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How do I choose the right master''s degree?

I currently have a bachelor's degree in communication (double major with performing arts / theatre), and have been working as a journalist for a year. It was through my studies and work that i discover that my true passion is the advancement of culture, which I currently am working on in the media, but will want to branch out from later.

Being an ethnic minority from a remote rural area in a developing country, my real dream is to someday return to my original homeland and start businesses that provide jobs that are based in traditional skills but apply them in the production of modern commercial commodities that appeal to urban international markets. I want the company to make a lot of profit, than channel it to provide great quality education and health care for the employees' children and families.

I especially long to engage the young generation to preserve traditional wisdom, life skills, folklore and philosohies through education, art, film, and modern technology. So what I really want to do is to put my writing and performing art skills to use through education. I also intend to keep my profession as a freelance journalist and branch out to write books and films based on this exotic area. However, given that this is a poverty stricken area, that's not gonna happen unless the community has the means to sustainably meet its basic needs (food security, clean water, nutrition, sanitation, and decent housing) and make the money to provide these. I think eco-friendly, sustainable businesses that make use of the community's traditional skills and hybrid them with modern technology, styles, and marketing is the answer, so people have jobs and also balanced, high quality lives.

Someone once told me that in order to eventually do what I want to do, I must first start by doing what I can do, and do it well. I'm a writer, a researcher, a showgirl, and learning to be an educator. But there isn't much space for writers in my homeland, unless my writing has a way of putting food on people's tables, roofs over their heads, clean water in their homes, and jobs that not only provide them money but also help them keep up with the modern world while keeping in touch with their traditional sense of identity and balance.

I feel that no matter what I study it'll never be enough for this dream, but I don't know where to start. Not journalism, because I don't want to be "just another journalist". Maybe education, but deep down I know that conventional Western education is not the model that suites the community in my homeland. Agriculture or engineering would be great, except that I don't meet the prerequisites and they're not my passions anyway. Other majors I've considered include marketing/advertising, brand development, fashion design (my homeland is well known for exotic textiles), and green entrepreneurship, but i fear that taking one will mean missing out on the others and falling short.

A program I have considered for years in University of Oslo's "culture, environment and sustainability". While it's tuition free, living costs in Norway are extremely high and I don't qualify for a grant because I don't attend an affiliated university in my home country. It costs 6 months of my salary in my country to live one month in Norway.

I'd be happy to consider English language master programs throughout North America, Europe, East Asia and Singapore that are likely to help me reach my dream. Although I currently have the equivalent of USD $1500 in savings, I'll most likely need financial aid and part-time working arrangments to support myself. If you have suggestions on student societies, research bodies, or work placements that I should look into, they are welcome as well.

Thank you :)


You need to write down your goal and try to work backwards from that point to work out what you need NOW.

The issue with the way you are thinking is that you are assuming that you cannot buy in the skillset in the form of a management team in order to realise the ambition of the company and charitable actions you are undertaking. At the same time, you havent actually found a use for any of the vague traditional skills you want to exploit in this venture. You have no product idea, you just have a business model, an empty one.

It is bizarre that you want to run a successful, very profitable industry, using unspecified skillsets, but also be a teacher, freelance journalist, book writer and philanthropist all at the same time. You also feel that youll be able to pay these people very well, while generating high profits...how? You need to choose one, not both. Either pay them well and suffer with competitors undercutting you, or simply pay them less and make more money for your exploits.

Focus on what you need right now in order to make the start-up capital. Once you have begun, youll be able to get the ball rolling and youll be wealthy enough to either do additional training which you require, or alternatively, work on hiring people with appropriate expertise in order to help you with this goal. You dont have to do it all alone.

The issue here is that you may be assuming that your media outlet in your home nation will be able to make the kind of capital you require in order to facitiate this gigantic dream, but media itself is a shrinking market with the advent of the internet and publishing is shrinking too. Even if you ran your company in a nation in which the population has the means in order to spend their money on the kind of products you will be providing, the yield per capita will be low.

Perhaps your time is best spent looking at alternative routes to making the money or alternatively, forming a group or partnership in which this venture can be explored further, minimising risk and helping generate the start up capital you require at a much quicker rate.


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