Is NOW the Right Time?

With all the changes that we’ve experienced as a global community over the last year, you might be wondering if now is the right time for some personal or professional changes. Specifically, if now is the right time to go back to school and earn your master’s degree.

While the thought of balancing graduate classes with the rest of your responsibilities might seem nerve-wracking, there are actually plenty of reasons that make now the right time to take the leap and earn your degree! Here are the top four:

  1. Hybrid and Online Courses
    One side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is that most college courses are now available online. At Rowan, we have options for fully online courses as well as our Hybrid Flexible (HyFlex)Michelle Martinez option, which lets you choose when to take your courses virtually and when to come into the classroom. Many of Rowan’s degrees, like our Master of Business Administration, offer multiple formats, giving you the chance to choose how you want to study. With the opportunity to take courses online, you can start your master’s degree from the comfort of your own home. Or, you can opt for an in-person experience in a safe, socially distanced environment.

    Michelle Martinez, a current MBA candidate and the inaugural recipient of Rohrer College of Business MBA Fellow in Innovation and Impact, sees the benefits of online and hybrid class models. She says, “I take two classes at a time, which means I'll take longer to graduate, but I like the pace. Online classes allow me to be a mom and a person, still.” With online courses, you can create the learning experience you want, while balancing all aspects of your life.

  2. Be a Part of the “New Majority”
    We often think of graduate students as learners who have just earned their bachelor’s degrees and moved onto their master’s right away. However, this isn’t true: learners ages 18-24 who live on-campus and are enrolled as full-time students only make up 15% of all US college students. If it’s been a little while since you were last in a classroom, that’s okay! Most students in higher education, the “New Majority,” are adult learners who work part- or full-time to support their families and often have multiple roles to fulfill. Starting your master’s degree now will mean that you’ll be surrounded by like-minded students who understand what it’s like to balance a range of responsibilities, which can help ease your transition back into school.

    kevin garveyWhen recalling the beginning of his MBA journey, Kevin Garvey, a 2020 alum and Pharmacy Manager at Omnicare, noted that “I was working a very hectic and disjointed schedule as a practicing pharmacist.  The idea of going back for my Masters seemed out of reach. I feared I would never have enough time to dedicate myself properly to my career, while also extracting meaningful skills from a business curriculum.” Garvey discovered that other students had similar circumstances and that Rowan faculty has experience leading busy professionals. “The Rowan MBA program offered several opportunities to earn the credits I needed throughout the year. This flexibility was crucial,” said Garvey.  “My first two classes were completely online, which allowed me to ease into my studies, while also maintaining the freedom I needed for my unpredictable schedule. As I grew professionally and academically, I was able to take advantage of more in-person and hybrid courses. No matter the format, I felt I was set up for success.”

    If you're already in the workforce, you may also find that the time you've spent away from school has provided you with valuable experience that you can now apply towards your master’s degree. Reflecting on her time spent out of school, Michelle says, “While taking time away from school, I was able to grow professionally into different roles. I honestly think that time away from school served as my ‘on the job training,’ so to say.” This out-of-classroom time may have provided you with valuable skills that you can now put towards your degree.

  3. Change Careers or Grow Your Career Path
    A master’s degree is a great way to either change your career path or to move up in your current field. Rowan offers programs like our Master in Business Administration that can help get you there by opening new doors. Your master’s degree can allow you to move into a field or position that you find more personally rewarding and enjoyable, present the opportunity to increase your income, and even Jordan Howellexpose you to careers that you’ve never considered. On top of all that, career change or growth can make you feel more personally and professionally accomplished, giving you a sense of confidence. You might also find that companies are changing the ways that they go about their business.

    Dr. Jordan Howell, an associate professor of sustainable business at Rowan, was already a tenured Ph.D. when he decided it was the right time to pursue his MBA. Dr. Howell says, “the total disruption of the pandemic has really given folks and firms the opportunity to reset and come back with a better system.”

    Earning an MBA, or another graduate degree, can allow you to learn the new systems that companies are using, setting you up for growth and success. Michelle also remarks, “Working while getting my MBA has been wonderful for helping me turn academic theory into action-oriented steps. It's been very useful as I plan out my next steps professionally. I also enjoy how engaged my professors are and how willing they are to introduce me to other connections. I have found a world of support at Rowan and that is even more than I could have hoped for.”

  4. Learn About Current Events and Issues Within Your Field
    The world is always changing, and that means new events and issues are always coming to the forefront in every field. 2020, in particular, saw a great deal of change that’s carrying into 2021. Starting your master’s degree now is a great way to learn about what the current events and issues prominent in your field are and how to best address and approach them. Your graduate degree can also be a way to look at old problems from new perspectives. Says Dr. Howell, “MBA programs are a great opportunity to think about familiar problems from a totally new perspective. In my case, I was really interested in learning how to make better business cases for environmental changes.”

    Dr. Howell has completed his MBA at Rowan and is, “now enjoying the experience of how the exploratory, hands-on nature of an advanced degree can open up new avenues, professionally. It has really revitalized how I think about environmental issues and the role of businesses in both causing, and potentially solving, those problems. The knowledge I’ve gained has expanded my ability to influence change, which is a valuable asset in every industry.”

    Similarly, Michelle found the issues she was passionate about and is using her MBA studies to further her work with those issues. She says, “I found that I was passionate around issues related to gender parity and racial injustice. I am passionate about wellness. I found that I was passionate about volunteering which led me to community development finance...I knew coming into my graduate studies that I wanted to focus on community development finance as much as I could.”

    And the knowledge you gain in one master’s program often translates to a variety of professions and can give you a multi-dimensional edge in your career. Says Garvey, “The pharmacy curriculum I had previously completed mainly focused on the mastery of various health sciences, with little emphasis on anything else. It was the Rowan MBA that helped me gain exposure to training and concepts that truly set me apart in a very crowded healthcare industry.  Not only did the pursuit of an MBA help me get noticed, but it also helped me become a much more well-rounded leader and professional. I feel like I ultimately gained mastery of a skill set that so few healthcare professionals are ever introduced to.”

    Ultimately, you decide when it is the right time to pursue an advanced degree. Your education. Your career. Your time. And when you’re ready, Rowan Global has programs and course offerings to suit every schedule.

Are you interested in pursuing an advanced degree? Request information for a specific program, attend an info session, or start your application.

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