Postgraduate Degree in the United States: How and Where to Maximize the Value of a Postgraduate Degree in the United States

A postgraduate degree in the United States: For years, this has been the alternative for many students to improve their social and cultural capital in the competitive market of knowledge. The goal is to get a well-paid position in the management / direction of the company or in the state apparatus, whose access is reserved for those who have proven their socializing and learning skills with the world’s elites. But in this fight for excellence, there are more and more competitors. In a globalized world, the rules for social ascent have become complicated:

postgraduate degree in the United States
University as the peak of meritocracy / Image: @Peter (CC)


The well-off classes know that now it is much more difficult to replicate their living conditions, that elite positions will be fewer in the future, and those who are not situated in the right strata will have a hard time. Therefore, they are educating their children to learn languages with the correct accent and to be trained in elite centers that allow them access to spaces that will ensure them prestige and relationships. Esteban Hernández. “La guerra de la clases en la educación”. El Confidencial


In this scenario, full of uncertainty and tension, it is normal for many ITAM alumni to consider completing their studies with a postgraduate degree in the United States or other Western countries in order to compete, in better conditions, in a labor market that demands a high level of international integration. Although the option of pursuing a Master’s degree or Ph.D in the neighboring country is, at first, very attractive, often the costs are too high and the benefits are far from clear.


Click on the photo to visit Simon Business School’s website


Dr. Andrew Ainslie, dean of the University of Rochester Business School, led a conversation with ITAM students that provided information about postgraduate opportunities in the United States. Dr. Ainslie was joined by Diego Domínguez, current head of ITAM’s Department of Economics and who received his Ph.D from the University of Rochester.


Postgraduate Degree in the United States: Academic Offering and Diversity at Rochester


Dr. Ainslie described the basics about the postgraduate degree in the United States and then concentrated on the program at Rochester’s business school, known as the Simon Business School. A Master’s degree in Economics, a Ph.D. in Economics, an MBA and a Ph.D. in business administration make up the heart of their postgraduate degrees.



All of them differ in duration, academic content, cost and general admission requirements.


Postgraduate Degree in the United States: It’s Time for an MBA


Dr. Ainslie believes that it is a great time to get a postgraduate degree in the United States, especially in one of the areas of greatest demand, the Master’s degree in Business Administration:


“The MBA has changed a lot during the past 25 years. There are too many programs now, which has led to competition, in both price and scholarships, as well as offering greater value to students.”

Aerial view of the Rochester Campus / Image: Courtesy of Simon Business School


Dr. Ainslie acknowledged that interest in studying in the United States has declined due to current political tensions. However, the University of Rochester has focused on offering substantial financial aid for its foreign students. Its Master’s degree offers scholarships and financial aid, which have contributed to lessening its economic impact, so that the real cost of these studies has decreased by nearly 50%.

Companies around the world, he said, continue to value the MBA, which is why a majority of students receive a considerable salary increase at the end of the program. It is an aspect that differentiates it from the classic Master’s programs, where there is not a significant change in salaries at the end of the program. An important thing is that universities expect students to have about five years of previous work experience to be considered for admission to their programs for managers, administrators or CEOs of various corporations.


What programs have the greatest value?


Dean Ainsslie believes that, considering the costs and benefits of these programs, it is not the best time to get a Master’s degree in economics at one of the U.S. universities.


“Many people find a Master’s degree attractive because it lasts only one year and you can enter the program without work experience, but it doesn’t make much sense because the salary does not improve substantially.”
Andrew Ainslie. Dean of the Simon Business School


Dr. Ainslie suggested that students be patient, get training in their professional field and begin an MBA or a Ph.D. program when they feel sufficiently prepared. According to their studies, the Master’s degree in economics does not generate significant differences in graduates’ salaries. And the costs are no small matter: a 12-month Master’s degree costs, on average, about $45,000, without taking into consideration housing and living expenses. The total cost of achieving such an ambitious goal often exceeds a million pesos, as long as the exchange rate does not get worse.

If we talk about full academic training in the field of teaching, business or senior civil service, the head of the Simon Business School believes that the most attractive alternative for a postgraduate degree in the United Staes is the Ph.D. in economics or business administation. A Ph.D. in economics is a very rigorous and mathematical program. The Ph.D. in business administration is more diversified, covering all the branches of knowledge, where a wide variety of students, from psychologists to economists, come together.

This program has many economic advantages because candidates receive a stipend, in addition to scholarships and financial aid. Dr. Ainslie closed his talk insisting on the key point of his presentation: The most important thing is to be patient in searching for the right school and program and thus getting the most out of the postgraduate degree.



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