I had a great conversation with a prospective student recently about the necessity of a graduate degree in securing a specific job. We both came to the conclusion that graduate school might not be necessary for him. I would like to pass along the same advice to you that I offered him. Please realize however that this goes against everything I am trained to do. My job consists of rounding up the most talented students available and helping them matriculate to the Josef Korbel School. While we are looking for talent, we are also looking for fit with the school—and that fit has to go both ways. My advice to this student (and to you) is this:
- Think about your ideal career. Research job postings that you believe you would like to pursue as a future career. Then, look at the requirements for the job to see if an advanced degree is essential. If it is, give us a call. If not, go after the job! Even if graduate school is a job requirement, knowing what you want to do with your career will make graduate school all the more rewarding as you’ll be able to tailor your classes, independent studies and thesis towards your future career.
- Join Linkedin. This is a great resource for everything professional. Don’t be afraid to join professional groups for the sole purpose of asking questions related to your career search, (i.e. “Do I need an advanced degree to pursue this career, if so, what kind of degree do you recommend?”). Remember that social media is a great way to make connections and if used correctly it can help propel you into your ideal career. If used incorrectly, it can get you a job rejection letter, a pink slip and a stained online image quickly.
- Start networking now. Truth is the field of international relations is extremely competitive. We tell our incoming students that the job search starts on the first day of new student orientation (2 years before they graduate). The more connections you have going into graduate school the more you will have coming out.
Finally, don’t be afraid to contact us. I’ve helped numerous students determine that graduate school might not be necessary for their ideal career. I’ve also helped others determine that a different focus might be a better route. Contact us, we are happy to talk.
Director of Graduate Admissions
Josef Korbel School of International Studies