why go for a master's

I had once stumbled into the office of a friend of mine who was an HR in a company that I was working in. I saw him sifting through resumes. He had around a hundred of them on his table. He further mentioned that he had several hundred more in his hard drive. I instantly framed the opinion that probably he was on some kind of a mass recruitment drive. He proved me wrong in a few seconds by mentioning that this was a part of his daily job.

This is unfortunately true about private sector in India, and to a lesser extent in other corners of the world. There is a massive amount of competition for jobs. For some of the good jobs in top MNC companies, the competition is even more fierce. Consequently, the need to differentiate and distinguish oneself is rather important. Ideally speaking you want to be the first to be hired, and the last to be fired.

Consequently, it is always beneficial to have that little bit "extra". A Master's degree is one modest effort to gain that little bit "extra". It's effect is not as pronounced as a Ph.D. Nonetheless, it does help to differentiate a resume. It is not a resume that a HR manager will throw out at the first glance.

Furthermore, in a Master's program students can typically specialize in a certain discipline. They can take a few advanced research oriented courses, and do two to three semesters of advanced research. This will help them get a firm grasp on their area of interest, and will bring them in touch with state of the art technology. Instead of targeting generic companies, they can look at companies that specialize in their area of interest. Their chances of entry into such companies will be significantly higher.

Master's is also a very good stepping stone to doing a Ph.D. A lot of candidates are not sure if they want to pursue a Ph.D. A Master's can give a candidate some amount of exposure to research. The candidate can then make up his mind if he wants to carry on with a Ph.D immediately or return to academia several years later.