After graduating from a college or university, the question becomes whether to head into the working world or advance on to a graduate program, like earning a graduate-level business degree or pursuing a Masters in education.
Of course, with higher education, comes more expenses.
However, there is a way for an aspiring student to embrace academic accomplishments, while simultaneously watching their debt shrink.
Education and grad school especially can be viewed as long term investments for a person’s career.
Mark Wiseman is a global investment manager and business executive who currently serves as the chair of the Alberta Investment Management Corporation, one of Canada’s largest and most diversified institutional investment fund managers.
Wiseman believes all long-term investors should test their portfolios for any possibility.
Wiseman, who also sits on the board of Sinai Health in Toronto, did a full study and scenario planning for the impact of a pandemic on the portfolio at CPPIB (The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board).
Keeping a long-term perspective is important, according to Wiseman, pointing out that at CPPIB the mantra was that a quarter was defined as 25 years.
Events like the COVID-19 pandemic have certainly flipped many people’s financial plans on their heads.
While it is still early days in terms of how the economic impact of the coronavirus will play out, Wiseman’s view is there will be a tremendous amount of distress.
“This could be an opportunity of a generation,” Wiseman told Top1000Funds.com, pointing out that this time the crisis is not a problem with the financial system. “
History says when these things pass people will go to restaurants, cinemas, theatre, watch sport.
Six months after 9/11, an event where it was unsure if people would fly again, passenger travel was back to where it was before the event.”
While many grad school programs are currently offering online education, some have considered discounting tuition for incoming classes.
Savings and portfolios have also been greatly affected during these trying times, but some banks and brokers are offering leniency due to an unprecedented scenario.
These hardship situations have made for an accommodating possibility to make education happen with a greater safety netting in regards to repaying.
Work First, Learn Later
When you first come out of school, your salary will likely be at its lowest.
For a year or two, focus on saving for graduate school.
Live as economically as you can, and put away whatever money you can.
In a year or two, these savings will add up. In the end, if you get a scholarship, work while in school, or get a teaching assistant position, you may end up leaving your graduate school fund alone.
Wiseman, a former Senior Managing Director at BlackRock, Global Head of Active Equities, Chairman of its alternatives business, and Chairman of BlackRock’s Global Investment Committee, suggests an expense so suddenly out of school creates a financial uncertainty, “It just creates a cost with no expected benefit other than smoothing. And what would you hedge against? You don’t know what will show up.”
Teaching assistant positions that accompany a grad school program have seen a rise in popularity for undergraduate students seeking to balance their books while pursuing a higher degree, and professors have seen the benefit of a helping hand while promoting advisory roles for themselves.
Schools have a strong business interest in attracting and retaining high-achieving students.
When you’re researching programs, keep an eye out for whether merit scholarships are available.
If you can’t find anything on a school’s website, call or email the admissions office to ask.
Even if you’re already accepted to a program, you can call and ask whether merit scholarships are available.
Be sure to find out whether these scholarships are renewable.
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