Advanced degrees set new standards for graduates

By Laura Higley

Mark Rollins, who graduated from Flagler College last fall, thinks that an M.B.A. can immensely help you get your dream job.

“I don’t think a master’s degree is required, but from personal experience, it has been difficult getting into the job I want without one,” Rollins said. “I do think businesses are expecting experience, not just book smarts.”

According to the University of Maryland, the value of the bachelor’s degree is slowly lowering as more students seek advanced degrees.

“Today with the proliferation of college graduates, having an undergraduate degree doesn’t set you apart as much as it used to,” said Yvan Kelly, department chair for Business Administration at Flagler College. “Even the M.B.A. is becoming more common, so now it is more where your M.B.A. is from rather than simply having one.”

Flagler junior Katie Kelley said that for her, a bachelor’s degree is just a starting point.

“I want to go to graduate school because without a master’s or doctorate, I don’t think I will be able to pursue the career I want,” Kelley said. “I don’t think bachelor’s degrees are getting people the jobs they want these days.”

According to The New York Times, master’s degrees and doctorates are setting a new standard for job applicants.

“The master’s degree is a tool you can use to differentiate yourself from the graduate degree, giving you an edge in the job market,” said Nick Panepinto, assistant professor of business at Flagler College.

Businesses are concentrating more on hands-on experience, wanting graduates who can hit the ground running, according to The New York Times.

“I think that experience is more important than the amount of schooling you have, especially in my field of sports management,” said Stephanie Snyder, a graduating senior at Flagler College. “Employers want people who are knowledgeable, skilled and creative. In the end, you can probably go further with a master’s degree, but without experience, you’re going to get nowhere.”

According to the University of Maryland, a master’s degree will help put you on the same playing field as your peers and give you the knowledge to be competitive in the job market.

“When you’re deciding whether or not to get your M.B.A., you’re looking for something to give you a comparative advantage as far as moving up the corporate ladder,” Kelly said. “You need to be able to make yourself stand out from everyone else, and the M.B.A. can help you do this.”

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