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Betting on a Masters

http://www.azcentral.com/community/tempe/articles/20120906masters-degrees-fast-track.html

As a senior, it is time for me to decide if I will enter the real world and get a job or go on to grad school. The real world is a bit intimidating. Looking for a real job isn’t like looking for an internship because you are making a 3-5 year commitment not 3 months. That being said, I am tired of school. School here is exhausting and stressful, and after my internship this summer, I am convinced that a regular 9 to 5 is easier than undergrad engineering at Cornell. It seems to me like graduate school would be fairly miserable and apparently most of the country’s students agree with me. The article that is linked above addresses this issue and talks about the growing number of universities which are offering fast track master’s degrees. Here at Cornell, they offer what is called and Early Master’s of Engineering program. Basically, I could have a master’s degree with only one extra semester here. This is quite a tempting offer and could potentially help me in the future.

I was completely undecided about what to do. I don’t want to have to stay another semester, but I would like the masters. I would get a higher starting salary, but I would also lose the money that I would make working for that semester in the real world. I didn’t know how to decide, but then I took networks. I have a dominant strategy in this situation. If I don’t get the master’s, I would get a real job and start making real money, but one day in the future I might miss a promotion because I didn’t have the extra degree. If I do get the master’s, it might help me get promoted faster or get a higher starting salary, or it might not help at all. Getting the master’s is the dominant strategy here because it has the possibility of a positive payoff, but it does not have the possibility of a negative return. However, looking at not getting the master’s, it will either hurt me or not hurt me, but it can’t help me. By looking at the dominant strategy for this situation, I was able to make the decision to get the master’s.

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