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Should I Take a Postgraduate Degree in Singapore?

 

Are you stuck with a job that you feel offers little upside in life? Or perhaps, getting to work each day is already a dread by itself? One idea that you may be toying around with is the possibility of switching your work environment – permanently – by learning something entirely different in your Masters.

But would taking a Masters in another field help you in your career, or simply put you further back? More importantly, what is the cost benefit analysis if you do intend to pursue it?

Here are two important factors that you may like to consider before taking the plunge.

  • Cost of taking a Master’s Degree
  • Potential benefits

 

Cost of a Master’s Degree

Exhibit 1: Accounting, Finance and Economics Masters in Singapore

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Source: Universities’ website – most recent tuition fees, Compiled by DollarsAndSense.sg

On average, a master’s degree in the field of accounting, finance and economics costs about $39,500 and $36,700 for SMU and NTU respectively. You will have a choice of completing these masters between 12 months (full-time: FT) to 24 months (part-time: PT). In some cases, this can even be stretched up to 48 months.

If you take an education loan, the lowest rate in the market is currently about 4.5% per annum. Assuming a loan amount of $39,500 to be repaid in 5 years, the total amount to be repaid would be $44,019. And remember, this is just for the tuition fee only.

You will also have to account for the loss of income you would incur if you pursue a full-time master’s degree. As it stands, the median gross wage inclusive of CPF contributions by employer is $45,240 per annum.

In total, over the 12-month period, your total cost will amount to about $89,259.

 

Potential benefits

Exhibit 2: Required Increase in Wage to Recoup the Cost

No. of Years to recoup tuition fees Current Median Wage Inc. CPF Required Pay Increment Multiple of Median
1 Year $45,240 $89,259 2.97x
2 Years $45,240 $44,630 1.99x
3 Years $45,240 $29,753 1.66x
4 Years $45,240 $22,315 1.49x
5 Years $45,240 $17,852 1.39x

There are many ways to calculate the lifetime value of a master’s degree but for the purpose of this article, we will take a simplistic approach to it.

In order to earn back the cost incurred over a 5-year period, you will have to obtain a wage increment of 1.39x the current median wage right after your graduation. That works out to about $4500 a month.

What are the possibilities of that happening? This is a question you have to ask yourself, or perhaps the university you are thinking of enrolling in.

 

Should I take a postgraduate degree in Singapore?

Unless you truly dread the current industry that you are in, or require an excuse to escape from the corporate world, pursuing a postgraduate degree full-time in an entirely different field might not make the most sense from a cost-benefit point of view. Doing it on a part-time basis could also be an alternative. This way, you continue earning an income while secretly plotting an exit from the job that you are currently in.

In recent years, with degree and masters qualifications growing on trees, an employee with relevant work experience could be more sought after and appreciated by companies. Just simply having the masters qualification is no certainty to landing you your dream job.

If you have any other thoughts or experiences with postgraduate studies, feel free to share your views on our Facebook page.

 

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