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Debating Grad School? Here's Why You Should Go for It
If you’re a millennial who’s graduated from college recently, chances are you’re wondering whether you should attend graduate school, if not now then at some point down the road. Obviously, you can expect some changes from your undergraduate days, particularly when it comes to connections: to learning, fellow students, professors and real life.
The major game-changer comes from the life and professional experiences that grad students bring to the table. It pushes students — and colleges and universities — to do more. Here’s how:
More time to talk. With experience comes knowledge, and information sharing is a critical piece of the learning process. “A big part of grad classes is that students collaborate and learn from each other,” says Andy Aylesworth, who teaches creativity courses for the Bentley MBA programs. “Professors are there to conduct as opposed to teach.”
More interesting coursework. This is not to say that undergraduate curriculum is boring, but the reality is that there are general education requirements to complete before you really dive in to your major. At the master’s level you could come in with a specific track — accounting, information technology or taxation — with coursework targeted to goals throughout.
More responsibility, less hand holding. You’re older (maybe) and wiser (maybe), and you know that you need to get your homework done. Professors like Aylesworth expect it; so much so that he uses a flipped classroom, assigning high-level reading for homework so class time can be spent with hands-on activities that put theory into practice and bridge lessons to real life.
More creative space. Given the amount of collaboration that happens among students, schools are creating physical spaces that get people talking. At Bentley, classroom provide breakout areas for small group collaboration, including moveable white boards.
More flexibility. Given that many graduate students are juggling classes with work and family, colleges and universities are getting creative with how you can complete your degree. Traveling to Europe for work? Hybrid-model classrooms use technology such as Zoom to let you participate remotely in addition to your class time. Another viable option, says masters of accounting Program Director Donna McConville, is a graduate certificate. “At Bentley we offer professional and advanced graduate certificates in disciplines such as fraud and forensic accounting, taxation, business analytics, business ethics, master personal financial planner and marketing analytics.”
More networking. According to GradSchools.com, networking with fellow students, professors and advisers can be crucial, particularly when it comes to visibility, career advice and social and emotional support. Alumni organizations are another great networking opportunity (and ones that will be around for years).
More connections to life. It’s easier to make connections to real life; in fact, many students are looking for tools they can take back and “test drive” at work the next day.
Given that the connections graduate students make can literally impact a job they’re returning to tomorrow, they up the ante when it comes to getting serious and getting the job done.
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.