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Old 19.06.2015, 23:27
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How old is too old? (Master at ETHZ)

Hello

I was wondering if finishing a master at ETH Zurich at 28 years old will make it difficult to find an entry-level job.
I know it sounds silly, because 28 is obviously not old. But most my collegues (will) have their master somewhere between 24-26. The average age seems to be 26 at ETHZ.
As someone who is currently studying, I do notice the ongoing competition/rat-race and I feel the pressure to finally get my studies done with and start to work before it's too late.

Some background info: I did one year English at the University of Zurich, then broke it off, because I didn't like it. Then I started law. I am currenty in my third year and it will take one more year to get my bachelor (four years instead of three, because I work 30-40%). The thing is, I am very unhappy. I don't enjoy my studies and I seem to be more miserable each year. Plus, the law faculty of the university is plain awful (changing regulations each year with very short notice, no assistance, terrible exams compared to other universites and so on).

I do want to finish my bachelor because I'm so close already, but I was considering changing to the ETH to study biology. I will be 24 then and if I manage to finish my master within 4.5 years (the recommended period) I will be 28.5.

My friends I have told tell me to change to ETH, because working in a field one does not enjoy (law) for the next 40 years isn't really the greatest thing. But I have to be realistic about the future and I feel I've already dawdled too long.

Oh and language wise (if this makes any difference): My native languages are Swiss German and English, I also speak French (currently B1-B2) and a bit of Italian (currently A2).

I would be really grateful for some insight and your opinions. Thank you!
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Old 20.06.2015, 00:15
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Re: How old is too old? (Master at ETHZ)

Can you actually get into a ETH master's program in biology with a bachelor in law?
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Old 20.06.2015, 00:19
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Re: How old is too old? (Master at ETHZ)

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Can you actually get into a ETH master's program in biology with a bachelor in law?
Oh sorry, forgot to mention: I have a Swiss Matura (Swiss citizen).
I was planning on doing the bachelor and master at ETH (3 years bachelor and 1.5 years master). So in the end I would have a bachelor of law and a bachelor and master in biology.
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Old 20.06.2015, 00:32
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Re: How old is too old? (Master at ETHZ)

even if you don't enjoy law, it along with biology wold be a strong hand if you want to go into pharma

I did maths, stats and computer science originally and hated it, changed to history and politics midway through and loved it. Now work as a consultant, though UK uni education is slightly different to the swiss streaming approach!
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Old 20.06.2015, 00:39
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Re: How old is too old? (Master at ETHZ)

Seriously? You think 28 is old? I didn't graduate from my Bachelors until I was 31 and there were people older than me doing their Bachelors too!
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Old 20.06.2015, 09:31
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Re: How old is too old? (Master at ETHZ)

There are two students in my office doing their masters. One is 28, the other is 32 It seems I'm quite unusual in having got my bachelors at 21.
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Old 20.06.2015, 09:36
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Re: How old is too old? (Master at ETHZ)

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Hello

I was wondering if finishing a master at ETH Zurich at 28 years old will make it difficult to find an entry-level job.
Finishing a masters at 28 makes you old, a mere 2 year older than the average of 26 that you quoted? You really need to ask this question?
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Old 20.06.2015, 09:37
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Re: How old is too old? (Master at ETHZ)

I did my Master's part time in my 30s. Mixed with a day job. Just do it.
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Old 20.06.2015, 09:49
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Re: How old is too old? (Master at ETHZ)

Firstly, well done for sticking with it thus far. Hardly old, put in the extra work and reap the awards later.
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Old 20.06.2015, 13:21
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Re: How old is too old? (Master at ETHZ)

Thank you very much for your helpful replies!


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even if you don't enjoy law, it along with biology wold be a strong hand if you want to go into pharma
How that? Iím interested in microbiology/immunology. I canít imagine where I would need knowledge of law, since Iím interested in research. But of course it would be great if my BLaw werenít Ďwastedí


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Seriously? You think 28 is old? I didn't graduate from my Bachelors until I was 31 and there were people older than me doing their Bachelors too!
But I suppose you have former work experience? The thing is, other than part time jobs, I havenít had any proper work experience. Just school as long as I can remember :P


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Finishing a masters at 28 makes you old, a mere 2 year older than the average of 26 that you quoted? You really need to ask this question?
I personally donít think 28 is too old. I was wondering whether for potential employers that is too old. The law business is extremely competitive. They want students to finish as quickly as possible, also have work experience, speak at least 3 foreign languages and have an average mark of at least 5,5. I donít know how the science/pharma/biology industry is, thatís why I asked
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Old 20.06.2015, 13:56
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Re: How old is too old? (Master at ETHZ)

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I personally donít think 28 is too old. I was wondering whether for potential employers that is too old. The law business is extremely competitive. They want students to finish as quickly as possible, also have work experience, speak at least 3 foreign languages and have an average mark of at least 5,5. I donít know how the science/pharma/biology industry is, thatís why I asked
I would wager that 2 years makes zero difference to any rational employer, providing your skills and qualifications match your peers.
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Old 20.06.2015, 14:48
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Re: How old is too old? (Master at ETHZ)

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Can you actually get into a ETH master's program in biology with a bachelor in law?
I'm afraid this is true: it's not possible to do a master's program in biology on the base of a bachelor of law.
So be prepared to study bachelor's in biology + masters in biology.

I know it's not exactly what you may want to hear, sorry and good luck
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Old 20.06.2015, 14:56
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Re: How old is too old? (Master at ETHZ)

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I'm afraid this is true: it's not possible to do a master's program in biology on the base of a bachelor of law.
So be prepared to study bachelor's in biology + masters in biology.
I know. I wasn't clear in my first post, but I clarified later:

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Oh sorry, forgot to mention: I have a Swiss Matura (Swiss citizen).
I was planning on doing the bachelor and master at ETH (3 years bachelor and 1.5 years master). So in the end I would have a bachelor of law and a bachelor and master in biology.
Sorry for any misunderstandings!
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Old 20.06.2015, 16:34
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Re: How old is too old? (Master at ETHZ)

I think it was clear that 4.5 included bachelor + master (but i thought it was 120 ects or 2 years at ethz, unlike uni). Anyway I think 28 is ok even if you wanna do a phd, after 30 maybe not. Also you say you work 30-40% that means you are versatile, and speak several languages. Also it's ethz, so top university with a lot of technical knowledge too.
Law in industry comes in with regulatory affairs, compliance, patent law and stuff like that, knowing all the swiss languages gives you a big plus too i think.
Imho you got really good chances, you already have so much to offer that 2 years won't matter at all (and even if you hadn't they would still not matter most likely).
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Old 21.06.2015, 02:59
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Re: How old is too old? (Master at ETHZ)

At 28 you are already waaay over the middle point to your sell-buy date, you know that period of transition that starts at 45 until you are regarded as "scrap" at 50.
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Old 21.06.2015, 05:00
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Re: How old is too old? (Master at ETHZ)

you only have one more year so might as well finish it. otherwise you waste 3 years.
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Old 21.06.2015, 10:25
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Re: How old is too old? (Master at ETHZ)

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At 28 you are already waaay over the middle point to your sell-buy date, you know that period of transition that starts at 45 until you are regarded as "scrap" at 50.
Unlike Murphys...
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Old 21.06.2015, 12:06
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Re: How old is too old? (Master at ETHZ)

I started my ETH Master in Computational Sciences at 35 y.o. and finished it at 37 on top of that I had to work part and full time to support myself. It was about 200% workload summing both and when I finished and started only working felt like if I was in holidays. I had already about 15 years of work experience and a Bachelor in Computer Science from my home country.

I find that my sacrifice paid off but I would have done despite of the outcome it was for me a personal goal to do it.
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Old 21.06.2015, 16:19
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Re: How old is too old? (Master at ETHZ)

Hello again

Thanks again for your replies.
Hopefully this last year flies by quickly. My definitive decision will be made next March/April I guess. I feel a bit more confident about enrolling at ETH now

On another note: Are there preparatory courses available for maths/physics? I haven't seen numbers for four years now and by then five
I've only seen courses for the admission exam for those who don't fulfill entry prerequisites (not my case).
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Old 21.06.2015, 16:42
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Re: How old is too old? (Master at ETHZ)

i don't think so, you might just wanna repeat your high school stuff. but are you gonna keep working while at ethz? that seems hard.
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