If you want to advance your career, you might have toyed with the idea of getting a masters’ degree. It’s a tough job market and underemployment looms in all sectors. The idea of getting something that gives you any extra would be a good thing. Right? Well, not so fast. A master’s program may not be practical for everyone. Some programs are full time meaning that you would have to quit your job. This might present a big opportunity cost because you will not be earning any money during this time. Even if you feel that a masters’ program may be your best bet for making a career change, here are other things that you should consider that might as add value to your career. These opportunities offer practical hands-on experience in a way that academic study may not.
Write a book
Books are the new business card. Like a masters’ program, a book sets you apart from the rest of the population. The ease of publishing has made it easier to publish a book. Nothing says you are an expert on a field than being a published author of a book on that topic. Writing a book opens opportunities for speaking, consulting and other business deals. Publishing a book is not about income. In fact, few writers get rich from book sales. It is about building your brand. There is a book in you. Just get started. The era of validation from a masters’ program is over.
Start A Business…From Scratch
There are lots of skills that you will learn from starting your business than from sitting in an MBA class. For example, as a business owner, there is no way to avoid marketing. Great sales skills are the ultimate competitive advantage. You need them for practically everything. From getting that promotion at work to getting that first customer for your business. Other skills that you will get from running your own business include: leading teams, collaboration, strategy development, etc. You will also pick up life and business lessons that an MBA program will never teach you. Also, you have the freedom to start any business that you want. But you can’t be employed anywhere. Starting your own business means that you will be able to grow skills in any field.
Consider fellowship programs
A fellowship is a great opportunity to grow your skills and gain a full variety of skills. Fellowships aim is to enrich your experience, expand your network, enhance skill set, and help you begin real work. They are not just for academia professionals. Students, researchers and young professionals from all fields can get into fellowship programs to help them pursue career goals that they might not be able to achieve in a typical job setting. Choose a program that is a good fit for you.
Develop your tech skills
From Coding, big data, artificial intelligence, to cloud computing, the world of technology is constantly evolving and changing the way that companies do business. Instead of pursing an MBA, invest in improving your tech skills in a field that intrigues you. You can’t afford to rely on the tech skills you acquired when you were still in school. Chances are that they are outdated, irrelevant and inadequate.