Monday, February 05, 2007

MS - What is it worth for?

Last year I had an opportunity to attend an open house session with the final year class of my undergraduate school, FAST-NU. The session was aimed to provide an insight to the students about the employment and the higher education opportunities available after they graduated. Alongside me, there were several other alumni mostly from local software industry and graduate business schools. One impression that I walked away with after the session was that somehow people from local industry thought that a MS would be a waste if anyone was willing to work in the software industry. Some of them passionately opposed going for a masters degree. I used a few arguments as a rebuttal to their misconception during the session. I intend to present the summary of some of those arguments in this post. One reason that inspired me to blog on this topic is the increasing number of questions that I am repeatedly asked by friends, colleagues and fresh graduates about the significance of a masters degree. Here is what I have to say on this issue [and it is limited to a MS from abroad]:

- Going abroad in a new country is a different learning experience altogether. Your faculty and class mates come from many different countries and possibly from various backgrounds. Each one has a different problem solving approach. Therefore working with those guys, learning in the class and outside the class is immense. I had my class fellows coming from more than 13 different nations. Some of them had been to schools like Caltech USA, Monash Australia and EPFL Switzerland etc.

- One important thing that a foreign degree contributes to is the broadening of vision. You get to know what the world is doing and what you want to do in it. Also, you get exposed to lots of opportunities that are almost inaccessible from Pakistan. To reach out for these opportunities, a masters degree is one right step in this direction.

- You learn to live at your own. No more pampering by the parents, you are virtually your own mom and dad. All this exercise does a world of good to your confidence and goes a long way in completing your personality.

- It looks good on your resume and you can use it to impress your colleagues and friends :)

Each of these points can be stretched to pages but I'll keep it to what it is right now. If any of the reader has had a similar experience of studying abroad, I solicit your input to make this list complete. Let's hear what you have to say on this topic.