our organization. Among the harder skill sets, we look for candidates who have experience with analytical problem solving - being able to turn big data into something that is useful and can help ensure positive health care outcomes. We also look for strategic thinking as many of our problems are often multi-faceted. MBA students are able to look at tasks with a 360 degree view and figure out how to best serve the customer, which is ultimately our purpose.
Graduate degrees help you think bigger
Getting three different master’s degrees gave me: 1) The ability to lead and the solid business foundation I needed to challenge the status quo and ask why can’t we deliver services in a completely new and different way? Why can’t we think bigger despite existing constructs? 2) The language to talk to and better understand IT professionals and translate that information to a client’s needs. 3) The tools with which to build trusting relationships within the health care provider community. Without the broad context, the systems knowledge, and the communications skills, I would not be as effective a professional as I am today.
Alison Davis-Blake, the former business school dean at the Universities of Michigan and Minnesota, was inaugurated as the eighth president of Bentley University in a ceremony attended by students, faculty, staff, alumni and other members of the extended Bentley community.