Exciting news! I have been accepted into the Masters in Nonprofit Administration program at University of San Francisco. I will be making the move from San Diego up to the Bay Area, where I grew up and where most of my family is. I have lived in San Diego for nine years and have made many great friendships down here, but it is time for me to be closer to my family and truly begin settling down.
There is a big debate about the necessity of grad school for nonprofit professionals right now. There are numerous experts explaining the reasons why nonprofit leaders don’t need graduate level degrees. Because the nonprofit sector is so experience based, instead of skill based as many other fields are (business, law, teaching, etc), people claim that through experience, networking, and confidence one can obtain her dream job.
The hard truth of the matter is that more and more nonprofit employers are hoping for advanced degrees when looking for their next leadership. Of the job postings I look at for leadership positions, almost all recommend a Masters to apply. Now, I completely understand the argument that it’s all about what you’ve done and who you know. Absolutely – that can work for many people. But I would not say that getting a Masters is a waste of time or money. If you get a Masters that is highly specialized for the nonprofit sector, and focuses on practical tips for the working world, I feel that it’s time and money well spent. And that’s exactly what I looked for in my ideal program… and found it in the USF program.
Everyone I spoke to in the nonprofit field recommended working 5-10 years before entering grad school… and I totally agree with that. That’s just long enough to catch the bug and know that you’ll be in this sector forever.
I got my MS in Nonprofit Management last year, and it was a great experience! I loved all the classes, and my nerdy excitement over the fundraising classes is how I figured out this is what I’m meant to do with my life. I’m only a few years out of college myself (graduated in 2006) so I can’t say yet if it was a “necessary” degree for my career. But it was not at all a waste of time – I took some leadership and management classes too, which are great skills to have no matter what career you have.
Thanks so much for your input! I’m in the Bay Area for a couple of days right now and I’ve been hearing more and more people familiar with my specific program and everyone has good things to say. My opinions on how the program can work with potential jobs seem to keep being validated. I’m excited!
Go fundraising!! 😀
NC, are you on Twitter? If you’re not, I strongly suggest joining! There are a lot of us fundraising/newbie blogger peeps on there! Lots of great resources… I’m @NonProfit_Meg – find me!
I am on Twitter @chapincole; it’s kind of a mixture of my blog and personal activities, though! I agree that there are tons of resources on there! I get a lot more out of Twitter than I ever imagined I would! I found you and added you!! 🙂
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