Is it ever too late to get into academia?

22-Mar-16, 14:08
by balea
Avatar for balea
posted about 4 years ago
Hi everyone,

Since my undergraduate studies I have always played with the idea of pursuing a career in academia. However, I usually opted against it to pursue other opportunities.Now I am at a decision point again and ask myself: Can I still get into it and pursue a Ph.D. realistically or did I miss my chance?

My background:
As an undergraduate I studied management at one of the leading universities in my country, Germany, and did quite well. During the defense of my bachelor thesis, the chair holder actually encouraged me to consider an academic career. However, I chose differently and went to work in Asia for some time.
I later started a masters (M.Sc. in the European system). However, I didn't take it very serious and instead started up my own company in Asia. This went as far as actually spending my time in Asia and flying back for exams only. Mind you, the degree is actually very serious. That setup was only possible because I opted to took less time-consuming courses that did not require attendance.
Fast forward to now and my startup has not worked out as I wished. My masters took longer than average and I am writing on my thesis currently. I rediscoverd my old love for research and started to think about whether doing a Ph.D. is still an option for me.

What do you guys think?

While the field of management might be more open to transfer between industry and academia than others, I can't help but feel that my CV is now too different from the typical/ideal Ph.D. applicatnt and if I had wanted that life, I should have oriented things in that direction a long time ago.
Is that just some sort of reverse sunk costs fallacy or is it really too later?

23-Mar-16, 09:39
by Hugh
Avatar for Hugh
posted about 4 years ago
Its never too late if that's what you want to do. Question, is why do you want to do a PhD? Do you want a career in academia?
23-Mar-16, 10:55
by satchi
Avatar for satchi
posted about 4 years ago
hi balea welcome to the Forum.
A phd can be done at any time - I think survival is more important - are you thinking of doing a full-time phd? how will you fund yourself? can you survive during the minimum 3 years, for most people, the phd process can extend another year or more.

Do you have a family to support etc. for example, you will have to start looking for something else BEFORE funding ends, and doing the applications etc. whilst writing up your thesis etc. is not easy.

Next thing to be aware of is whether you can secure a job or you can get your business started again etc. after your phd is completed. There are so many people with phds with no jobs. I am one of them.

Family (and partner) support is also helpful -- during a phd people can have very very good and "high" days, and some days the process gets frustrating and people go through difficult phases.

best of luck
love satchi


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