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Masters for Career Change
#1
I graduate from COSC in two days with a BSBA. Originally, I started on this path for a number of reasons - one of them being career change. I'm at a relatively job that I like okay working for a trade magazine. The downside is they pay me 5k less per year than the average public school teacher in my state (this AFTER three raises.) Being a small mom and pop company, there is no opportunity for advancement. I'm as far as I'm going to go here, and the owners are at retirement age, with no plans for transition or the future or anything. Even if I wanted to stay where I'm at, ultimately some infirmity will remove their ability to keep the company running in a few years.

What I'm arguably good at is communications. Writing, producing video content, finding narratives, PR, photography, public speaking, presentations, etc etc. I also have been a political nerd since I was 12 years old and would love to transition into politics ultimately... or work potentially in content creation or broadcasting for something like the NBA, UFC, or even WWE - or possibly working in content creation/PR for a professional sports team. That's the sort of stuff I'm passionate about. Politics and sports.

After talking it over with my wife about whether I should look for jobs now or keep the ball rolling and utilize the flexible schedule I have at work to do an MBA from either Purdue Global or WGU (as they're very cheap/fast), she suggested "Since you have the self-discipline to just churn through competency based college, and it's cheap, why not?" 

I've read conflicting opinions that an MBA is a poor degree for career change, and that it doesn't have much value in that MBAs are a dime-a-dozen vs. an MBA is the most useful and flexible masters. The more I thought about it, the more I started thinking with one Business Administration degree under my belt, maybe something else might be better. 

I'm interested in this forum's input on what to pursue in a Master's degree. Should I just churn through a WGU MBA quickly before trying to change careers? Are there sub-$9k communications, journalism, or similar degrees out there? (Preferably competency based, but I figure that's a longshot.)

And how would one go about breaking into politics?
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#2
An MBA is good for people who plan to work in those areas. In your case, I'd go for something else.

This MS in Strategic Communications is not competency based, but it says it could be done in just 10 months.
https://degree.astate.edu/programs/graduate.aspx

They also have Media Management which is 12 months, and that has 3 tracks. Two of them seem to suit your interests.

Capella has an MS in Sport Psychology which is competency-based. But, it's Capella. Also Sport Psychology doesn't seem to fit your interests nearly as well. Better than an MBA!
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#3
I don't think there's anything wrong with an MBA, it's what you make of it more than anything. Since you're not really working in business, and don't want to work in business, I'm not sure you'll make the most of the degree. So really, what's the point?

I'm not usually one to tell people to get a 2nd BA degree, esp one that's closely related to your first, but in looking at WGU's BS in Marketing Management, that might might be more up your alley. So, maybe a MA in Marketing might work well for you. Not that I know of any, but since you're just starting out, that might be where you look as well.

Otherwise, Communications sounds good, but I don't know of any of those that are competency-based.

If you don't mind spending more, and don't mind a "regular" school (online), APU has MA degrees in Political Science and Sports Management.
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#4
(12-29-2018, 08:10 PM)elbebopkid Wrote: I'm interested in this forum's input on what to pursue in a Master's degree.

My input is that (1) lack of a degree isn't holding you back (2) having an MBA doesn't align well with what you've described as your interests/career path.

The job you have now you got without even a bachelor's degree, so to flip the script a bit, do you think HAVING this degree now entitles you to more money? Probably not.

This is uncomfortable to say, but I've had this conversation with young chefs (my former profession). There are jobs that simply pay what they pay - whether or not you have a degree or are paying for additional education/skills isn't going to change what the industry pays.

In my opinion, you're following your passion instead of following the money (that's not a criticism) but if at the end of the day you want more money, you have to flip it and look for careers that pay more money. Some people aren't wired that way (I'm in that group) and so I totally empathize with your situation. My brother in law would pick up dog poop every day if it paid more money. Again, not a criticism. But, in my opinion, if you want to keep following your passion, you just need to grind more and worry less about the money- maybe look for other people's opinions about how to come at it with a different idea to monetize, but if you're going to change careers, something vague like "politics" or "sports team" aren't going to help you up your salary.
Nurse, welder, IT. 3 jobs you can train for with direct paths into employment. Not saying to pursue those, I'm saying they are A+B=C jobs. Get the skill, land a job. That is not what happens when you go after an MBA.
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#5
Given that I work for a trade magazine, I do work in business. A good deal of our content is more or less case studies written in a non-academic style. The rest is all marketing stuff or advertising. In my role, I do a lot of project management. I found I could sleepwalk through a good deal of the business curriculum for my b.s. by coasting on work experience.

I'm not too sure about APU... Seems like it's a general rule of thumb to avoid for-profit schools. Have folks on the board had good experiences with APU?
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#6
I think that political science may serve you better. The things you mentioned like speaking, writing, etc can be demonstrated without a degree. However, there are few Masters degrees that are competency-based besides MBA, IT, education, nursing (needs RN), and the Capella psych degrees. Not many besides those are under $10K, and not many can be done in under a year (especially if one adds in the time waiting for start dates).
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#7
(12-30-2018, 09:27 AM)cookderosa Wrote:
(12-29-2018, 08:10 PM)elbebopkid Wrote: I'm interested in this forum's input on what to pursue in a Master's degree.

My input is that (1) lack of a degree isn't holding you back (2) having an MBA doesn't align well with what you've described as your interests/career path.

The job you have now you got without even a bachelor's degree, so to flip the script a bit, do you think HAVING this degree now entitles you to more money?  Probably not.  

This is uncomfortable to say, but I've had this conversation with young chefs (my former profession).  There are jobs that simply pay what they pay - whether or not you have a degree or are paying for additional education/skills isn't going to change what the industry pays.  

In my opinion, you're following your passion instead of following the money (that's not a criticism) but if at the end of the day you want more money, you have to flip it and look for careers that pay more money.  Some people aren't wired that way (I'm in that group) and so I totally empathize with your situation.  My brother in law would pick up dog poop every day if it paid more money.  Again, not a criticism.  But, in my opinion, if you want to keep following your passion, you just need to grind more and worry less about the money- maybe look for other people's opinions about how to come at it with a different idea to monetize, but if you're going to change careers, something vague like "politics" or "sports team" aren't going to help you up your salary.  
Nurse, welder, IT.  3 jobs you can train for with direct paths into employment.  Not saying to pursue those, I'm saying they are A+B=C jobs. Get the skill, land a job.  That is not what happens when you go after an MBA.

I'm under no illusion that a degree gets you a job or entitles you to more pay. But lack of degree can certainly hold you back from those things. More than anything else, I got a B.S. because higher ed always felt like unfinished business, and I wanted to be the first in my family to graduate from college. But with degree inflation, it's the new high school diploma, and I also knew I really needed one to not be in a bad position in the job market.

While a degree does not equate pay or a job, per se, I HAVE found that many firms are very poor at equating skill sets to compensation, but very good at equating paper credentials to compensation, sadly. 

I really wouldn't mind continuing to be paid starvation wages if it was something I was passionate about - like say sports or politics. That's my main issue with the current job. I like it okay, but the subject matter we cover is something I have no passion for. It's hard to stay motivated, excel, and do really quality work when the work is on something you really don't give a flip about. Feels like work. If I worked in a field I was passionate about, and did what I loved for a living, I'd never work a day in my life.

For a specific political goal example...while I was poking around LinkedIn, I found that the current Director of Communications for the governor of my state has no background in politics, and transitioned into communications for the governor's office from being a sports talk radio personality. I thought "Well heck, I could do that." I just have to hustle, make connections, seek opportunities, and work my way into that kind of thing. It's a line of work I would really enjoy doing. (On top of that, I guarantee that guy gets paid more than a school teacher.)

So far the this thread is giving me the input I was looking for - i.e. a master's isn't necessarily a good investment to achieve my goals, yet I found that I really enjoy academics, and wouldn't mind continuing to pursue them. So really, I suppose if I pursue one, it should be more of a personal goal. (But not at the cost of going 25k in debt.) It's a shame WGU doesn't have more programs outside of Education, Business, IT and Nursing.

I may end up applying to Harvard Extension to see what kind of reduced tuition I could get for an ALM in Creative Writing. That would definitely be more interesting/rewarding on a personal level than a boring, generic MBA.

A second bachelor's is not out of the question either. I like learning.
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#8
If you want a fast, self paced masters strictly for career change then Ashworth may be a good bet. It's NA and For-profit, but diverse offerings.

Just throwing it out there:
https://www.ashworthcollege.edu/masters-degrees/
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#9
Have you talked with your current employers? Maybe you could be part of their exit strategy from the business and end up your own boss.
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#10
Now that you're about to be a college graduate I'd recommend that you start looking for and applying for jobs that are of interest to you and see what happens.  You are now able to 'check the box' on opportunities that could have otherwise not been available to you. Being a new grad is a good time to try to transition from your 'paying the bills' day job into something that is of interest to you; plus when they ask you in an interview 'Why are you looking to change jobs/fields/careers now?", you'll have your answer in the I just graduated college and it is time.

At this time I don't think you've maximized your potential opportunities as a college graduate; no reason to jump into a master program just yet - plus, maybe your next employer will foot the bill for the one you do get.
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