Three Things to Look for in a Graduate Program When You Work Full-Time
In the business of fashion, or really any industry, a graduate degree can do wonders to enhance your existing skillset and support your career trajectory; the problem is, who has the time to go back to school? Actually, a lot of working professionals do—you just have to know what to look for in a graduate program to make it worth your while. Here are three key factors to research when you sift through your options.
1. Convenient class times and format options. This may sound obvious, but it's crucial that the graduate program you ultimately choose works with your already hectic schedule. Ask an admissions counselor about when classes meet; what time during the week? Are evening courses available? And if on-campus learning just won't work for you, inquire about online formats. Just be sure to clarify if a school's online program is fully online or if some in-person field experience is required. (At LIM, for example, we offer evening courses for all four of our Master of Professional Studies (MPS) graduate degrees and fully online formats for two of them.)
2. Skills you can apply immediately. Take some time to research the courses and the goals of each program you're considering, keeping in mind that a results-oriented approach and a functional curriculum—one that teaches practical industry skills—will serve you very well as someone who is already working full-time. The sooner you are able to apply what you're learning in the classroom to your current role, the sooner your employer will notice the positive impact you're having on the company. That's why LIM's graduate programs teach students to think critically, translate data into insight, allocate resources, and so on; we want our students to see a return on their investment right away. (Plus, if you're able to prove how your graduate experience can benefit your company's bottom line, you may want to see if your employer offers tuition reimbursement to help with the cost!)
3. A helpful, hands-on staff. When you start communicating with graduate admissions counselors, pay attention to the kinds of details they provide and how responsive they are to your questions. What you're looking for is a staff that truly values working professionals and is supportive of your unique needs throughout the process. If the programs their school offers really are work-life friendly, they'll be happy to tell you about other students' experiences, your financial aid options and career guidance opportunities, their dedicated faculty, and more. That first impression can tell you a lot about the kind of experience you'll have once you're enrolled.
On December 15, LIM College is hosting a Graduate Information Session here in NYC, in case you're interested in learning more about our four MPS programs: Fashion Marketing, Fashion Merchandising & Retail Management, Global Fashion Supply Chain, and Visual Merchandising. We'd love to see you there and answer any questions you may have about earning an MPS from LIM while you continue to work. Register below!