I want to change my field of study — is it too late?

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What is more important is whether your interest and skill sets match the profession

Is it possible to do a Master’s in a completely different field from what I did for my undergrad? I’m a graduate in finance but media is my choice.

If you look around, jobs and careers pursued by lots of people are very different to what they pursued when they were 20. So it is not uncommon to desire something else to what you studied in college. Often we select disciplines due to peer pressure or desire for employment — only to realise that neither did we have the skill sets nor the aptitude for the programme. I feel psychometric tests should be done by students in schools and colleges.

Moving from a BA in Finance to a Master’s in Media is definitely possible on paper. What is more important is whether your interest and skill sets match the profession. An internship while at university is a prime opportunity to explore and identify not only areas of interest but also careers that do not excite you. An internship provides an excellent opportunity to develop practical and professional skills and to make industry contacts.

In today’s environment a degree in media studies is not necessarily intended for students who wish to pursue a traditional career path in an area such as journalism, advertising or broadcast communication. Instead, the focus is on how communication is processed through various media forms and the effects it makes.

Careers in the media industry are extremely diverse — ranging from desk jobs to content creation jobs to the performance arts, from copywriting in the advertising industry to designing graphics to managing events. It is a highly creative field, often fraught with tight deadlines, long working hours requiring passion and a flexible mindset to adapt to dynamic working conditions. Experience is extremely important in this industry so while identifying a programme ensure the university has linkages with the industry both for internship and employment. Performing or producing music, choreography, film-making, acting or directing are options in this discipline.

Apart from media there are other arts that are equally interesting. Visual arts can include fine arts such as painting and sculpting; decorative arts such as jewellery; and contemporary arts such as photography and videography. All these have immense potential as a career option. An interesting field can also be found in art history in which you will learn to identify and appreciate the evolution of paintings, architecture etc. Such a choice gives you the option of working in museums and art galleries.

The top universities for media studies would include Berkeley, University of Southern California, LSE, University of Wisconsin, Stanford, UCLA, University of Pennsylvania and NUS.

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