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Well, I just graduated as a software engineer, and I have been working for a year in a company as a Sw Engineer intern. My contract ends this friday and they have offered me a place to work there. I already booked a 2 week travel some months ago for the next month because I did not know if I was going to be offered a place.

I have a really good relationship with this company and they have told me several times they are REALLY happy with me. They told me that it is inevitable I booked the travel, and if I go, I'll use all my vacations of the remaining year. That is only if I start this next monday. They told me I can start really whenever I want. July, August, September or now.

I found a really small company (an ex-teacher of mine is one of the CEO's actually), which offers me a similar salary (I do not actually care that much about the difference, to be honest), and a more interesting project. They want me to start as soon as possible. They are really busy in an actual project and they "need" me asap. Also, its no problem the travel, I won't use any vacation days.

The thing comes up here: I have applied to several Universities for a Master's programme. If I stay in my company, its no problem if I have to go (even if I say Ill start in september, and I get chosen for the master's, its no problem to tell them I can't). (MASTER is abroad by the way).

If I say yes to the new company, and get chosen for the master's, I'll have to stop working for them in 1 and a half month, and as busy as they are, I feel kind of bad.

If I say no, I am afraid they took the time to meet me and stuff, and it can cause some bad reputation in the future (my ex-teacher). The interview went quite well and I showed a lot of interest, and so did they in me.

But saying no and not getting chosen in any master's, would that mean I won't have another opportunity at this second company?

  • One thing I liked is that in the interview of the new company, they told me they really liked my honesty (they asked several "trap questions" to see that, and I answered honestly). But I am afraid they'll get "angry" due to using their time, as I did not mention anything about a master's to them yet @JoeStrazzere – M.K Jun 13 at 12:05
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In a situation like this, do not lie or withhold critical information that might impact your situation down the road. Remember, nothing good can come from withholding this information (your Masters application). My general rule of thumb in life is to not lie or withhold sensitive information.

Also, based on my experience, unless your long term goal is to be a Manager of some kind, I don't see the value of a Masters as a software engineer. In most cases, your experience and ability to learn and apply new technologies are what will matter.

Having said all that, I would suggest going with the option that excites you the most, which appears to me to be with your old teacher.

Go for it.

  • Well, I'd really like to do a master's. I'll go with honesty as @JoeStrazzere said, and tell them I really like the job, but I got the masters. – M.K Jun 13 at 12:35
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    This guy is your former teacher. Ask his advice! He has an interest in your career beyond what you can do for his startup. And, don't forget to take some time off. You won't have much if you work in a startup. – O. Jones Jun 13 at 14:16
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I would come clean with them and let them decide what they want.

Companies are used to conduct interviews that won't come successfully. It is a normal part of the hiring process.

Of course, there is always the chance that somebody may take offense, but you should not worry about it.

If you think on the other side, they had no obligation to hire you if they didn't like the interview. You would have lost your time and money going to that hiring interview and it would unreasonable for you to get angry if they hadn't selected you. It is the same thing, they can't expect you to automatically accept just because they liked you.

The important point is that your career is your responsibility and only you can decide what is best for you.

If the masters is your priority, then by all means go for it, with no regret.

I used to gave a lot of thought on the same line of reasoning you are having, but after 20 years of career I have seen that the focus should be on yourself, not on what a company say it needs. Depending on market needs, a company may suddenly drop half of their headcount, regardless of the opportunities they let pass by them out of concern for the company.

Call them, thank them for their interest, and say that you were reflecting about your career plans and that the Masters may mean that you would have to leave the company in the near future. It will be up to them to decide what is best for them.

Good luck! :-)

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