I was recently asked by one of our team members whether or not it is a good idea for someone who has recently gotten their BA or BS to go back to school immediately for a JD/Masters/MBA program OR if they are better off to get some work/life experience before pursuing a higher education. This is a really good question that I have never been asked before and thought it would be worth blogging about.
Based on the series of articles I am doing on “career poker,” I realized that knowing how to play your “career poker” hand starts immediately after you graduate college. If you are someone who went to a top school for your undergraduate degree AND you graduated at the top of your class (ie. top 10% or higher), going back to school immediately following your graduation could be your best option because you already have momentum scholastically and will be more likely to be hired/recruited directly out of a Masters/MBA/JD program.
However…if you are someone who did not go to a top school and/or graduate at the top of your class, you are better off to get work experience/life experience to pad your resume to make your “career poker hand” more valuable in the long run. Someone who pursues a higher education directly after their undergraduate program will likely have a lot of competition coming out of school and will have a much harder time getting hired (unless this person has an incredible network-an incredible network increases your “hand” value and makes up for a lower GPA or a degree from a less reputable school).
In short (your GPA) X (the caliber of school you attended) X (your network) = the value of your hand and will determine whether or not you should pursue a higher degree immediately after getting your undergraduate degree completed.