Work and Study: How to Further Your Career with a Master’s Degree Successfully

masters degree written on price tag paper on black vintage background

Education is the initial stepping stone to launching your career, however, it is not the only way. After a certain point, where you studied becomes inconsequential in comparison to where you have worked. That is why rushing immediately from your BA into an MA is not always the best decision. Done at the right time however, your Masters can work to give you a boost and help you open doors that would otherwise have remained firmly shut.

If you complete your MA or MSc without going into your chosen industry first, and you could end up getting a degree in something that doesn’t help you achieve your goals. By waiting, understanding what you truly want out of your career, and then progressing with an MA, you can successfully further your ambitions in the right direction.

Work Your Way Across the Career Ladder

When you first start a new job, remember that horizontal progression is often the best way to find the right fit. For example, if you work for a large business, see if you can shadow others in different departments to learn how the company works and which areas you are most interested in. Even if you end up deciding that the department you started out in is actually not the right one for you, this experience is invaluable. Knowing how the entire company works and interacts is precisely what is needed in a leadership role.

Know What You Need to Improve

In some careers, progress is based on your performance. In others, there are barriers. Accounting, for example, is barred unless you pass all of the CPA and CMA exams, and that is just the minimum requirement. It is here where you can start to see the benefits of an MA to help you achieve your goals.

How to Know You Are Ready to Pursue a Masters

The reason why an MA at this point in your career is the better choice is that it can help you direct your career. If you work in a financing firm, and you know that there is a gap in the workforce, you can fill in that gap. Accounting is so much more than just processing numbers. With an MA, you can specialize in Business Intelligence, Corporate Finance, or even Forensic Accounting.

To learn where you can take your career with an MA or MSc, you first need to see what is out there. The job hunt after a university degree is why many ask themselves, “is a master’s degree in accounting worth it?” In short, the answer is yes. It’s especially a yes if you can complete your degree online. Even if you are already a qualified accountant, specializing your career in an in-demand niche can rocket your career faster than you thought possible.

A master’s degree in your industry will often mean that you can speed up the licensing process, negotiate for a higher salary, and better prepare yourself for more advanced leadership roles. Remember to specialize to make your skills even more in demand, and you will have built a stable platform to relaunch your career.

What You Should Look for in an Online Degree

There are a few key characteristics when you look for an online degree, especially if there are certifications you will need to pass to further your career.

Industry-Focussed Courses

Your biggest priority is going to be finding an online masters degree that is built by and for working professionals in your industry. This is the best way to be assured that your accounting MSc is going to genuinely help further your career because it was made by, or in conjunction with, leading experts in the field. A mix of theoretical and practical in your education is a great way to develop your skills and to have the knowledge necessary to concoct innovative solutions that will drive your employer in the future.

Online and Flexible

An online degree needs to be 100% online and designed to be completed alongside a career. This is the best way to ensure that your degree is there to support you and help you with your goals.

Fully Accredited

Though it might seem silly, you must check that the university is fully accredited; otherwise, you could be investing a lot of money in a beautifully-packaged scam. It happens more often than you think, so double-check that the university is accredited, well-regarded, and ranks well on international tables.

Tips to Help You Manage Your Study and Your Career

Becoming a master at juggling your education, your career, and your private life is just something you are going to have to work at. With these tips, you’ll get a head start:

1. Prep Healthy Meals in Advance

In order to handle the extra workload, your body needs to be in tip-top shape. You also need to save time where and when you can find it. The solution for both these needs is to prep healthy meals in advance.

2. Make Use of Commute Times

Read industry magazines, industry news, and of course, any recommended reading on your commute. If you drive, see if there are audiobook versions or if you can activate a text-to-speak feature through the accessibility options. So long as the text is enriched (i.e., clickable), you should be able to listen to this information.

3. Find a Great Location for After-Work Study

You need to be able to relax at home, so don’t study there. Instead, find a library, café, or coworking space where you can focus on your studies for a designated period of time. As a bonus, you’ll miss rush hour!

4. Give Yourself a Healthy Break At Home

Don’t work at home. Instead, focus on relaxing activities and aim to get to bed early so you can have a full night’s rest every night.

5. Ask for Help

Finally, remember it is okay to ask for help. If you need help preparing those meals or need help understanding a topic, ask. You only do yourself a disservice by not reaching out.

Furthering your career happens through a variety of pathways, but if you want to spearhead your efforts, you are going to need to work and study and follow everything in this guide to see you succeed.

For more great career advice, check out the other blogs on Career Geek.

About the author

Career Geek Community

The Career Geek Community is a group of passionate entrepreneurs & business consultants eager to share their advice and experience. Please note, this content may include links to products or services that we do not formally endorse, and for which we may receive compensation.