Is a PhD worth it for me?

posted
19-Jul-17, 12:14
Avatar for GaryMackie
posted about 2 years ago
I have been offered a place on a fully funded 4 year PhD programme (1st year is an MRes) in Energy Demand and the built environment at Loughborough University. I would like to do this, however I am unsure if this would benefit me in an industry career or starting my own company.

Does anyone have any advice that would help in my decision or to help me understand if a PhD would be worth it?

About me:

I am 24 years old and I hold a BA (hons) in Criminological Studies (2:1) and an MSc in Energy, Water and Environmental Management (Distinction) and I am currently working in a young energy reduction company who work with energy metering and control systems. The company has potential to go places and as I am only the 2nd employee I would move up the ladder with potential shares, however this is all IF's and nothing on paper.

A few of my thoughts:

A PhD is something that I have always wanted to do
I don't particularity want to work in Academia afterwards -although I would not mind
I am quite an entrepreneurial person who likes to problem solve and I don't see any limits to what I could achieve
My long term ambition is to design/ create something that makes a difference in this sector and startup my own company
I have a keen interest for renewable systems and smart technologies
This PhD would gain me extensive knowledge and many transferable skill that I personally think I need
Would 4 years out of industry be detrimental and would this essentially put my life on hold for 4 years?
posted
19-Jul-17, 15:26
by Hugh
Avatar for Hugh
posted about 2 years ago
Would you be on leave from work or have to look for a job after you complete your PhD?

Personally I would continue working and moving up the ladder.
posted
20-Jul-17, 10:20
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 2 years ago
Young companies can easily go bust. I would probably take the PhD.
posted
21-Jul-17, 02:19
edited a moment later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 2 years ago
If your long term plan is to have an industry career or start your own company, continuing to gain strong work experience in your current company would be best.
posted
21-Jul-17, 02:28
edited about 29 seconds later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 2 years ago
A small start up is excellent ground to gain a broad spectrum of skills that you would not get in larger companies. And the potential to rise in promotion is quicker.
posted
21-Jul-17, 02:28
edited about 4 seconds later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 2 years ago
I won't worry about the company going bust. Once you have the necessary skills, you can go wherever you like. If you quit your current job, you will still need to search for a job after your PhD anyway
posted
21-Jul-17, 02:29
edited about 26 seconds later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 2 years ago
Trust me, a job search for industry positions without much work experience after PhD is a real pain (overqualified, underexperienced). If you take extended leave without pay, you lose a lot of your seniority.
posted
30-Jul-17, 14:32
edited about 15 seconds later
by okra
Avatar for okra
posted about 2 years ago
Quote From tru:
Trust me, a job search for industry positions without much work experience after PhD is a real pain (overqualified, underexperienced). If you take extended leave without pay, you lose a lot of your seniority.

Really? Some background-I have a MSc done fully via research, there was no coursework at all. I'm in the midst of deciding whether to take another Masters via coursework or a PhD. Initially was planning to go into academia, but as time passes, I feel that R&D is more interesting. I am not sure of what to do..
posted
31-Jul-17, 12:53
edited about 28 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 2 years ago
Quote From tru:
Trust me, a job search for industry positions without much work experience after PhD is a real pain (overqualified, underexperienced). If you take extended leave without pay, you lose a lot of your seniority.


I would disagree with this.
If you are only thinking about jobs which are advertised or are only targetting large companies then yes you can have problems.
In the UK we have more than 2 million companies out there and 90% of all jobs are never advertised. People need to get proactive nowadays. Target small companies and dont wait for job advert would be my advice.
posted
31-Jul-17, 13:16
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 2 years ago
okra, can you apply for R&D position in industry? I do agree with pm133 that networking will help u get d job. But I stand by that it is easier to get in with a master than Phd and that work experience is more valued than higher qualification. While my friends did get a good R&D positions in companies, many of their colleagues do not have a PhD. Companies will train and retain their good R & D staff. Could u work for the company first, then maybe ask them to sponsor your PhD if you really want to it later?
posted
01-Aug-17, 18:59
edited about 10 seconds later
Avatar for Capt_Toucan
posted about 2 years ago
Quote From GaryMackie:
I have been offered a place on a fully funded 4 year PhD programme (1st year is an MRes) in Energy Demand and the built environment at Loughborough University. I would like to do this, however I am unsure if this would benefit me in an industry career or starting my own company.


First of all, you are in the enviable position of having two attractive options to choose between. Whether you choose to do the PhD, or continue in the start-up company, you have bright opportunities.

I don't know anything about your field of study, but I have been in a similar situation to yours. I had a difficult choice between taking a University degree or taking an offer for an interesting job straight after A-levels. I very much wanted to go to Uni, but realised that the job opportunity was probably a once-in-a-lifetime chance. The degree course would always be there, if the job didn't work out.

Perhaps taking a similar thought process might help with your decision. If you stay working at the company, would there still be PhD opportunities for you in a few years time? If you do the PhD now, are you likely to find another start-up company with the same prospects as this one?
posted
01-Aug-17, 23:42
edited about 53 seconds later
Avatar for Mackem_Beefy
posted about 2 years ago
You're 24. When you come out of the PhD, you will have skills that are transferable to a research career and plenty time to build yourself up again.

I've a PhD ex-colleague whose going great guns back in Thailand on the basis of knowledge gained in designing and understanding wind turbine technology.

Ian
posted
02-Aug-17, 07:16
edited about 20 seconds later
by satchi
Avatar for satchi
posted about 2 years ago
hi gary you have good career prospects but where you are, anything can happen. I see people with permanent jobs being made redundant. If you do that phd, assuming everything is ok, by the time you defend, you'll still only be 29 or 30 at the most and that is plenty of time for career. You have plenty of time and lots of battery! the phd is a good idea.
posted
04-Aug-17, 17:26
edited about 10 seconds later
by Tusco
Avatar for Tusco
posted about 2 years ago
Unfortunately, I believe that if you want to work outside academia, recruiters will always value more previous professional job experiences than a PhD.
Also consider that a PhD is a very specialized piece work, often with a narrow scope, therefore you might learn much less than you think; while the job market doesn't require you to know how to do perfectly something but to be able to handle many different things and projects.
Anyway in your field is a gamble that you can take without risking too much. If you were going to apply for a PhD in the humanities or social sciences (except economics perhaps) I would say stay very clear of a PhD.
I earned one through great pains and now I struggle badly in the job market but mine was in the social sciences.
posted
05-Aug-17, 14:27
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 2 years ago
Quote From tru:
okra, can you apply for R&D position in industry? I do agree with pm133 that networking will help u get d job. But I stand by that it is easier to get in with a master than Phd and that work experience is more valued than higher qualification. While my friends did get a good R&D positions in companies, many of their colleagues do not have a PhD. Companies will train and retain their good R & D staff. Could u work for the company first, then maybe ask them to sponsor your PhD if you really want to it later?


I am not talking about networking.
I am talking about treating finding a job as a full time job in itself.
Experience is not absolutely necessary either - I have changed career more than once without any experience by re-training myself.

What needs to be done to ease the process of finding a job is for people to consider a longer timescale. Target the jobs you want and the employers (of all sizes) who use those skills. Develop a solid understanding of the skills you need well in advance of applying. Then start finding employees of those companies on LinkedIn who are advertising that they work in a related area. Contact them or send them your CV and chances are they will pass it to a hiring manager. In some cases your CV will land on a hirers desk before a job is even advertised or considered. Many companies may even create a role specifically for you if they fear you will end up at their conpetitor.

The major probolem with today's job seekers is that they wait until they need or want a job before doing any of this and then they are in panic mode trying to secure a position before their current contract runs out. Learning to play the long game is the key to success.

Postgraduate
Forum

Copyright ©2018
All rights reserved

Postgraduate Forum

Masters Degrees

PhD Opportunities

PostgraduateForum is a trading name of FindAUniversity Ltd
FindAUniversity Ltd, 77 Sidney St, Sheffield, S1 4RG, UK. Tel +44 (0) 114 268 4940 Fax: +44 (0) 114 268 5766