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5 Ways to Accelerate Your Master’s Degree ROI

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July 20, 2017

A graduate program like the Hospitality & Tourism Management (HTM) Master’s Program at San Diego State University is much more than a set of classes with graded assignments; it’s an investment you make to better your skills, career, and life. While a master’s degree is certainly an impressive credential alone, the potential for return on your investment is dependent on the steps you take to put your new degree to work for you.

ROI on a master’s degree can mean different things to different people. If you’re going by finances alone, you can calculate your break-even point and subsequent ROI based on the salary increase you are able to obtain with a master’s degree. Some might also factor in lifestyle improvements such as work-life balance, making the ROI a little less statistical and more holistic. Regardless of how you measure, you can see a greater and sooner return on your HTM master’s degree by doing these five things.

1. Promote the Achievement

“I’m always surprised at how fascinated people are with the fact that I have a master’s degree,” says HTM Master’s alum, Adam Edelman, who has risen to a director position with Hyatt since graduating from our program. “I heard a great quote along the lines of, ‘It’s hard to see the picture when you’re in the frame,’ which made me realize that it’s important to let it be known that I have that extra credential.”

Edelman adds that promoting is different from gloating. When your degree comes up in conversation, you should talk about what you learned rather than simply touting the fact that you have a master’s degree. Employers want to know how you can apply your master’s experience in the workplace.

2. Apply the Skills

Speaking of applying your master’s experience, we’d be doing a disservice to all current and prospective masters students out there if we didn’t touch on the importance of actively using the skills you learn in your graduate studies after you complete the program. When you first acquire new skills, such as running a financial report for a hotel or putting together a marketing plan for a company initiative, it’s easy to let them sit unused in your repertoire. At the HTM Master’s Program, we make a point to align our curriculum with real-life opportunities to apply the concepts we teach.

3. Leverage the Competitive Edge

Trisha Blake, another HTM Master’s alum who has gone on to lead a highly successful creative advertising agency, aptly describes the competitive edge in completing the HTM Master’s Program using sports as a metaphor.

“You have new skills that a lot of people on the market might not have,” Blake says. “It’s like you’ve been working out for 18 months, and now you’re able to run a 5-minute mile in business. All you have to do is go out and perform.”

Blake adds that it’s important to recognize that once you’ve completed the HTM Master’s Program, you’ve gained an understanding of how hospitality and tourism businesses work at the leadership level. There is no reason you can’t compete for—or at least position yourself to be able to work up to—a leadership role.

4. Keep the Momentum Going

Blake also mentions the educational momentum that the HTM Master’s Program creates. “Don’t stop with the degree,” she says. “You’ve been training your brain to seek new knowledge, and you can carry that mindset for your entire life. You should always be reading something, pursuing a new credential, or working toward your next career goal.”

Edelman echoes Blake’s sentiment, pointing to the Capstone Project as a chance to do something with far greater implications than a mere letter grade. He actually wrote an entire article on how to use your HTM Master’s Project as a career launchpad, which you can read here.

5. Break the Mold

The most prevalent theme in the HTM Master’s Program is change. We teach students how to become leaders of change—in their own lives, within their organizations, and in the business world as a whole. The reason you attend a master’s program is to set yourself apart, and that means thinking differently than the masses. HTM Master’s alum, Jimbo Roit wrote a great article on how to become an innovator, offering surprisingly simple tips for outside-the-box thinking.

Are you considering joining the HTM Master’s Program and wondering if it’s right for you? Get all the information you need in 90 seconds or less here.

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