Graduation looms around the corner, and with it stands your graduate school decision

Many of you candidates to Fisher’s graduate programs will complete your undergraduate degree and, if you find yourself reading this blog, you likely will have a decision to make soon.  While you freed yourself the more technical aspects of the application process, now looms weighing the different qualities of each program you were admitted to.  Friends and family exclaim about this step, the “exciting” one.  While I felt excited about choosing one year ago, I also felt intimidation about the weight of my decision.  Weighing the pros and cons of each university and their implications, I will explain a few questions I asked myself to help paint a clearer picture

What knowledge to I want to obtain from the program?  This question helped me to compare differences in curriculum.  I ultimately landed on Ohio State with their data analytics component.  While other programs provided this same perk, I also found myself attracted to the freedom of electives at OSU which provided me the opportunity to explore interests in Finance too.  Other programs offer specialization, such as assurance or valuation paths, in their MAcc programs but I felt Ohio State provided the best fit to tailor a program specifically to my career goals.

How will the program impact my career goals?  I did not have an exact idea of long-term aspirations going into the Master of Accounting program, but I did know that I wanted to begin my career in public accounting.  Writing down any thoughts like this and a few potential long-term interests might help build on evaluating the curriculum of a program, and how it will benefit your career path.  I tailored my electives at Ohio State to provide exposure to Finance concepts and skills through exploring my interest in the Financial Services industry.  Additionally, I tailored most of my accounting coursework to specific interests in assurance.

Where do I want the program to help me network?  I did not have a clear picture of a location that I wanted to begin my career in at the time I made my decision.  For this factor, Ohio State provided the benefit of a great alumni network spanning across the nation (and globe).  However, other universities I considered provided alternate ties to one or a few specific cities where graduates tended to begin their careers.  This is not to say that you will only be an attractive candidate in those cities, but that a pipeline benefit may exist if you already have a strong preference.  Researching the placement of students from graduate programs at the universities you consider will help you understand these opportunities.

Making note of these factors creates a healthy selection process that will likely leave you comfortable and confident in your choice.  I am always a fan of writing factors out to help visualize some of the differences between programs, especially larger administrative differences like prerequisites and credits or other completion requirements.  Hopefully, considering these options will help you come to a conclusion about where to continue your education and allow you to enjoy the final few weeks of your undergraduate career!