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>> Undergraduate future students

How do you know you’re ready for grad school?

In the years he's been working at the W. P. Carey Career Services Center, Executive Director Joey Kimes has had the opportunity to help nearly 1,000 students figure out the next step of their professional lives. It's all part of the innovative career coaching and programming that Kimes and his team have developed at ASU's W. P. Carey School of Business.

"There are a few traits that I've noticed are really key to students being successful in taking their career dreams and aspirations and making them a reality," he says. Here, Kimes shares advice for undergraduate students who are considering a graduate degree.

Joey Kimes

Ask yourself how a master’s degree will set you apart

Before you embark on the journey to a master’s degree, you’ll want to have a good idea of what you want to study and why. What’s going to be worthwhile and meaningful to your career? “You might not necessarily know what the checkpoints are or what that destination is going to look like exactly, but know the path you want to walk,” says Kimes. Spend some time mapping out what you’d like to accomplish professionally.

If you’re feeling unsure about where you want to go next, the career coaches at the W. P. Carey Career Services Center can help you put together a plan for your future.

What interests you?

Make sure you’re passionate about what you’re studying. Being able to not just have a skill set and acumen in business, but being truly interested in the ins and outs of what's going on in the industries or functional areas that you are most interested in pursuing is something that helps to set you apart in the eyes of employers. You can’t fake passion.

Are you fascinated by what you’re studying? Then you’re on the right track. In a specialized business master’s program, you'll be surrounded by individuals just like you, who are ready to dive into the subject matter and brainstorm tangible ways to impact business.

Being driven to learn can be rewarding both personally and professionally.

Get ready to commit

Being prepared is essential. Understanding the kind of work you will be required to produce and the amount of time that you need to invest in grad school. The depth and scope of learning is deeper and more concentrated in a master’s program than in your undergrad experience.

“These graduate programs are intense in the best way possible,” says Kimes. “They are nine- to twelve-month sprints of curriculum, exercises, activities, and networking events,” he says. “When I think about what's made students really successful in the past, it’s their readiness to commit fully to this journey, to embrace all the elements that are coming at them, both inside of the classroom and outside of the classroom.”

Understand where you want to go, harness your interest in business, and commit to the journey.

More and better opportunities? Yes, please!

The job market is getting more competitive every year. Having a specialized business master’s degree can set you apart from other candidates and open you up to more opportunities for professional growth and progression. “At the end of the day, career outcomes are the most motivating factor when it comes to graduate degrees,” says Kimes. Whether you’re interested in changing careers or advancing in your current field, W. P. Carey’s specialized master’s degrees are designed to help you reach your goals.

Are you ready for the challenge? Get an early start through W. P. Carey Forward — a graduate education discovery and recruitment program for undergraduate students throughout Arizona State University.