Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Master’s Degree Graduate Discusses the Differences between Undergrad and Grad School

Graduate school is often a whole new world compared to undergraduate education. While undergraduate programs often include many courses outside of your major, graduate programs tend to dive deeply into one field. Graduate programs also usually emphasize research more and an even greater application of theories into practice.

As such, preparing for graduate study takes a slightly different approach compared to what you might have experienced entering undergraduate school. We learned some great insights recently from Kim Lawrence, one of the first graduates of Peirce's Master of Science in Organizational Leadership & Management degree program (MSOLM). She also told us about what it was like to get her graduate degree at Peirce and several other takeaways to help adult learners who are considering going back to school.

Why did you choose to return to school?
I went to Peirce as an adult learner to earn my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. I
Kim Lawrence
graduated in 2013. When I heard that Peirce was starting to offer master’s degrees, it grabbed my attention. I thought that I would have an advantage since I was going back to Peirce and the school was familiar to me. My husband and best friend encouraged me to go for it, so I enrolled.

What was your experience like at Peirce in the graduate program?
I think I thought it would be very similar to earning my undergraduate degree, but it was actually very different. In my master’s classes, there was a big focus on applying what I learned as an undergrad to real-world situations. I came up with a lot of my own original ideas and perspectives on how to solve business problems and learned how to trust my instincts.

What do you think are some of the biggest lessons you learned in your master’s degree program?
Don’t undermine your capabilities. Don’t be scared to be a leader. 

How are you planning to use your degree to help you in your career path?
I’m in a supervisor role now, and I want to keep growing. The good thing about having a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership & Management is that I’ll be able to apply it in lots of different areas within business.

Do you have any advice for students who are considering going back to school for their master’s degree?
Make sure you know what your learning style is. Do you like online or on-campus classes, or a combination of both? And find a support network. If it wasn’t for my husband, I would not have made it.  He was constant encouragement. If you’re on the fence, going back to school is definitely worth it. It’s an investment in your security, career-wise. It’s also a huge confidence boost. My first year of graduate school was also my first year working as a supervisor, so I was able to directly apply lessons I was learning in the classroom to how I managed my employees. 

Great insights, Kim, and congratulations on earning your master’s degree!