4 Reasons to Go to Grad School: An Addendum

by / ⠀Startup Advice / March 20, 2012

I previously laid out (part one, part two, part three) why I chose to start a business rather than go to graduate school. Here are reasons why you might still choose grad school.

Even though I made the decision to starting a business rather than pursue graduate school, there are still solid reasons to go and get that degree.

Education has, time and time again, shown proven payoffs. Even if it takes a long time, the educated get ahead over the long run. Like I said in Part 1, it can take at least 10 years before breaking after paying for the degree and lost wages. But 10 years over a 40 year career is not bad at all.

Here are some reasons why you might still choose graduate school. Remember, you can still start a business in school or after graduation. You just might be poorer.

1) You Like School
I like learning. I don’t particularly care for school. But you may love school. Structured programs, collegial discussions, papers and exams. A learned instructor or professor guiding the class. The stability of a curated curriculum, and drinking box-wine with your classmates. For some people, getting their BA may have been the best six years of their lives. But all jokes aside, life is about having fun, doing what you love, and striving for success. If you love school, go for it.

2) You are Pursuing a Specific Career
There are certain careers where you need advanced education, and generally for good reason. If you want to be a doctor, lawyer, or researcher, among other fields, a graduate degree is a necessary ticket into the game. Even if you are startup-minded, if you want to work in one of those fields, you have to get the degree first.

3) Someone Else is Paying for it, and They Won’t Give You Cash Instead.
If you are one of the lucky ones to be working for a company that has a strong tuition reimbursement program, you got a huge scholarship, or you have a rich generous relative, it makes the argument to go to grad school stronger. You should still compare it against the alternatives, but it would be hard to fault you for embracing your good fortune.

4) You’re in it or the Long Game, and Prefer Stability
Historically, graduate school pays. And historically, entrepreneurship carries a host of risks that being employed does not worry about. If your preferred game plan is slow and steady, there will always be jobs for those most educated. Regardless of all the anecdotes, the unemployment rate for people with higher degrees is consistently lower than for those with a four-year degree only.

Starting a business is a tremendous experience, and I recommend everyone start some enterprise at least once, no mater how small the scale. Graduate school and entrepreneurship are not mutually exclusive. There is no law that says you can’t do both.

At the end of the day, decisions are personal, and you have to do what works for you. Living your life is not about money. Money is just a tool, a very useful tool. Stay guided by your passions and you’ll always be on the right track.

Marc Brodeur just wants everyone to be awesome. His first company, Brode, the first professional drinking companion, makes a special vitamin that helps promote proper hydration and detox when drinking alcohol. Follow him on Twitter and Tumblr.

About The Author

Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson is Co-Founder of Under30Experiences, a travel company for young people ages 21-35. He is the original Co-founder of Under30CEO (Acquired 2016). Matt is the Host of the Live Different Podcast and has 50+ Five Star iTunes Ratings on Health, Fitness, Business and Travel. He brings a unique, uncensored approach to his interviews and writing. His work is published on Under30CEO.com, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Huffington Post, Reuters, and many others. Matt hosts yoga and fitness retreats in his free time and buys all his food from an organic farm in the jungle of Costa Rica where he lives. He is a shareholder of the Green Bay Packers.