I am writing this post to provide some personal experience and advice to current undergraduate and perhaps school leavers who will soon be entering a university. It is probably is good idea to get these random bits out of the way before I write anything else: If the information in this post is nothing new to you, good on ya! I didn't know things are like this during my undergrad years. My parents and most of my friends still had the relatively outdated "higher degree = job" concepts. I am just hoping people who read this do not walk into the situation I am at now I am based in Australasia so things may be a bit different in other places I may come across as rude to certain individuals, that is definitely not intended, just poor choice of words which I am trying to improve Tl;dr, scroll to the bottom for my advices ________________________________________________________________________________________ I am a graduate with a Master of Science degree with First Class Honours from a University which is among the top 100 in QS world rankings (we can discuss the insignificance of university rankings later). After literally pulling all my hair out to get my thesis done, and falling asleep like 5 times per day reading papers from academic journals, I came to the realization that I will not enjoy an academic career. It is not like I have anything against people who do academic research as part of their jobs, it just isn't my cup of tea. Having made that decision, I decided to dive head first into the job market. Knowing I have little work experience aside from tutoring and working in the labs of the company that sponsored my scholarships, I will be targeting entry-level jobs, and "graduate programs." Since my Bachelor's degree is inter-faculty - my courses cover mainly physics and electrical engineering, I applied for jobs looking for electrical/telecom (my specialization related closely to fibre optics) engineers. This is where I found my problems. With the current job market, companies are absolutely thrilled with choices from thousands of graduates spat out from top universities around here (just a rough idea, 9 universities are ranked in the top 100 across AU+NZ, our combined population is around 28M). Now, lets say you work in HR of a telecom company and you are looking through thousands of applicants for, say, 20 positions for telecom engineers. Why would you choose someone with a MSc degree with little industry experience over hundreds of other applicants with BE in electrical or telecom engineering and have internship experience with some major telecom companies? Every time I receive a rejection letter (assuming I get one, most companies here don't bother now, too many of these to send to I guess), I just think about the above question and shake my head because I can't find an answer that I can convince myself with. Speaking about my MSc, I have asked around and looks like this is what a lot of people, including recruiters think of when they see someone with a Master's degree applying for entry level or graduate positions: This is person had horrible undergraduate grads and is hiding it behind a better grade of the Master's degree, This person did this degree to get their residency (apparently some overseas students get acquire Australia PR by doing specific master's degrees), or This person just doesn't have a clue on what to do with their life. We are argue the validity of these perceptions but that is not the point. When recruiters are buried neck deep with job applications, just a single line they don't like (regardless if the dislike is justifiable) is enough to make them stick the CV into a shredder. Well, let's talk about how I got myself into this mess. Towards the end of high school, I was doing very well, I am discovering my interest in physical sciences and am able to grasp concepts very quickly. I have ironed out my problems with using English as a second language (some may disagree...) and even my grades in the compulsory English literature courses are popping to the upper quartile. I was even enjoying some success in playing sports. Like some teenagers, I thought I knew everything, including what I want to do in my career. I wanted to be an academic in physics. I didn't even bother exploring any other options. During one presentation I attended in the university for perspective students, the coordinator of the inter-faculty degree (mentioned above) did an excellent job to promote this degree. It includes most of the core physics courses and engineering courses to keep options open. I thought, sure, why not. So I enrolled in that degree. My studies in my undergrad times were pretty smooth, I was getting scholarships, summer research opportunities, and good grades. I wasn't enjoying uni life as much I thought I would. My friends have warned me my degree specializes a very specific industry and research area. I have went to careers fairs with people telling me a Master's degree is useless because they look for experience. I ignored it all, despite having thought about working outside an academic institution since my junior year. I didn't do more research on what sort of graduate companies wanted, and I didn't even apply for internships. So here I am, having been applying for jobs for over half a year, not a single offer so far, two interviews, most don't even bother to send a rejection letter. There are a lot of factors and people that made me wanted to pursue an academic career and more or less prevented discouraged me from acquiring industry experience during my undergraduate studies, but in the end it is my responsibility to make the right decisions for my future. After all these walls of text, I recommend the following to current undegrads and relevant high school students, especially those who are considering careers outside academia: Keep an open mind to your future. Things change over time, people change, don't close off your roads If you want to study something multidisciplinary, think about the degree name, can people get a good idea of what you do without having to look up on the name of the degree? If not, consider double majors, minors, conjoints etc. You may have to deal with busy schedules, class clashes, higher fees, but think of it as an insurance If you have an idea which companies you may want to work for, search about them, look at their job listings, see what degrees and experience they are looking for. If you are still not sure, email or call them and ask, you have nothing to lose by doing that. Do internships While parents always (well, almost always anyway) try their best to give the best advice. It is still possible that their experience and concepts are outdated. My parents want me to do PhD ever since i was in high school, simple from a case they heard about someone who didn't get a promotion for not having a higher degree (can someone comment on that? I find this bizarre even for days before higher education was popularized) Nothing in this post is new in this forum but I really don't want future graduates falling into this hole I am in now.