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Key motivations influencing PMEs’ decision to pursue a Master’s degree via PEIs in Singapore

Tan, Calvin Shimin


Calvin Shimin Tan


The influx of new graduates in Singapore has created a scenario of oversupply that makes it more difficult for people to get hired in a career field that they desire. People commonly tend to believe that with higher levels of education, they are more likely to be employed, and remain employed. The perception that a private degree education is a “second chance” for those not accepted into public universities is prevalent among the general public in Singapore and yet over the years, enrolment in private universities is on the rise.

This study explores this phenomenon by investigating the lived experience of a group of 9 Private Education institutions (PEI’s) alumni and provides insights as to why studying for a master’s degree in PEI is a preferred choice. These valuable insights on their perception of the value of studying master’s degree with a PEI could help PEIs in marketing their programmes to future students as not being the second-best option but as an empowering option for those seeking to remain in a job while studying.

A qualitative research method was chosen to obtain information about these alumni’s experiences and perceptions of impact, which are situated in the context of their backgrounds, career trajectories and circumstances. Quotes from the transcripts were then used to illustrate the issues raised by the research questions. Through thematic analysis, the quotes from the interviews were categorised into themes and discussions were carried out to link to the past research and literature reviewed in this study.

The findings indicate that while many had found part-time programmes challenging, in terms of studies around their (often full-time) employment and other personal commitments in life, the very flexible delivery of PEI programmes had enabled them to cope and succeed in completing and obtaining the qualification. Other findings from the interviews such as personal information have provided a deep understanding of the context for the motivations, experiences and benefits perceived by the alumni. This study concludes that the three main influences cited by the participants to study in a PEI were perceived value, cost and flexibility. Most of these participants also saw their master’s degree study as a medium or long-term investment towards an enhanced career through higher-level employment. Hence, the reputation of the university is considered secondary important. These findings not only have contributed to an area of limited study in Singaporean higher education, but more importantly, they have also provided insights to PEIs in marketing their programmes.

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Nov 28, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 28, 2022
Public URL
Award Date Jul 8, 2022


Key motivations influencing PMEs’ decision to pursue a Master’s degree via PEIs in Singapore (1.3 Mb)

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