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I completed my Bachelor's in Electrical engineering last year in a foreign country. I already had a job pending in that country when I finished but due to visa concerns, I would only be able to start working after 7 months. To keep myself busy and use my time productively, I decided to enrol into a 1-year Master's program in Statistics and Data Science in the same country.

Two months into the program, I realize that I have not been putting my heart and mind into studies. I am only going to lectures for the sake of it, and I will probably not use most of the knowledge gained in my courses in the career path I want to pursue.

I was just able to obtain my work visa from within the country, so I can start working after one month in the position I had secured last year. However, if I push it through for the next 5 months, I will be done with my coursework and I can start working while I complete my thesis on the side. On the other hand, if I decide to quit now, I will lose 50% of the fees I paid (on a loan).

So, basically, if I do not quit now and start work after 5 months, I will have a Master's degree by the end of next year, more career options and make some use of the fees I have already paid. But if I decide to quit now, I will have a month off to rejuvenate (the past few months have been very stressful for me), get an extra income of 5 months which I can use to start paying off my debt and save the other 50% of the fees. In addition, I may save myself the struggle of pushing through an intensive degree I am not too interested in or the risk of failing a few courses. The same knowledge can be gained online via a ton of resources available on the subject.

Could someone please guide me on what would be the right approach to my situation? I feel like I had made a hasty decision to enrol into the Master's program, but I do not want to make a hasty decision to drop out. Any advice and guidance would be greatly appreciated!

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There is no right answer for this question but I can explain what my approach would be.

Question I would ask:

  • Does the content of the master study interest you?
  • Is the gained knowledge/degree useful for potential career paths?
  • How much money do you waste by quitting?
  • How much money can you make by working instead of studying?
  • How would quitting/continuing affect your mental health?
  • If you do already have a pending job offer how does quitting/continuing affect the offer?
  • Do you really want to write your thesis on the side will practicing a full time job? (stressful, long time)
  • Can you work half time at the job?
  • Will your potential employer support/endorse your expanded study?
  • What is the future intend of pursuing an academic career?(Quitting a Master's program can place barriers for acceptance into other master programs and PhDs in the future (suggested by@Mefitico))
  • How will quitting affect your CV?

For a "sober" look at all those question a decision matrix would be useful.

If the financial calculations are to complicated asking a question here may help.

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    Great answer. I'd suggest as well to consider future intent of pursuing an academic career. Quitting a Master's program can place barriers for acceptance into other master programs and PhDs in the future.
    – Mefitico
    Mar 21, 2019 at 14:32
  • @Mefitico +1 I added it to the list
    – GittingGud
    Mar 21, 2019 at 14:37

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