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career_in_business_academia [2020/07/03 18:40]
mwgorges
career_in_business_academia [2021/07/10 14:19] (current)
kristiechan [Why apply to a business school PhD program?]
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 PhD programs in business schools can take many forms. Business research can take a highly quantitative approach – as in the case of  business economics, accounting, or finance – or use qualitative methods such as ethnography. Research methods could include experiments,​ interviews, or the analysis of large datasets. What unites these disparate approaches is A) the connection between the research and the practice of doing business and B) that most PhD graduates intend to become faculty members at business schools. PhD programs in business schools can take many forms. Business research can take a highly quantitative approach – as in the case of  business economics, accounting, or finance – or use qualitative methods such as ethnography. Research methods could include experiments,​ interviews, or the analysis of large datasets. What unites these disparate approaches is A) the connection between the research and the practice of doing business and B) that most PhD graduates intend to become faculty members at business schools.
  
-If you have just started considering a PhD in business, you should seek to gather as much information as you can about what this career path entails and the degree to which it suits your interests and goals. This guide is a good start, but you may also consider attending a [[http://​businessdocnet.com/​|DocNet]] fair where you can meet with and learn from business school admissions staff. If you are a member of an underrepresented minority, you should also look into the [[https://​www.phdproject.org/​|PHD Project,]] which is an excellent resource for learning about the profession and connecting to mentors. +If you have just started considering a PhD in business, you should seek to gather as much information as you can about what this career path entails and the degree to which it suits your interests and goals. This guide is a good start, but you may also consider attending a [[http://​businessdocnet.com/​|DocNet]] fair where you can meet with and learn from business school admissions staff. If you are a member of an underrepresented minority, you should also look into the [[https://​www.phdproject.org/​|PHD Project,]] which is an excellent resource for learning about the profession and connecting to mentors. ​Members of underrepresented minorities may also be interested in the IDDEAS (Introduction to Diversity in Doctoral Education and Scholarship) program, which is hosted annually at business schools such as MIT Sloan, Wharton, Kellogg, Booth, and Stanford GSB. It is a two-day immersion program that introduces undergraduate students to business research at the doctoral level, academic careers, and provides insights on the application process. ​
 ==== How does being a business school professor compare to other careers?​==== ==== How does being a business school professor compare to other careers?​====
 To begin, it’s important to understand what areas of a career matter to you – whether they be income, autonomy, ​ impact, etc. It’s clear that there are many benefits to a life as a business school professor – but also serious drawbacks. ​ To begin, it’s important to understand what areas of a career matter to you – whether they be income, autonomy, ​ impact, etc. It’s clear that there are many benefits to a life as a business school professor – but also serious drawbacks. ​
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 In addition, many PhD students face a significant opportunity cost by attending a PhD program – particularly a business school program. It is important to recognize that individuals who successfully become business school professors are generally highly educated and talented. That is to say, they have a skill set that would allow them to work successfully in other careers. In fact, PhD students who do not enter into academia often enter into other fields such as finance, consulting, and tech. Nonetheless,​ there are also numerous benefits to a PhD and business school academic career, including intellectual fun, autonomy, and a uniquely flexible lifestyle post-tenure. ​ In addition, many PhD students face a significant opportunity cost by attending a PhD program – particularly a business school program. It is important to recognize that individuals who successfully become business school professors are generally highly educated and talented. That is to say, they have a skill set that would allow them to work successfully in other careers. In fact, PhD students who do not enter into academia often enter into other fields such as finance, consulting, and tech. Nonetheless,​ there are also numerous benefits to a PhD and business school academic career, including intellectual fun, autonomy, and a uniquely flexible lifestyle post-tenure. ​
    
-Below is a general comparison of a business school professor’s career to one in industry. In general, professors win out on autonomy, lifestyle, and intellectual fun, but earn less and have fewer choices in location.+Linked below is a general comparison of a business school professor’s career to one in industry. In general, professors win out on autonomy, lifestyle, and intellectual fun, but earn less and have fewer choices in location.
  
-{{:​comparing_business_school_phd_to_industry_career.png?​400|}}+{{:​comparing_business_school_phd_to_industry_career.png?​direct&400|Comparing Business School PhD to Industry Career}}
    
 Individuals considering a PhD in business may also be interested in an academic career in a related field, such as economics, sociology, or psychology. For this group, it is useful to compare the career of business school academics to other academics. Individuals considering a PhD in business may also be interested in an academic career in a related field, such as economics, sociology, or psychology. For this group, it is useful to compare the career of business school academics to other academics.
  
-{{:​comparing_business_school_phd_to_social_science_phd.png?​400|}}+{{:​comparing_business_school_phd_to_social_science_phd.png?​direct&400|Comparing Business School PhD to Social Science PhD}}
    
 When making a comparison based on these factors, business school academic careers win out over other academics in social science fields in most scenarios. One important caveat to this hinges on your ability to do “fundamental” or “basic” research. Because business schools exist to support managers and leaders, there is an expectation that your research be somewhat “applied” and connected to the practice of management. More fundamental topics (such as understanding personality changes across the lifespan which falls into the realm of basic psychology, or studying the structural elements of a machine learning algorithm which falls into the realm of computer science) can often fall outside the scope of business school research. If you are interested in studying an important topic that does not fit within the umbrella of business, then you may be more fulfilled pursuing a PhD in another discipline. When making a comparison based on these factors, business school academic careers win out over other academics in social science fields in most scenarios. One important caveat to this hinges on your ability to do “fundamental” or “basic” research. Because business schools exist to support managers and leaders, there is an expectation that your research be somewhat “applied” and connected to the practice of management. More fundamental topics (such as understanding personality changes across the lifespan which falls into the realm of basic psychology, or studying the structural elements of a machine learning algorithm which falls into the realm of computer science) can often fall outside the scope of business school research. If you are interested in studying an important topic that does not fit within the umbrella of business, then you may be more fulfilled pursuing a PhD in another discipline.
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 In the comparison table above, we give industry careers a slight edge on the “impact” dimension. This begs the question: what type of impact do faculty members have on the world? In the comparison table above, we give industry careers a slight edge on the “impact” dimension. This begs the question: what type of impact do faculty members have on the world?
  
-{{:​types_of_impact_a_business_school_professor_can_have.png?​400|}} ​+{{:​types_of_impact_a_business_school_professor_can_have.png?​direct&400|Types of Impact a Business School Professor Can Have}}
  
 The reason industry careers may be judged as more impactful is that most business academics are solo contributors. This means that unless their research is picked up broadly – which is relatively rare – they will not be able to leverage teams and organizations to extend their impact as their industry peers do. In general, the distribution of the impact of academia has a long right tail, with research from a few superstars having significant influence, and most academics not achieving widespread exposure. Academics can combat this limitation by teaming up with other researchers or by developing academic organizations to expand the impact of their work (for example, founding a research lab or an institute in their particular area of interest). ​ The reason industry careers may be judged as more impactful is that most business academics are solo contributors. This means that unless their research is picked up broadly – which is relatively rare – they will not be able to leverage teams and organizations to extend their impact as their industry peers do. In general, the distribution of the impact of academia has a long right tail, with research from a few superstars having significant influence, and most academics not achieving widespread exposure. Academics can combat this limitation by teaming up with other researchers or by developing academic organizations to expand the impact of their work (for example, founding a research lab or an institute in their particular area of interest). ​
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 For Stephen, “A” was certainly true. He realized that the things he did for fun – write, explore data, and try to understand how organizations and business work – exactly matched the job description of a professor. For you, it is important to make that decision before you begin on the PhD application process and the long path to academia. The PhD can be extremely challenging,​ and the single best reason to enter into this journey is because you believe that you will be most happy spending your time conducting research. ​ For Stephen, “A” was certainly true. He realized that the things he did for fun – write, explore data, and try to understand how organizations and business work – exactly matched the job description of a professor. For you, it is important to make that decision before you begin on the PhD application process and the long path to academia. The PhD can be extremely challenging,​ and the single best reason to enter into this journey is because you believe that you will be most happy spending your time conducting research. ​
  
 +A previous iteration of Harvard Business School’s website lists three qualities, which Abhishek thinks accurately describe traits needed in potential researchers.
 +  *Curiosity and Vision
 +  *Self Motivation
 +  *Academic Excellence
 +
 +Good researchers above all seem to have a nose for finding important areas where they can apply the toolbox that they possess. Keen observers of the world and those who are often puzzled by why certain things work the way they do often find careers in research to be immensely satisfying. Academics are closer to entrepreneurs in many ways than would appear at first glance. Academics manage their careers in much the same as entrepreneurs
 +would manage their companies, and the ‘products’ that academics manufacture (their ideas) need to be sufficiently tested, marketed and diffused. While junior professors might often be employed in a department with a large number of people senior to them in experience and rank, such seniority does not imply any compulsion to follow orders as far as research is concerned. Indeed even PhD students are often expected to be independent and self motivated to pursue their own research projects with advisors playing a supporting role. Those who need external control will quickly find themselves lost in graduate programs. Lastly, academic excellence is often taken as a given within the profession. Everyone is expected to have the smarts that it takes to do well in courses (and most schools have an exceedingly bright set of students). Making the transition from being an excellent ‘consumer’ of knowledge to a ‘producer’ takes considerable skill and training in addition to academic smarts. In addition to these three points, Abhishek finds that good researchers frequently possess a talent for clear and precise written communication,​ a skill that arguably develops as one goes along.