Since I'm nearing the halfway point of my undergraduate education I'm thinking it's time to do a little research about graduate degrees because my parents don't really have much advice to offer where these things are concerned. A couple comments first before I ask questions:
-Before any graduate school, of course, I'm going to work for a few years and see where I end up at.
-It looks like I'm going to be doing the second half of my education at Drexel : Lebow business: Finance major.
-I'm 23 so in financial terms I'll be independent by the time I'd be applying to graduate schools.
-Even though I'm doing Finance for undergrad, Politics/Economics are extremely interesting fields for me, and I enjoy discussing related issues at great length with my friends. I would potentially be interested in going into politics one day, but I don't want to do the law school route that a lot of people do because that's extremely expensive and I don't think I want to go into a lot of debt for something I'm unsure about.
-That brings me to my next point. My parents will not be paying for any of my actual tuition or board (just associated costs like textbooks, insurance, etc) so I'm taking on small loans for undergrad. As a result, my graduate school choice will definitely be influenced by affordability, and getting a return on my investment. For example, doing a very long program would mean giving up years of salary while spending lots of money or taking on more debt, so I wouldn't want to do that.
Questions about degrees:
I understand the basics around what all of these degrees do, but I'm a bit fuzzy about what the difference would be between Masters in Political Science vs MPP vs MPA. Are any of these degrees more pragmatic than others? I got the impression that a MPP is more theoretical, and a MPA is more applied. But is there really an advantage to doing one of those vs Econ or Finance?
Additionally, after doing extensive research I've seen that as an undergraduate finance major, a MBA will not necessarily be all that valuable. The only reason a MBA would be worth the high tuition would be if I get into a top 25 school (Stanford, Stern, HYP, etc). But it seems like getting a MBA from a second tier school makes a fairly small difference in terms of salary, and you have to give up 1-2 years of salary for that anyways so it's probably not worth it.
I know it's a bit early for me to be worrying about it, but the reason I wanted to learn more about it now is that I heard if I take classes in, or minor in political science, it might help me skip introductory level courses for politics-related graduate programs. Because I still have a few general elective slots left, I could gear those towards politics or economics if it would make a difference towards a graduate degree. In addition, at Drexel I will have access to co ops, so maybe I'll sign up for the 2 co op program and try to do a politics related co op so I have some experience in the field.
In any case, I appreciate any/all responses!