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HR & EDUCATION | Contributed Content, Singapore
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Dr Xia Zhi Qiang

Do graduate programmes still matter?

BY DR XIA ZHI QIANG

In the face of a fast growing economy, we are presented with an interesting conundrum in the role which education has.

On one hand, statistics from the US Bureau of Statistics have shown greater earnings for people who have graduate degrees and beyond. Certain studies have touched on the other side of the argument, citing that graduate programmes don’t prepare students for the rigours of a professional environment.

As far as Singapore having a global reputation for having some of the best universities in the world, not all Singapore graduate programmes are made equal. To embark on a graduate programme after years in school is a concern for many in missing out on building a solid resume and career.

In my own career journey, I’ve seen people from varying educational, financial, and professional backgrounds undergo their choice of graduate programmes, and there are some strong merits to consider.

I believe that having the right kind of graduate programme, to fit the professional requirements that will make good career and financial sense is something everyone needs to consider. A report done by Forbes reveals a correlation between the potential earnings that certain fields and their respective graduate programmes can afford.

Though your mileage may vary depending on the chosen field, there are certain professions and career paths that are only afforded with accreditation through graduate degrees.

There is more assistance and help around you to aid in your continued education than you might realise. Making the choice to go through with a graduate programme puts you in a position where you have access to various resources the university provides.

You will be able to get advice from lecturers and your course mates, as well as alumni support and specific company and industry partners by being in the university and graduate programme. There are companies who believe in a strong learning culture and do provide financial assistance for their employees looking to upgrade themselves.

Education is a lifelong journey, and I feel that often times, when we weigh the cost and benefit of the vast choices of undergraduate and graduate programmes available, we shouldn’t look at it in linear fashion. Experience in the workforce, in your particular field will allow you to understand the professional demands and requirements and make an informed choice in perspective to pursue a graduate programme.

With rapidly changing job and career prospects, the level of Singapore graduate programmes have stepped up providing more meticulous specialisation, and to address future challenges. I hope this sheds greater insights as you chart exciting courses heading into the new year and beyond.

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.

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Dr Xia Zhi Qiang

Dr Xia Zhi Qiang

Dr Xia is currently the Director of Graduate Programs at Nanyang Technopreneurship Center, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), overseeing the Master of Science Technopreneurship and Innovation programs. He joined NTU in 2004 to serve in the China Strategy Group (President’s Office). Dr Xia also serves as President of International Council for Small Business (Singapore).

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