It’s an interesting question and probably one to consider from both the perspective of getting your first job after graduating and longer term. I work in IB in Auckland so I can share some thoughts on the first point.
When choosing a course of study, one of the factors will be how your qualification is viewed by potential employers. Of course there are always many considerations to be thinking about but focussing on this factor, I would say the four things you are hoping to achieve are:
- Show you have a strong work ethic and the attitude seeking to produce work at a highest standard;
- Show you have the ability to understand concepts in that discipline;
- Be prepared with skills that will be useful in the job; and
- Show you are interested in the area.
I assume you are thinking about a NZ-style Masters degree when thinking about this rather than offshore / US style MBA degree so looking at these areas:
(1) In my opinion, the fact of having a conjoint in itself does not give you a significant advantage in applying. It shows one has a wider experience than a sole bachelors degree, and may signal ability to handle a high workload but grades achieved in whatever papers you have taken is the foremost indicator of work ethic, and attitude towards producing the highest quality work.
Looking at your comparison between conjoint vs Masters, I think a Masters stands out significantly more than a second bachelors degree. It is a harder degree to perform well in, and aligns more with the “real world” so showing you can achieve at a high level in that degree is a greater indicator that you will have the skills sought after in hiring graduates.
(2) Similar to the above. On its own, a conjoint shows you can understand a range of concepts, particularly if they are in different disciplines, but a Masters shows you can understand more difficult concepts and in a way that is “self-led” so I think employers would be more favourable to this.
(3) & (4) A conjoint or Masters is definitely a stronger indication of interest and skills than sole bachelors degree.
However, comparing the two, I think it a fairly neutral point for a first job as skills from a statistics undergrad are equally as likely to be useful than from a research Masters. I think an MBA-style degree is definitely more likely to provide practical skills than a conjoint.
There may also be some value in the commitment to a Masters in order to show your ambition to get into the industry and come prepared with a strong skills set for the job.
On balance, I think you are right that the Masters is a better differentiating factor to apply with than a conjoint bachelors degrees. It also gives you a free option to decide to undertake the Masters or not once you have finished your bachelor degree.
The question of “is it worth it” is quite tricky to answer as it depends on so many factors. A four year degree would be the standard for IB graduate roles in NZ, and I think offshore as well as the US expects applicants after a four year undergraduate degree. If you are planning to complete a four year program, your question of conjoint vs Masters is a good approach to deciding your degree. If you decide to plan for the Masters route then you can always take it up if you haven’t got an opportunity in banking or elsewhere that interests you after three years and reapply.
In terms of cost, I think it is easy to say it is always worth it in the long-run if you are able to get a degree that gives you an opportunity to do something you are passionate about. You will always be more likely to achieve in that area in the long-run and pay off the investment numerous times over.
In summary, I would encourage you to look to complete your standard bachelors degree with top grades then consider pursing a Masters degree.
Feel free to send me an email or get in touch on LinkedIn if you would like to chat further.