Cost and Benefit Analysis of Life Decisions

By Lu


One of my regrets to date was not continuing my Mandarin studies during my childhood. The environment then is not conducive for progression. While I know enough Chinese to get through with everyday life, I harbored some hint of envy when my friends could read out those poems of ancient Chinese philosophers. Surprisingly, I was adept at hiding my inept mastery to a level that people assumed that I’m educated from a Chinese literate school until I revealed otherwise. Still, it is always better to be truly fluent at any language than to just scratch its surface. The benefits of being able to speak and write in Mandarin nowadays seemed so much larger than it was a decade ago, with the attraction that China had now.

On the other hand, I’m swaying away from my decision to go to graduate school. Using US graduate education cost (that might appeals to me, ie a MBA etc) as a basis, I find the price tag of $100,000 not to be worth it. Although I might bite my own words in the next few years, is the additional $100,000 student debt be worth the degree? It will take some time for the graduate to repay the debt and it’s evident that there is a higher education bubble going on right now. The US government been pushing credits for its citizens to attend college and college tuition are rising as well.

Right now, looking at the prospect of losing 2 years of wage to attend graduate school and the further year(s) of wage lost to repay student loans, it is unlikely for me to opt for graduate studies unless I received any scholarship or sponsorship to cover my studies. I suggest learning a new skill as a better solution to overcome the additional degree advantage. It’s quicker to learn and often allow quick adaptation to in demand skills the market needed.