Jump to content
  • advertisement_alt
  • advertisement_alt
  • advertisement_alt

2nd Master's vs. work vs. PhD


Recommended Posts

I am very lost in my decision-making at the moment and would love anyone's thoughts and advice on my situation; I'll be as brief as possible:
 
My background:
 
- Finished an MSc at LSE in sustainable development 2 years ago with somewhat good grades (distinction).
- Have a background in Geography and Economics, but I'm looking to improve my technical skills, e.g. mapping, environmental analysis, etc., nothing which I learned at LSE (my MSc was very policy-oriented).
- Have just received an offer for an MSc in Applied Ecology in Europe from a relatively unknown university with a full scholarship (2 years).
- This program would definitely provide me all the technical skills I need to get into more applied/on-the-field environmental analysis work; and my academic supervisor seems to be doing exactly the research that I'm very interested in.
- However, perhaps with my current MSc from LSE, I could transition directly into a more a technical PhD or gain the technical skills at work.
- Am currently working with an environmental consultancy in Latin America. It's satisfying work but not my passion; too much economics/policy and too little field and technical experience.
 
My questions:
 
1) Should I continue working in a job that is not my passion and look for other job opportunities where I could learn more technical skills on-the-job? (I'm worried I would be underqualified to find more technical positions without the proper background);
2) Should I take the 2nd Master's to provide me with the technical skills needed to transition to a job I would be more passionate about? (I'm worried a 2nd Master's will make me seem unfocused if I want to pursue a PhD one day, or will make me seem too academic if I want to enter the workforce again. I would be 30 when I finish with around 4 years of combined work experience);
3) Should I stay on the job, skip the 2nd Master's, and apply to a PhD directly in a few years (I'm worried admissions will consider my lack of a technical background as a major drawback for more applied/technical environmental PhD programs).
 
Thank you all for your help and suggestions; I would really appreciate it!
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The second master's degree is increasingly common, particularily when moving across fields. It seems like it could be a great opportunity to learn more about the direction you'd ultimately like to go in (which is a little unclear in your message). You might also consider what benefits you anticipate getting from the PhD that you wouldn't find in this Master's program. Do you really want to do academic research? Or, if it's just a job that you're looking for, perhaps the Master's will be enough?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The second master's degree is increasingly common, particularily when moving across fields. It seems like it could be a great opportunity to learn more about the direction you'd ultimately like to go in (which is a little unclear in your message). You might also consider what benefits you anticipate getting from the PhD that you wouldn't find in this Master's program. Do you really want to do academic research? Or, if it's just a job that you're looking for, perhaps the Master's will be enough?

 

Very helpful; thanks!

 

I guess the question would be to what extent does moving to a different (applied ecology) but very related field (to geography) require a second Master's and not just additional work experience. Academic research is definitely not on the radar for now; so that would leave the PhD out of the question until the future. However, could I be jeopardizing my chances for a future PhD if I receive a second Master's with lower grades than the first one? Or is it a plus regardless?

 

Tricky decision...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Only people in your field can tell you for sure, but in my experience usually extra work experience can help you cross over and you don't need an additional MA.

 

No, a second MA is not a plus regardless - you'd need to perform well and do research, writing a thesis if it's an option. If your grades are slightly lower than the first one that could just be normal fluctuation, but I think generally you want to aim for >3.5 GPA.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Only people in your field can tell you for sure, but in my experience usually extra work experience can help you cross over and you don't need an additional MA.

 

No, a second MA is not a plus regardless - you'd need to perform well and do research, writing a thesis if it's an option. If your grades are slightly lower than the first one that could just be normal fluctuation, but I think generally you want to aim for >3.5 GPA.

 

Great point; thanks! I'm keeping my eye out for other positions that have technical components that I'm interested in. I'm just worried I would immediately exclude myself from the competition by not having the necessary technical background.

 

The Master's does have a mandatory research/thesis component of 6-8 months in which I hope to gain experience in technical areas such as environmental modelling, quality monitoring, soil analysis, etc. to eventually work as a technical advisor, for example. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess it depends on the industry and the country. In my case, my master does not seem to impress employers and they sometimes were reluctant to hire me for positions requiring some quantitative skills, even if I was able to do the job or learn  how to do it. I still landed a position at a financial institution, and may be able to bridge the gap with a lot of working experience.

However, I consider the Ms in Statistics could really give me the knowledge I am longing for, and the skills to do advance statistical work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.