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Career Advancement Opportunities: Is a Master’s Degree Necessary?

In my humble opinion, I do not believe that a master’s is necessary for career advancement… but it definitely helps in achieving it!

First, let me get this out of the way: everyone’s idea of success is different. Mine is either reaching a high position within a communications firm, agency, or within the marketing department of a major company, or running my own agency. In other words, I want to be knowledgeable and skillful enough to make good decisions that can reinforce the relationships between people and a brand.

A few years ago, when I started looking into where I would eventually like to end up in my career, I realized that most people in that position not only worked hard, but also received a master’s degree or more. I’m a huge believer in doing everything I can to get what I want in life, and earning a master’s degree was something I could definitely control. To me, there are so many people with incredible talent - and I’ve met and worked with quite a few! I knew that if I truly wanted to compete with top talent, I’d have to arm myself with higher education for better career advancement opportunities.

If you want my advice, I highly recommend doing some career soul searching and try to picture yourself at the height of your career. Ask yourself where you want to be and what you want to do. I also asked myself how I would use my degree within my career, which I realize is pretty vague, but helpful nonetheless.

Needless to say, having a successful career is important to me. Currently I am a social media analyst. When people ask me what I do, I normally respond with “I play online all day,” which isn’t entirely false. I love what I do, and I know that this is something I won’t want to give up any time soon. Even with the long nights and tough readings, I knew going back to school was the right decision.

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Eileen Perez is a student in Purdue’s online Master of Science in Communication degree program. The program can be completed in just 20 months and covers numerous topics critical for advancement in the communication industry, including crisis communication, social media engagement, focus group planning and implementation, survey design and survey analysis, public relations theory, professional writing, and communication ethics.

About the Author

Eileen Perez is a Miami native who lives for creativity and is a sucker for good commercials. Since earning her undergraduate degree from Florida State University in 2011, she has immersed herself in paid social media, and has developed the creative social media strategies for many accounts, ranging from indie films to former film and TV stars. Some of her favorite or proudest moments include running a live YouTube AMA for Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll and Bill Courtney. She is currently a member of the social media team at an advertising agency in Boston, where she develops paid and earned social media strategies for her clients in the automotive industry while working on completing her BS in Communications online at Purdue University. Outside of work, Eileen considers herself to be a "NASA nerd" and was awarded social media credentials to attend a SpaceX/NASA launch at Cape Canaveral in Florida, where she witnessed the Dragon Capsule/Falcon 9 launch for CRS6 in April of 2015.

*The views and opinions expressed are of the author and do not represent the Brian Lamb School of Communication.