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Financing Maxwell – ROI/Measuring the Value of a Degree

I find that the “value of a graduate degree” is definitely on the minds of prospective students.  Many of our recent “Financing Maxwell” posts focus on the financial aid offered to help make attendance possible – and we will have more of those to be sure!  But, today, I’d like to look at value of our Maxwell graduate degrees in public policy, administration and international affairs along several measures.

Career Outcomes:  There are many metrics with which to ascertain “value”. As schools we speak mostly to Career Outcomes.  And exceptional career outcomes, like we see for our Maxwell MPA and MA IR graduates, are indeed important.  Our graduates are consistently hired at high rates for the professional positions they seek (before and within 3-6 months of graduation) thanks to the rigorous preparation our programs provide, excellent reputation of our school, and strong alumni network.

2018 MPA Graduates Employment Rate

2018 MAIR Graduates Employment Rate

Our Maxwell graduates enter the job market as competitive candidates—and succeed.

Earning Potential:  But, beyond obtaining the positions of their dreams, it is also important to point out that that graduates of our programs do in fact earn increasingly higher salaries over the course of their careers. And these salaries are on the rise!

A recent NASPAA data report showed that of 430 masters’ alumni surveyed, the median reported income for 2017-18 was a full bracket higher at $55,001 – $65,000/year, than reported for AYs 2015-16 and 2016-17.  And while “money cannot buy happiness” as the saying goes, it is nice to know that any costs of earning a degree (beyond those covered by financial aid) will in fact have an impact on initial and future earnings.  This investment made to furthering career advancement does open doors to interesting and rewarding professional work! Speaking of which …

Impactful Careers:  I am reminded of a Theodore Roosevelt quote:

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing”.

I find that this quote certainly resonates with the students I work with at the Maxwell School.  Gaining the skills and knowledge needed to advance in career fields, where our graduates have real impact on policies they are passionate about is what we are all about.  At Maxwell we train the next generation of public policy leaders and change-makers! And a final metric…

Creating and Leading Change:  From the same NASPAA survey of recent alumni:

87% said their degree prepared them to lead and manage in public governance,

89% to participate in and contribute to the public policy process,

94% to communicate and interact productively with a diverse and changing workforce and citizenry,

95% to articulate and apply a public service perspective; and

In short – Make a Difference through their Work! 

I have always had a quote at the bottom of my email signature.

My first email signature quote came from a bookmark I received as a present when I started my Maxwell MPA degree. From George Eliot:  “It is never too late to be what you might have been”.  This quote reminds me that life is now, and if I am not happy where I am, its never too late to change my path.  The goal – to live a life well-lived – as Thoreau would say, deliberately and with intention.  That can be the real value of a graduate degree from Maxwell! But, it is also nice to know that the very real financial rewards are there as well.

So, this brings us to the quote at the bottom of my email signature today… [I do wonder does anyone ever notice these??] 

“There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why.”  ~William Barclay

Here’s to you  – discovering why – and finding a path to realize your full potential! Look for more Financing Maxwell posts – and the many ways we help our students manage the very real costs of a high quality education. It is within your reach!


One Comment

  1. Well said Christine! Thank you for posting.

    Warmest Regards,
    Michael Turner MPA/MAIR ‘04-06

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