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post baccalaureate degree after fifty; unnecessary?


advanced degree for a fifty year old  

7 members have voted

  1. 1. worth it?

  2. 2. is it worth it if the degree is in current career path

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as HAIF has many educated users in various industries, i'm interested in opinions on whether completing an advanced degree after fifty is worth the time and money.


i'm currently in my third career.  i will finish my business degree next spring; a degree i began in 1983.  while i'm in this odd place, working full time and in school part-time; i wonder if i shouldn't seriously consider an advanced degree.


an MBA would allow greater advancement in my current position; however, i'm not sure i want to be immersed in collegiate business study for the next few years.  i will turn 50 next year.  at this point, i'm not sure if three additional years or so of part-time school will benefit my remaining 15-20 working years.


at my age, i'm starting to watch the clock.  travel, family, and friends look really good right now.


your wisdom and experience are greatly appreciated.


thanks in advance HAIF.



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Part of the question is, where will you be in three (or four) years without the additional sheepskin?  More to the point, what will make you happy?


I went to law school with a couple of students who were in their late 40s - early 50s.  It's a job you're not going to get without the degree, and both of them went on to long and satisfying careers.  It's also a career with a gazillion different possible paths, and that lends itself well to semi retirement.  The only complaints came from me and my cronies - they kept busting the curve because they studied harder than we did.


The Director of Domestic Bliss (several years past 50) is working on an advanced degree right now.  There is a certain amount of whinging about how much time it's taking from the day, no time for fun, etc., etc., but absolutely no thought of bailing.

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good insight.  thanks for the responses so far.

if i stay with my current career, a master's would create additional opportunities....assuming the master's degree is business related.  however, i do not know that i will lack for opportunities without it; that remains to be seen.  the income would be a motivating factor.  as i've been in school part-time since the summer of 2011, a semester off might provide additional clarity.  i guess i do not have to decide now.  i am curious as to how i will do on the gmat; i'm motivated to take it for that reason alone.


also, i think my flexibility for leisure time will continue to increase if the current trajectory of my career path holds.  i may be able to have the best of both worlds.

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I'm right behind you in age, bachanon, and any opportunity to advance one's career and pick up a little extra financial worth along the way, is something I couldn't personally second guess. Like my parents, I want my son to have a better life than I have. I guess any of us that have young ones of our own feel that way. It really doesn't matter if you're in your 40s or your 60s, when it comes to advancing one's education and ultimately being able to provide an even more comfortable life to those you love and cherish. I wholeheartedly give you the thumbs up, bachanon. Go for it, and never look back. If you don't, there will always be that lingering thought of "what if I had?" to think over.

Bottom line, it's never too late. Given your assessment of the situation, I believe the positives outweigh any negative side effects you may experience in time consumption. Considering what benefits will come from the advancement, for you and your family, I think the slight time loss with your loved ones is well worth the end result.

I don't know your background, or whether you are a religious individual, but I'll certainly add your situation to my prayers tonight. Whatever your decision is, make sure it makes YOU happy, first and foremost.

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What's the expected ROI of your new degree? Will you have to take out loans? If it's going to cost you $30k, and only increase your income such that you'd be retired by the time you break even... then forget it and invest the money. If employer is paying it, then go for it.

Age discrimination is now a problem so plan for it (I already am at 31 even though it's still years away for me). Don't take on any new debt at 50 if you can invest. Employers won't care how many degrees you have if they view you as expensive, about to retire, or "old". It stinks, but that's our world today.

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My point of view is that you are always learning and always looking for ways to increase your credentials. If you have the money to do it and you think it's important not only in the development of your knowledge in your industry or development of you as a person then by all means go for it! As it seems we are reaching critical mass in terms of people starting to reject college mostly because of costs and college's ability to get you ready for the workforce, I continue to support academia and the value that a college education affords. Of course since your talking about an MBA, getting a masters is very different experience and usually has a better track record. Completing it, if nothing else, says to employers that you are committed to completing anything and don't quit and specifically for those that are much older that you always willing to go the extra mile to improve yourself, skills, and knowledge.


When I was in architecture school, one person who became my best friend was actually someone who was age 47! He's name was Rob and I still talk with him on occasions now that we have both graduated and moved on in life. He just recently started his own practice and it was because he was able to get a degree. I wish you luck in your decision! Choose what's best for you, but I would highly recommend if you have your finances in order and have the focus to move up the ladder and simply gain more perspectives that University allows you to do.

Edited by Luminare
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