Why do a PhD?

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Doing a PhD is like a dream for students. But while pursuing a dream most students fall in the trap of not knowing why they’re doing PhD at first place. Thus, it’s important to know that why should you pursue a PhD. The reasons may match with your own reasons, but chances are that the actual reasons for doing a PhD will not match with what you thought are your reasons for pursuing a PhD.

So, here’s this guide for you where we will talk about why you should go for a PhD and also why you shouldn’t go for a PhD. We need to be practical. Not everyone is cut from the same clothes. Not everyone wants to tread on similar paths. Thus, basically it’s of utter importance that you know to play your cards well even before plunging into any career choice.

What is a PhD?

In simple terms, PhD is the art of acquiring new knowledge in a specific area. In a PhD, you shift things, tweak on the existing knowledge, collect materials and inputs, take the guidance from people who have already walked on the path you are treading currently and creating your own sort of idea factory.

Then you take that box of ideas and write papers, give talks, sell your ideas and popularize a new model in your area of choice. And you are done. The most important thing about a PhD is that you are allowed to fail. You have much less risk while trying out executing new ideas in PhD compared to a job in the industry. We will go in much detail later. But for the time being, know that a PhD is an extra feather on your cap which will help you go to places a simple MBA or MS will not be able to provide.

Why do a PhD?

Now, let’s get to the point. The following are the practical reasons why you should do a PhD.

You are out of the rat race

When you enrol yourself in a PhD program, you aim for something greater, something better than MBA or MSc. You want to shine and make a name for yourself in your specific field of study. Unknowingly what you do is you separate yourself from the ninety per cent of the crowd who go for corporate jobs to fetch the industry-best-salary.

And what most people don’t realize that it’s not required to run the race. Rather when you step back and think over your career in a larger perspective, you get a helicopter view of your career graph and then you can design your career gradually. Choosing to do a PhD is one of those steps which will help you step back from the rat race and aim for the higher goal. Moreover, you would be able to make a name for yourself as a junior researcher of a certain subject.

You are allowed to fail multiple times

When we join a company, the top management screams from the top of their lungs that we are allowed to make mistakes, allowed to make errors and thus we can experiment and grow in the company. But truth shows different anatomy. Most companies fire you once you fail. Thus, when one completes his/her MBA or MS, s/he has not many options left.

S/he has to succeed, by any means. Once you fail to perform, fail to execute, the company you work for will also fail to remember you as part of their existence. Result? The risk is much more. The risk is highest when it’s about the jobs in finance. It’s medium when you are in any engineering industry. But when you join a PhD, you are allowed to fail.

Rather you are allowed to try new ideas and experiment with bunch of studies, are permitted to share your views about a particular prototype even if it doesn’t work. Thus, when you fail while working on your thesis in a PhD, you are not fired. Rather you grow, tremendously. Failing is the only way to success. Most people preach it, but in PhD, you are allowed to fail multiple times unlike the corporate industry.

You have freedom

This seems insignificant topic to discuss, but if you think pragmatically, you will see that there is lot of truth in this single statement. You need to freedom to test your new ideas. Everyone like you has a huge reservoir of potential, but they go unutilized when new ideas are not encouraged, new ways of looking things are not supported and no novel ideas are entertained.

Even if the leadership has evolved from completely autocratic to participative, but mostly that is on the surface. Under the shiny appearance, most leaders are still autocratic and want the things to be done their way. We’re not criticizing the corporate industry, but simply pulling out the truth for you to make a better decision.

In a PhD, you have the freedom to work out on several different ideas and no-one will prompt you or interrupt your creative flows. Yes, lot of corporates also allow people to spend time to work on their own projects; but if you do the math, don’t you know how many? May be a mere 2-3%. In PhD, you have more freedom than any corporate jobs can offer you.

Your bandwidth will increase

The benefit of pursuing a PhD is once you complete your PhD degree, you would have more jobs at your disposal. Yes, your peers who have done MBA or MS with you will have more experience than you, but you would get all the opportunities that you could have got before pursuing PhD plus you would get more. Why? Because once you do your PhD, your knowledge level, expertise, trying out new things, formulating plans, collaborative abilities and executing capacity will increase drastically.

The above are the reasons for which you should pursue a PhD. But there are couple of reasons which may make you decide otherwise.

PhD doesn’t pay well

When you join a job after MBA or MS, you get around US $100,000 per annum in any foreign country. But if you pursue PhD in a foreign country for full time, your salary would be US $15,000-25,000, almost one fourth of the salary one gets when they follow their corporate dreams. But if you are looking for earn quick bucks, PhD wouldn’t suit you. But as mentioned before, you have lot of freedom to do the work you want to do.

PhD needs you to study almost everything

PhD needs voracious reading and studying. If you are not ready to put in long hours for studying, writing papers, sometimes following boring routines of experimentation and pursuing everything for 4-5 long hours, chances are you would not clear the thesis in one go. Thus, think before you enrol.

Look at above reasons, do your own due diligence and then finally decide whether you would really like to do a PhD or not.