The decision to go on to get a graduate degree should be made with specific career goals in mind. Among other factors, a school’s reputation affects post-graduate job opportunities and salary. From a MarketWatch story titled “10 things grad schools won’t tell you” comes this advice.
“Our second-tier status may hamper your career — and your pay.”
“The name of your school matters a lot,” says Katie Bardaro, lead economist for PayScale.com, a website that compiles compensation data. Indeed, salaries can be much higher for grads of top schools, especially for people getting M.B.A.S and law degrees, says Bardaro. Data from PayScale shows that the median pay for M.B.A. grads two years after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School is $125,000 a year, growing to $167,000 by the time they were 10 years out of school. M.B.A. grads from the less highly regarded University of Massachusetts Boston Campus earn a median $62,300 annually two years out of school, and that pay grows to $75,400 when they’re 10 years out. The University of Massachusetts didn’t respond to requests for comment.
People considering graduate school who don’t want to attend or can’t get into or afford a brand-name school should look for schools with notable alumni in their industry, says Bardaro. Such alumni might bring cachet to a school that isn’t necessarily Ivy League, says Bardaro. And if the program has a strong track record of placing people in a certain industry, that could also boost the student’s chances of finding a well-paying job, she says.
When my husband was deciding where to go for his MBA, one of the most important factors was a school’s reputation for helping its graduates find employment in specific sectors and locations. Given the recent devaluation of an MBA, today it’s even more important to determine carefully the return on the time and money for a business school education.
Here is some advice from Megan McArdle.
… When young people ask me whether they should get an MBA, I give them the same advice that I got in the late 1990s: unless you can get into a top 10* (or have a very specific job that you know you can get by attending a regional program), then don’t. You’re too likely to end up with massive debt and no very good prospects for paying it.