Over the past two decades, the percent of U.S. citizens with a bachelor's degree increased by nearly 20%. The standardization of higher education has not only drastically transformed the cost of it, but also the nature of the working world. These days, climbing the ladder seems to be a shorter way up to those with degrees. In turn, many move onto college without any consideration of an alternative and many who are already well established in their careers consider going back to school.
Survey responses from Ducere Global Business School students revealed the key motivations and drawbacks they had before enrolling in their degree. Nearly every student who responded noted they had put off their degree because of money and/or time commitments. Most of these students were at a point in their life where they had already been well into their career and had personal family and financial obligations. Ultimately, many saw the investment into their education as one that would pay off not just for them, but for their family and finances as well.
Increased earning potential
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that, as far as income goes, yes, there is an increased earning potential by having a degree. In 2019, workers with a bachelor's degree earned 131% of all-worker earnings, and workers with an advanced degree earned 160%. According to the same statistics, not only is the starting salary anywhere between 11% to 30% higher with a degree, but the unemployment rate is 1.5% less. Financially, a degree is like any investment which, in time, comes back to you with tangible benefits.
Intangibly, a degree opens the door to more opportunity. The networks, trust and reputation you build for yourself in school is a powerful tool. Your university will connect you to a lasting network of colleagues, professors, mentors and alumni. You will be able to connect with impactful industry leaders who you might not otherwise.
“I have built a global network of peers, with colleagues in Italy, London, New Zealand and across Australia,” Ducere MBA student Peter Niklov shared. Like Niklov’s experience with Ducere, some degrees offer international interactions and introductions which would otherwise be harder to come by. Having an established university behind you builds your reputability to leading people and companies.
Return on investment
Despite all of the upsides of a degree, scraping together the time and money once you already have a full-time job, family, more expenses and less desire to sit in a classroom, is difficult. When the incentive is years away and not guaranteed, making that big of a commitment feels futile.
However, like any investment, going back to school takes patience and sacrifice for a better future. According to Ducere Business Development Manager Aaron Trimble, it comes down to evaluating the ROI or return on investment that you will get with a certain degree, program and school.
Based on the same statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor, Trimble noted that someone with an income around $66,000 has the potential to earn up to a 23.35% annual return with Ducere’s MBA. “You could earn $49,000 more every year you work after finishing your degree for the rest of your career. Picture yourself in 21 years looking back on today, having earned $980,000 more — about 6,433% ROI after 20 years of graduation; so a 23.25% annual return,” he explained.
Diversify and modernize career perspective
Think about how different academics are now versus when you were last in school. Think about how much the work culture and information in your field has changed since you first entered it.
Knowledge, perspectives, attitudes and awareness are constantly progressing no matter what field you are in. Keeping up with this is vital to maintaining your relevance and reputation.
Diversifying your perspectives through the academic lens presents new ideas, problems and philosophies which you might not have seen before. Going back to school is a great way to modernize your approach and exercise an open and innovative mind.