Should a First Class graduate consider postgraduate degree or paid employment after graduation?


First Class graduates are said to have scored the top scores in their university education. They may not necessarily be brilliant than their peers. But they attained such feats by putting more efforts on their studies. They excelled as a result of adequate preparation that met opportunity.

A number of First Class graduates are bothered about whether to go for a postgraduate degree or a paid employment immediately after graduation. In some instances of professions, they may also need to choose between going for a professional course and the two. asked experts across various careers about this.

Choose further academic studies provided there is funding

“A First Class candidate is a potential scholar. The best suited step for such an individual is to pursue further academic studies. That is if the First Class is as a result of his/ her academic astuteness and performance.He/she should surf through the internet to get scholarship funding. So many are available.

That is not advisable if (attained) per chance for choice: because human beings have their fundamental right of choice. He could start to look for a job, which may not be the actual demonstration of his intellectual property, if he/she wishes to pursue money.”

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Dr Ronke Christiana Ojo
Senior Lecturer
Department of Adult Education
University of Lagos

Take the one that comes first

The person should take the one that comes first from the two.  Moreover, a postgraduate  study does not debar one from working. The two could be combined.
Dr Idayyah Lamidi
HOD English, International School, Ibadan


Decide based on your calling

“One who made a first class degree should better go for post graduate degree to enable him acquire more knowledge, hard and soft skills to come back to the system to help impact knowledge and skills to upcoming generation. That is if and only if he has the passion and calling to be a teacher. However, if his/her flare is in the industry he/she should go in there to make contribution to the development of the society. So, in my view, either choice should be informed by his/her passion and calling, otherwise such person is going to be a failure.”

Professor Adams Onuka

Institute of Education, University of Ibadan, Ibadan

The higher the education, the better

A first class graduate would have access to numerous scholarships after graduation. It would be better he takes up advanced degree to the PhD rather than rushing to accept a paid job.

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Matthew Ogagavworia, FCA, CFAN Chartered Accountant, Managing Partner, Matog Consulting

Someone with a paid job would be more focused on meeting up with targets of his employers than developing himself. If he seeks to obtain any qualification on the job, it is either his output diminishes or he doesn’t face his studies squarely. His employer may end up laying him off due to low productivity.

So, I will advice a person with a First Class to take advantage of funding opportunities and advance his academics to the PhD and run professional courses while doing so. A PhD holder in the management science would be sought after beyond Nigeria and those who initially offered him employment after graduation would willingly make him a consultant.

Choice dependent of individual goals and available opportunities

“There is no better option of the two choices. It  depends on career choice, financial status, personal goals, opportunities available  among several other factors.

If there is openings in viable organizations with opportunity for career development getting job early at the end of secondary school or a degree programme may be a safer and better choice.

However you may find it difficult to fulfil your dreams in some situations if you get job early. Your employer may resist such move especially if your field of study is not relevant to the current job.

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There are others who have got higher degrees. Yet, they have to wait for years before getting their dream job. So, wisely choose.”

Dr Abraham Oladokun

National Examinations Council (NECO), Minna

What are your thoughts about the subject? Let’s know in the comment box below.


  1. A person who is truly a scholar not only by result alone but also by what he has in his intellectual armoury has the propensity to do well in both ways. Today, I observe that money decides for many first class graduates. That is why many of them do not go back to universities for postgraduate studies. In the situation where he gets a blue chip job that is money spinning, he may go for the job instead of pursuing postgraduate studies. Many corporate organizations are ready to offer them jobs with fat salaries. They are really looking for them. Today, you see a fresh graduate that his emolument is more than that of a professor. So, money can decide the direction to go when he knows fully well that if he declines this job offer, he may not earn such money even when he becomes a professor. On the long run, most workers are after the remuneration that comes from the job. Therefore, money decides. That is my stance on this issue.

  2. I advise young graduates of economics with an eye on careers in international organizations to consider Msc Economics or Finance, preferably but not necessarily abroad, shortly after their graduation or as they gather experience along the line.
    I’m not talking of diverting careers to accounting, like some of us, which only requires writing accounting professional exam.
    I’m talking of dollar-paying jobs in international organizations with headquarters in Vienna, Geneva etc. This also makes them competitive at the global market. If you really want analyst jobs related to finance and economics (not accounting), masters is the minimum requirement in most cases.
    It is applicable to most courses, actually. I recently met a young Nigerian that works in Vienna, Austria, in a development fund run by an oil-based intergovernmental organization. He has a first class in engineering in Ife and Msc with distinction in Cranfield. He applied for the job from London in 2015 and was the only Nigerian selected. Masters makes you competitive for plum jobs at international scene. In fact, you meet young candidates like you with PhD
    Many other examples.
    Actually, most of such jobs tell you right from advert: advanced degree preferred.

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