Is it time to give up on PhD aspirations?

posted
21-Jul-19, 18:12
edited about 26 seconds later
by SuleO
Avatar for SuleO
posted about 3 months ago
Hello everyone... So here’s the thing...

Like most academics, I have a type A personality (this will become relevant as you read on).

I have a First Class BSc in Communications from a Nigerian university and a Merit MSc in Marketing from a UK university, and would like to do a PhD in Marketing moving forward. During my BSc and MSc I didn’t know that a PhD was something I wanted to pursue so I wasn’t doing the things that would have made me a solid PhD candidate (experience, networking, etc). It was when I graduated from my MSc program that I finally decided on a career in academia; teaching and/or researching.

So I started applying to PhD programs and quickly realised that I wasn’t a top contender. So I’ve spent time improving myself; working for free as a research assistant for a year, attending seminars and conferences and taking extra courses... just basically strengthening my CV... However, I’ve just received my 14th rejection and it has been two years of nonstop failed applications to universities at every level of the league tables, and in one of my last rejections the university was very blunt and told me that although I did well in my degrees, that I didn’t get them from elite universities and that was the reason for my rejection. At this point there’s nothing I can do about the universities I got my degrees from.

I am also in contact with the careers department at my last university, and upon reviewing my CV they told me that my CV as it stands is competitive enough, and that the problem is probably that I don’t live in any of the countries I am applying to... but I am a citizen of and currently live in a country whose citizens have to fulfil pretty tough visa requirements to immigrate, requirements that I don’t necessarily meet at the moment to be able to go and live in these countries for the sake of applying, plus it’s not really realistic.

Recently I’ve become very aware of the fact that time is flying by and most employers are looking for young employees (where I live employers are allowed by law to, and often do, specify the age range they would like to hire and I will pass that cut off next year). I’m just wondering if maybe I should forget about my academic aspirations and begin pursuing a typical “career”?

I know myself, if I start a career and I’m climbing up that ladder with a goal in sight there’s no getting off even if the PhD comes along later. Any advice will be appreciated, and I’m seeking brutal and honest advice. Thank you.
posted
22-Jul-19, 22:35
edited about 2 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 3 months ago
2 years is a long time waiting and I can understand your frustration but you don't need to do a PhD right now. Getting a "typical" job does not rule you out from applying for a PhD in the future. Sometimes 2-3 years in industry can bolster your CV and make you a better candidate. There are plenty of PhD students who start later in their careers and there is no shame in that. I think you should do what is right for yourself.
posted
30-Jul-19, 00:33
edited about 11 seconds later
by agrew
Avatar for agrew
posted about 3 months ago
What about your research proposal? At least in the UK, you need to have a solid research proposal. And sometimes the proposal has more weight than a CV.
posted
31-Jul-19, 08:56
by SuleO
Avatar for SuleO
posted about 3 months ago
Quote From agrew:
What about your research proposal? At least in the UK, you need to have a solid research proposal. And sometimes the proposal has more weight than a CV.


I think my proposal is good or at least adequate. I mean, I spent three months writing it two years ago and have been revising and fine tuning it ever since, and yes I know this doesn’t mean that it’s any good, but I’ve had other people read it, including my BSc dissertation supervisor, and they thought it was good. I mean, it could be my proposal that’s been the issue, but I haven’t had any specific complaints about it so I don’t think that’s it.

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