Earning a master’s degree is a worthy accomplishment. After the hard work and investment of achieving that goal, are there advantages of going through it again and earning a second master’s degree? In many cases, the answer is yes. Earning an additional master’s degree can expand your skill set, boost your current career, and open the door to new possibilities.

If, for instance, you have an MBA, earning a Master of Science in Applied Economics from Boston College builds on the business expertise learned in the former with the application of economic theory to real-world situations learned in the latter. It’s a smart career move. But not everyone is convinced it’s the right move to make.

“What I like about the program is exactly the applicability of it,” says program graduate Daniella Bolanos Misas, who currently works in debt statistics at The World Bank. “You don’t earn a second master to learn all the theory again; you earn a second masters with the mindset of what you need for your career and why you need it.”

Now is an excellent time to dig into why a second master’s degree is worth the effort, more affordable than you may think, and flexible enough to fit into your already busy schedule.

Expand Your Skill Set

The more skills and knowledge you have, the better off you are in the working world. That’s a simple equation that has never changed. In business, developing expertise in economics not only makes you a better job candidate, but it also prepares you to step into top leadership roles.

Emphasizing “reflective, people-centered, ethical decision making” in the Jesuit, Ignatian tradition, Boston College prepares students to lead in policy and government, industry, or the financial sector.

In the Boston College MS in Applied Economics program, students learn how to apply economic theory in areas such as healthcare, marketing, finance, and environmental policy.

For graduate Edmond Ryan, who decided to pursue his MSAE after retiring from 43 years in the financial services industry, the program provided a “better understanding of macroeconomics and an in-depth knowledge of data analytics.”

“I have an MBA, a CFA, and a BA in Math,” says Ryan. “Working in financial services, I found that economics provided the foundation for understanding the Macro issues involved in investment decisions.”

“My background provided me with the analytical tools to make investment decisions.” Ryan adds, “but I needed a better understanding of the economic issues that cause those decisions to be made. Since my undergraduate degree is in Math, I pursued a certification in Data Analytics.”

With a graduate degree, economists are better candidates for jobs as consultants, policy analysts, and budget analysts.

Specific Topics in an Applied Economics

The Boston College program includes courses that help prepare graduates for working in the field. Students graduate with a complete understanding of modern economic theories as well as how to apply them to solve business challenges. They include:

  • Applied macroeconomic and microeconomic theory
  • Data analysis
  • Econometrics
  • Health care economics
  • Urban and regional economics
  • Economics of banking and insurance
  • Big Data econometrics
  • Predictive analytics and forecasting

The program also focuses on ethics involving economics and public policy, as well as laws and economics.

“Right now, I am working on learning new data analysis techniques,” says Bolanos Misas, “and my profession is demanding those skills. The Macroeconomics class is 100 percent applied, and you analyze current affairs every single week, and that specifically helped me to get a different perspective on current affairs. You read the news every day, but in class, you were analyzing that news with a specific topic in mind, and that was helpful to associate new topics to the ones I already knew.”

Real-World Experience

Bolanos Misas found the studies with her professors immediately applicable to her work at the World Bank. “I was really happy to be able to interact with Can Erbil because he had the field experience of working with World Bank and also had the research and academia (experience).

One of the classes she took was financial economics with Associate Professor Michal Kowalik. It was “well worth it,” says Bolanos Misas. “You can learn about the market quite a bit from him,” she says, “because he studies the market every single day. Or take Sasha Tomic,” she adds. “He had experience in Eurostat. Having him as an advisor was great because he knew exactly why I was getting this master.”

Both Bolanos Misas and Ryan bespeak why getting a second master’s degree is worth it. There is no better way to combine in-depth study alongside personal guidance from professors who walk the talk with real-world experience.

Opening the Door to New Fields

A second master’s degree typically carries more weight with employers than job experience. It shows a commitment to developing new skills beyond what you have picked up in your current profession.

In addition to the industries mentioned above, expanding your areas of expertise also prepares you for jobs in education and research. Another advantage is enhanced communication skills.

Part of the Boston College program is not only teaching economic theories and how to apply them but also understanding how to communicate complex ideas to those who do not have an education in economics.

Earning a second master’s degree allows you to become an expert in an area that compliments what you already know from your first graduate degree and job experience. With an investment of only about a year in time and the flexibility offered through online learning, it’s an option worth considering.