Graduate School is the New Undergrad

When people ask what I am doing after (working at) Middlebury, I usually say I don’t know what I AM doing, but I am NOT going to grad school. I am opposed to going to grad school without knowing what I should be going FOR. Is there no such thing as graduate school for the continuing liberal arts student?

But today, I got some good advice from some of my elders here at Middlebury today — go to grad school in a broad-based subject area that can be widely applied. So, what keeps my options open and actually helps me get a (better) job?

I’ve been looking at:

  • Doctor in Educational Leadership at Harvard University: As Harvard’s newest Ph.D. program, to me this is the right blend of business, social awareness, and practical experience. From a more broad perspective, education goes deep with people and this country’s education system needs a brain investment (not a cousin of the brain drain…). I know because I’ve been to China, if that counts as a qualification. I’m going to say I probably can’t get in to a program like this but I believe strongly that other bright people should look into this. Alternative: Joint MA in Education and MBA at Stanford.
  • Studio 20 (Journalism) at NYU: Let me be clear, I’m unsure what journalism school teaches you that you can’t hash out on your own but this is a program about adapting journalism to the web — an critical task at a critical time in journalism. A partnership with NYTimes to produce the East Village Local Blog doesn’t hurt either.
  • Master of Management Studies (MMS) at Duke University: Although you have to convince me why I shouldn’t wait a few years and then get an MBA, this is an interesting idea if just for the novelty. Spend less than a year, get a masters, and boost your chances of actually getting an entry level job in consulting, finance, or marketing positions that wouldn’t hire the liberal arts kid right out of school with no summer internship.
  • Peace Corps Masters of Public Administration at MIIS: Peculiar program but combining study with Peace Corps just seems logical.

Other ideas? Combinations of Education, Business, Journalism? No, I’m not going to school to learn about social media. And I’m not saying I want to go grad school right now but I like to keep the ideas stirring.

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One thought on “Graduate School is the New Undergrad”

  1. Hey Ryan, I’m a MIIS MPA alum if you have any questions. I was just like you actually, living in VT and only went back to school to get the paper so I coul get ahead. I got so much more out of it and now I work for MIIS and co-teach a course on digital media for change. I think the MPA degree is really hands on, practical and can be applied in any situation just to make orgs smarter and more effective. Good luck!!!

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