Discover the top five returns on postgraduate study that are more than just a pay rise.
Whether you want to change your career direction, build on your skill set or create a valuable network of connections, postgraduate study will give you the tools you need for the job you want. In fact, postgraduate students quickly find out how wide-ranging the benefits they get from returning to study can be.
#1: You'll build your professional network
Learning the professional and technical skills that she could apply to a wide range of industries, and building a valuable network, were two benefits that Georgina Lewis found in her Master of Design Futures.
Georgina designed furniture for eight years before becoming frustrated with a lack of opportunity and researching further study.
“I hadn’t valued further education. I didn’t place value on academia or tertiary qualifications because I thought my future would be more hands-on training,” she says.
Since graduating, Georgina has gone on to work in service design roles for the Victorian Government’s Department of Premier and Cabinet and currently, The Smith Family.
She says the skills she learned at RMIT are so transferable and she has been able to work in specialised fields she’s truly passionate about.
Developing a deeper connection to her work has left Georgina with no regrets about taking on a Master's, and she counts creating a rich professional network among her proudest achievements of postgraduate study.
“My course classmates and I are now all working in spaces that didn’t exist a year ago. We’re working in quite new areas of business so we support each other through that journey, share information and sometimes do projects for fun.”
#2: You'll prepare for a flexible career
Changing the trajectory of an existing career is another common reason to undertake postgraduate study.
For Stephen Carlton, studying a Juris Doctor at RMIT marked a complete career turnaround. The program took him out of teaching and into a rewarding career in corporate law.
“What got me through study was that I enjoyed it immensely. It was interesting, challenging and had all the flavours required to keep me motivated,” Stephen says.
The real experience of working on law reform projects with industry partners, including the RMIT Centre for Innovative Justice and the Mental Health Legal Centre, combined with the fact that many of the lectures were delivered by practicing lawyers, was a particularly enriching side to Stephen’s study.
“I wasn’t just coming to sit in a classroom and be lectured at; there were practicing lawyers as well as academic staff, and that mix is really important. There are so many things you can do with a Juris Doctor and my world opened up when I graduated.”
#3: You'll get industry exposure before you graduate
RMIT’s postgraduate students acquire skills through a range of learning methods, including Work Integrated Learning, industry-supported projects, global study experiences, placements and internships.
Master of Business Information Technology student Chisanga Joshua (CJ) Chanda says working on industry projects in his postgraduate study at RMIT helped to prepare him for the future.
“The experience of collaborating with small teams on real-life scenarios and industry case studies helped me understand how important emotional intelligence is in the workplace.
CJ isn’t the only student to have benefitted from industry-supported projects in his postgraduate degree. Tanyya Varshney, Master of Data Science student, says the program taught her the skills and theory she needed to become a data scientist while building her practical industry experience simultaneously.
“The best thing about RMIT is its industry connections. Working on a project based on solving real-world problems led me to getting an internship at ANZ,” says Tannya.
#4: You'll develop the skills in hot demand
Problem-solving, communication and teamwork, and the flexibility and curiosity to keep learning new things are the top skills in demand for the future of work.
Dr Ling Mei Cong, Deputy Dean of Learning and Teaching, says RMIT students are exposed to a strong ethos of collaboration and leadership.
“In almost every subject there are group assessments and we emphasise teamwork because that’s very important, regardless of whether you’re going to be a leader or a team player,” Lin says.
“Our students find that a postgraduate degree helps them to move faster and be more competitive in industry.”
#5: You'll set yourself up in the long run
Through the development of in-demand skills, regardless of career path, postgraduate study is a genuine personal investment that will have benefits for many years to come.
Dr Cameron Duff from the School of Management says the long-term benefits of postgraduate study range from increasing your ability to tackle challenges, to getting opportunities for career advancement and enrichment through expanded networks.
“You don’t just do a Master's or PhD because you hope for a higher salary, although that might be something that’s on your mind. Postgraduate students have a very strong sense of the value and benefit of it being money well spent. They expect to have better jobs than they might have otherwise had, and they know the experience and personal growth will be rewarding as well.”
Acknowledgement of country
RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer