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Post-grad advice for current undergrad physics student please

  1. Jun 11, 2012 #1
    Hello,
    I'm a rising junior at Notre Dame, and I'm trying decide between two (maybe three?) career paths. There are some really knowledgeable people on here, so I wanted to ask for your advice in which path I should take.
    A little background: I took physics because I've always had a fascination with science, and physics seemed most apt at feeding my interests in science. I am not, however, the most brilliant mathematician or physicist, and so I'm not going to pursue a phd in the subject. I love the material, but some of the advanced stuff starts to go over my head...
    Anyways, I've looked at options for careers for people with a BS in physics, and I've decided on two as my favorite choices:

    The first option is to teach physics in high school (I think I'm best suited to teach students older than those in middle school, but maybe I'm wrong?). My brother is currently in high school physics, and I tutor him weekly. I've tutored before, and I really like helping kids learn skills and concepts which they can apply for the rest of their lives. I also find physics to be fascinating, and, after going through my brother's whole year of physics, have decided that I want to teach because other teachers, like my brother's, teach physics in such an flat, boring way which doesn't give kids the insights into the world they should.
    My questions regarding teaching are: 1) do I need a graduate degree (it seems like I do, and I'm not against getting one). If I do, will the money I make working as a teacher pay back the cost of the degree (I am very interested in teaching, but I'm not in being burdened with lots of debt).
    2) What are the best ways to start preparing now (as a rising junior) so that when I'm a teacher approx 4 years from now I'll be able to teach decently from the get-go?
    3) Is there anything any of you as teachers of physics can tell me about what I should expect? What's great/bad about doing it?

    The second option is to work in business. I'm thinking this means getting an MBA, as well as perhaps a masters in another field to supplement it. For example, one university offers a dual-degree program where I would receive an MBA and a MS in engineering in 3 years. I really like that, as I could (hopefully) stay in science while working in business. My university also offers a program where I can start work on the MBA as a senior, allowing me to earn the MBA after only one additional year.
    So, my questions are: 1) Is this a viable route? Especially the MBA and MS program?
    2) Would having an MBA and a BS in physics make me stand out?
    3) Would I still be able to work in science-related field? I love science, but I'm just not proficient enough at it and dedicated enough to get a phd in physics, so this seems like a good compromise.

    I appreciate you reading and taking the time to respond to my post. If you can only reply to part of it, that's still great! Anything (experience, information, etc) you could share with me is much appreciated.

    TL;DR: I'm pursuing a BS in physics, and I'm trying to decide between being a physics teacher and getting an MBA and working in business. What are the pros and cons of each?
    Thanks,
    Walter
     
  2. jcsd
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