Written by AMA Boston Sponsorship team volunteer Trevor Stasik.
Is going back to school right for you? Many marketers ask the question as they go through their careers; it’s perfectly natural. The writer of this post is currently back in school themselves, so they are no stranger to it. However, the answer to the question is a very individual response. Why is that?
Going back to school can be a great way to improve your position in the marketing community and achieve your career goals. It can provide you with the opportunity to gain new skills, knowledge, and credentials that can help you advance in your field. However, it’s important to carefully consider whether returning to school is the right decision for you, given your personal and professional objectives, as well as your financial and time commitments. It’s also a good idea to explore all of your options.
The first thing you will want to consider is what your objective is. When you say that you want to improve your position, what does that mean to you? For some people that may mean more money, but for others, it may mean something different. Objectives of going back to school could include any of the following:
- Greater earning potential: Employers and clients will often be willing to pay more to experts with higher education degrees
- Promotion in current company: Employers may also be more willing to promote those with greater education.
- Better understanding of current trends and best practices: staying up-to-date is essential for success in any field, as it helps organizations stay competitive and relevant in a constantly evolving landscape
- Higher status in professional circles: Some people place more value on those with greater education
- Flexibility in schedule: Those with more education may be able to command additional benefits beyond salary, such as the ability to pick their schedule
- More freedom to change company or industry: Professionals may find opportunities to leverage their new education to gain access to interviews that they couldn’t get previously
- Improved skillsets and technical expertise: Have greater credibility and be more effective as completing your work with new skills
- Looking for excitement or challenge: Prove to yourself that you can do it. Show that you have the gumption and know-how to overcome self-doubt to become a master of your domain
- Opportunities to Give Back: Use the knowledge you gain to become a better leader and a better mentor to those around you.
- Psychological fulfillment: Feel better about yourself and your own accomplishments
- And Many More!
Look within yourself to determine which goals are the most important to you, and match those up with what you think your educational opportunities are. Weigh your real world benefits against the financial cost to determine if it is truly worthwhile. Consider the time and effort; how do those factor against the benefits? Know yourself, and that will help guide your decision.
If you know that it would benefit you to get the added value from returning to school, but cannot afford to go, consider if there are less expensive alternatives. Consider certifications instead of degrees. See if there are less costly schools. Find out about scholarships and financial aid packages. Can you get the education you need through volunteering or part-time work? There are many different paths you can take to meet your objectives. Ultimately, I think that the decision to go back to school should be based on what is most likely to help you achieve your career goals while bringing you the greatest personal and professional fulfillment.
If you are having trouble knowing where to look, reach out for help. AMA Boston is an excellent source of marketing education, and you have access to a host of professional development resources through your membership. AMA can provide you with training and chances to network. We have events, videos, podcasts, blogs and more. Be sure to check out both the National Chapter website and our local Boston site on social media or connect with us through our contact pages.
For myself, I have found the Boston Chapter to be incredibly helpful. The teams here are chock full of insight and they are always willing to listen to new ideas. As a volunteer, I get access to experts across the marketing spectrum that I can discuss strategies with. Since volunteers may practice marketing in several different industries, I can gain new perspectives that I wouldn’t be able to discover within my regular job. As a member of the Chapter, I can also attend a wide variety of events and meetings where speakers share their experiences and teach the latest techniques.
You have the power to learn and the power to earn. Educate yourself today on whether going back to school is right for you.