Value creation of PhD - Full time, part time, online

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Famous business philosopher Jim Rohn remarked – We don’t get paid for the hour, but what for what we bring into the hour. When judging a program of PhD, you need to see not only the name of the university or the popularity of the program, but the need it serves for your career. And that’s valuable. But how would you understand which is valuable – full time, part time or online.

Let’s look at each of the options and see how valuable it can be in your career. Pick up the points that resonate with you and discard the rest.

Full time PhD – How much value it offers?

It all comes down to what you are ready to sacrifice. When deciding for a full time PhD, you are trying to gaze from a distance where you will be in the next 5 years! But what you are sacrificing here? Your most precious 5 years of your life which you will never get back. And you will also be behind your peers who chose corporate life instead of a full time PhD.

You also need to keep in mind that what would be your return on investment. After considering these three things, you should go ahead and deicide upon a full time PhD.

Opportunity cost

Think about opportunity cost first. Because you are putting in 5 years of your life and without considering other viable options it wouldn’t be prudent to go for it. So, here it is. Think in this line – what could you possibly do if you don’t do a full time PhD? Suppose, you can start a business and after 5 years your business will reach at a significant level where you can reach a global audience.

Or else, you can join a corporate job and within 5 years you would be able to reach a position of Manager or Senior Manager in your domain of work. Or maybe you can invest the money instead of putting it in your full time PhD program to earn interest. Another way to look at it is how much you would lose in salary during your 4-5 years of full time PhD?

In corporate job, the average salary per annum would be US $100,000 if you do your MBA or MS from a recognized foreign university, whereas, you would get only US $15,000-25,000. A total loss of almost around US $300,000. Think through everything and then decide.

Competitive advantage

Deciding on your full time PhD on the basis of only opportunity cost would not be enough. You need to gaze it from the competitive advantage you would gain from a full time PhD – learning the subject in depth, collaborating with industry professionals, researching a single problems from various angles, binding the team toward and working on various projects altogether.

And practically you will not learn this much from a corporate job. Because in full time PhD you are doing what people do in a corporate job along with other things like research, studying in depth, writing papers and working on various ideas of yours!

Return on investment

This is one of the most important factors of consideration. But if you choose a full time PhD, your return on investment would be much more than if you would have invested your 4-5 years in a corporate job. Not only that after full time PhD, you would be able to get any job that you thought you would have missed after your master degree. But yes, if you calculate the amount of money you could have earned and invested, then it would be one of the disadvantages of pursuing a full time PhD.

Part time PhD – Value you would be able to get

Most of the working professionals would go for part time PhD instead of a full time one because a part time PhD adds value and at the same time they can also have 4-5 years of experience down the line.

But there is a serious disadvantage. Like full time PhD, you would not be able to involve, collaborate and learn new skills in your part time PhD. Yes, courseware would be same and the professors who will guide you may match, but time matters. Spending 8 hours every day with senior professors, adapting yourself for the whole 4-5 years in the same environment and working on your ideas all the time, every time are truly the advantages of a full time PhD. In part time PhD you are trying to catch both the rabbits. But as the proverb goes that you may fall in the trap of catching none.

Opportunity cost

The cost of doing a part time PhD may seem bit less than the full time PhD but if we judge the opportunity cost, doing part time PhD will be costly. But what is the opportunity cost? First of all, not doing a full time PhD and also not focusing on one thing. These two are big cost but if you see the benefit ten years down the line, part time PhD may seem very useful and you can also have few years of valuable experience.

Competitive advantage

In part time PhD, as you are not fully involved in the process, your chances of having competitive advantage is difficult. You need to remember that PhD is not like master degree or bachelor’s degree, because PhD needs intensive research. And investing part time in PhD may not be enough. But if you choose part time PhD because your domain of research matches with the subject you are doing PhD on, then PhD will help you build great comparative advantage.

Return on investment

In part time PhD, the return is more, if you play the cards strategically. You need to know why you are doing part time PhD instead of a full time. Because you are really missing out on nothing if you choose only one subject and move ahead in your career. For example, if you choose your career as HR professional and pursue your part time PhD in Human Resource Management then the return on investment would be much more than any full time PhD guy.

Online PhD – What value it creates for you?

Online PhD is a boon for people who have time constraint and at the same time desire to have a PhD degree from one of the most reputed universities in this world. Let’s look at what online PhD is all about and how it creates value.

Opportunity cost

If you have 10-20 years of experience in a field and then you decide to an online PhD, then the opportunity cost is meagre, because you really don’t miss anything, rather you gain a lot more by the virtue of virtual classroom.

Competitive Advantage

People who have 10-20 years of experience usually don’t go for any further study, but the people like you who do create competitive advantage over your peers. So, if you would like to go for an online PhD, go ahead, you still have a long way to go and you can better yourself by pursuing your long-cherished dream, PhD.

Return on investment

Doing an online PhD is really useful. But the cost is often too much. No matter what the cost, if you are eager and financially free, there is no point of not doing it. There is a difference between self-learning and online PhD. You can pursue self-learning by the virtue of internet, but online PhD is more structured. And there will be eminent professors who will help you learn things and guide you with your thesis paper. Thus, return on investment you can say is the structure, the degree from a recognized university and flexibility. But it may seem a little bit costly for people who have financial constraints.

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