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rbp6

MBA vs PhD

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Hey guys, I'm trying to decide between getting my PhD or my MS/MBA cause I really don't wanna try to get both (or I guess this is always an option). I'm going to tell you everything about me and what are my life goals.

 

I have a 3.9 (I had straight A's but then get one D, do you think they'll forgive the D?) GPA in mechanical engineering with a minor in applied math and I'm graduating in 3 years with this being my last year. My plan was either to get my PhD (through a BS-PhD program) straight from here at my school NJIT, or get my masters and MBA. Preferably an MBA at a very good school, such as an Ivy League school.

 

I have a lot of goals in my life and interests which only further complicates my dilemna. I'm going to list them in no particular order.

 

1.) I want to make a lot of money.

2.) I like doing research in materials sciences and particle technology and feel this is what I'd like to work in when my older.

3.) I want to have a respected profession, one that will have a greater impact on the world, which is why im interested in R&D.

4.) I'd like to invest the money I earn into businesses and real estate so that my children and their children will have something started for them that they can build on.

 

Here are things I don't really mind.

 

1.) I don't mind working a lot, hell, I'll take working many many hours a day if it comes with greater pay and prestige.

2.) I dont mind working in high pressure competitive environments.

3.) I really don't mind changing myself or trying to take up new hobbies in order to advance myself through the career world.

 

There are what I call super goals, goals that I will most likely never, ever, come close to achieving, but I think would be sweet to even have a chance at getting to. This is just the way I think, like I always like to set a really, really high impossible goal so that I have something to strive for.

 

1.) Becoming a world renowned researcher with a page in a history book.

2.) Becoming CEO of a large research based corporation.

 

I've been talking to a lot of different people and they all have different advice for me and different outlooks, so it's nearly impossible for me to make a decision, I decided that random people from the net might shoot out some ideas that I could think about.

 

**Quark? Can't I be a self replicating molecule?

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Well, like everything, it depends. If you want to be a CEO and make money, an MBA is the best bet, unless you make a startup company (and the vast majority of those fail, and you'd need to hire business people for them). However, PhD does not preclude rising high in the corp. structure and making good money.

 

For instance, my father is a PhD Chemist who joined a chemical company. Over the years he worked his way up, and because of his PhD he was able to rise higher than most, becoming head of the R&D part of the company and a VP. We aren't filthy rich, but well-off enough from his income that I could feasibly whine 'Daddy, I need grant money for an electromyography setup...' and get it.

 

So I guess it boils down to what you want to do and how much money you want. If you get a PhD, you'll be much more involved in the science aspect and can earn a 6-figure salary. Alternatively, as a CEO, you can earn a salary that best described as 'obscene', but you would have little to no involvement in the science aspect, and would instead be basically doing business management and playing office politics.

 

You have the grades for either, it just depends on which you actually want to do and what your personal priorities are.

 

Mokele

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rbp6, you should get a PhD, get involved in R&D, and become a good investor on the side. You don't necessarily have to be CEO- or real estate-inclined to become wealthy, if you manage both your profession and portfolio really well. Meanwhile you are learning a lot, gaining insights, adding to civilization's knowledgebase, and keeping your brain fresh, even as you do the mundane of researching industries and markets. An MBA, as the prospect sounds much cleaner postdoctoral rather than vice versa, would be much easier to obtain once you have a bunch of professional and investor experience.

 

Regarding the guideline of needing to leave wealth for your children, their children and their children, forget that. As your wealth builds, with more advancements in biotech and nanotech looming, you'll be able to invest in anti-aging and other exotic technologies. You won't need to worry about dying any time soon. Your family doesn't need you dead just to leverage the fruits of your diligence. Plan your life as you would if your maximum life potential is greater than 10,000 years. And don't worry about psychologies not being able to cope with so much life and awareness; that's just another nice challenge for business.

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Supposedly once you get the PhD the job market can turn and bite you.

 

However, if you DO go to Harvard, things will look up for you.

 

Getting a grade of D isn't a very popular thing in Harvard though.

Isn't Harvard liberal arts?

 

I would go to MIT or something like that.

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Supposedly once you get the PhD the job market can turn and bite you.

 

It depends on the market and your major. Sometimes you're seen as 'overqualified' (meaning 'we don't want to pay as much as you cost'), but other times it affords you great opportunity.

 

Isn't Harvard liberal arts?

 

It's everything, from liberal arts to science. For instance, I'm probably going to apply to Lauder's lab there, for organismal biomechanics. MIT is also very good for sciences, of course. A lot of the time, it boils down to who you want to study under. Like if I got accepted, I'd be going for Lauder's lab, not the university as a whole. Who you study under is often just as important or more important than university name recognition.

 

Mokele

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2.) Becoming CEO of a large research based corporation.

CEO's who publish books, how to or management guides, usually have a number of steps (according to Dilbert)

 

1) Start as a mail runner etc

2) Work hard and get minor promotion to mail sorter

 

***large unexplained gap***

 

3) Invest newly acquired millions of dollars in a new company

4) Reap benefits

5) Write 'how to' book

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Thanks for the help guys, I've decided to just stay and and get my doctorate.

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The "expected" path for mucho money is:

Engineering B.S. ==> Engineering job from 3 to X years ==> Executive MBA ===> Business oriented job ==> Retirement in Florida

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I had the same dillema. I come from a somewhat poor family, as we migrated here 16 years ago. My father owns a buisness. I graduated two years early from highscool, and I'm 16 years old. I have 2 years to prepare for college. I want to get a Ph.D in Theoretical Physics at M.I.T. I plan in the 2 following years to take SAT preparation classes, and to take advanced calculus classes. Then, when I go to apply for M.I.T, I have better chances. I have almost 4.0 GPA. My uncle does realsesta and has become VERY RICH doing so. I plan to be a side investor, and make my real fortune doing that. But, dont get me wrong, A Ph.D in Theoretical Physics still pays VERY well.

 

My plan anyhow.

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Well I'm thinking about it, and I'm a pretty young guy, so if I stay and get my PhD directly, maybe I could go to a company and do research for like 3-4 years and than get my MBA after that point.

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Most people in the life sciences industry recommend that you get a postgraduate degree, then try to get a job in industry (you may have to do a postdoc first before appearing as a suitable candidate, though), work for 2-3 years, then get a MBA at the best school that you can get into. Then, you are a 'hot' commodity that companies flock to.

 

It is highly recommended to get a PhD, because there is an invisible 'glass ceiling' in industry when it comes to workers that have a BSc or MSc. The majority of people going through the ranks are those that have PhDs. The reason why they recommend working in the industry for a few years is to obtain experience and know how the system works. Then get a MBA and, you should be a highly sought after candidate.

 

That is what most insiders say. Getting a MBA first or concurently with your PhD is not worth it, accordign to them.

 

Newty

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Correct me if I'm wrong, newty, but is this the path you're recommending?

 

PhD > 2-3 years working > MBA

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Basically. It may be longer than that as you may have to do an industrial postdoc to be a better applicant for industrial-based jobs, and there are not too many of these postdoc positions available. It is not easy, but it is doable. The trick out of all this is to network. Talk to people, know people, talk to people, be recognized for your work, talk to people, and so on. If you are great at networking, then you may even skip the postdoc route and land a industry job after graduation.

 

There are a lot of PhD-MBA graduates out there. If you do go through this route, you will have a leg up on them. It helps if you go to a major recognized university for your MBA as the name, unfortunately, does play a major role in the initial screening of resumes for jobs. For PhD, it is not that important if your ultimate goal is industry.

 

Newty

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Hi,

I have a happy pleasure to see the forum. I am facing a similar sort of problem. I am a PhD chemistry and working in a pharmaceutical R&D center since last three years. While joining PhD I was having a great interest for doing research. However, after being experienced in the industry, I don’t like to remain as a bench scientist any more. I feel I can better utilize my time and work in the management level. I am not interested in doing a postdoc in chemistry any more. I am interested in an MBA. Thank you very much for the forum. Could you please suggest me whether it is the right time for me to plan for a MBA and should i go for a MBA finance ?

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I can only speak for (what I refer to) as "biological sciences", but in most cases, it'll take you 5 years to complete a Ph.D, and then a 2-3 year post-doc to get your foot in the door. Thus, in the context of 8 years, another 2-3 for an MBA isn't that much.

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It's probably not even 2-3 years. Back when I was at a conference in grad school (physics) we had a presentation by some business people who explained that normally the hardest part of an MBA is the math. They loved to recruit physicists, because they already had the math skills. The rest was a crash course, which took ~ 6 months, IIRC, to give them the equivalent of an MBA.

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I can only speak for (what I refer to) as "biological sciences", but in most cases, it'll take you 5 years to complete a Ph.D, and then a 2-3 year post-doc to get your foot in the door. Thus, in the context of 8 years, another 2-3 for an MBA isn't that much.

 

Anthropology's got that beat. The average for a PhD now is 11 years, and it's not unusual at all to see people that spend 15 years in school and another 3 in post-doc before they ever get on the tenure-track.

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It depends on your goals in life. The PhD will make you an expert and would be very desireable in the private or public secotrs.. It also gives you the option of remaining in the university system, where you can teach and/or do research.

 

The MBA helps if your goal is the private sector and you wish to move up the management ladder or to even start your own business down the line. If this your goal, the best way, to get into a top notch MBA program, is to work for 2-4 years and then let the business sponsor you. That lets you know how the industry works and the MBA will create a tailored fit.

 

Most accepted applicants in top MBA programs prefer the age of about a PhD person, but with several years industry experience in lieu of thesis. If you go directly into the MBA, you may never do any bio-work. You could be recruited by a top notch computer industry, for example, and skip right over your undergraduate education.

 

You may vision yourself making a cure for something, but after an MBA you may end up marketing shoes. The pay will be excellent, but you can lose connection to your first love in the process. If your bio-chemical company pays tuition, it become a relationship that creates a continuity up the ladder that combines all that work in three areas of expertise.

 

When I was young I went up to MS and put off the PhD. I wanted to get in the trenches and do some science and get paid well for it. The goal was to work 3-5 years and then go for the MBA. Almost all companies will pay for continuing eduction and some will allow a leave of absence. When you return you have an elevator up the company ladder. I took off in my own direction at the time it was ripe for the MBA and decided to do theoretical science. I wanted to stay in science instead of doing budgets.

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If you want to be a "scientist" then a PhD is the usually expected. What is a MBA?

 

I don't know what it is like elsewhere, but here in the UK a PhD does not mean loads of money in the future as a matter of course. Universities do not pay very well on the whole. For money, banking and finance are attractive prospects. I gather these sectors like to employ people with mathematical skills.

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If you want to be a "scientist" then a PhD is the usually expected. What is a MBA?

 

Masters of Business Administration. They make big bucks, wind up as CEOs, and often on the Board of Directors if they're good.

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Masters of Business Administration. They make big bucks, wind up as CEOs, and often on the Board of Directors if they're good.

 

Or as Presidents of the United States.

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Or as Presidents of the United States.

 

See, I thought that too, but that's why I added, "...if they're good." ;)

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It depends on your goals in life. The PhD will make you an expert and would be very desireable in the private or public secotrs.. It also gives you the option of remaining in the university system, where you can teach and/or do research.

 

The MBA helps if your goal is the private sector and you wish to move up the management ladder or to even start your own business down the line. If this your goal, the best way, to get into a top notch MBA program, is to work for 2-4 years and then let the business sponsor you. That lets you know how the industry works and the MBA will create a tailored fit.

 

Most accepted applicants in top MBA programs prefer the age of about a PhD person, but with several years industry experience in lieu of thesis. If you go directly into the MBA, you may never do any bio-work. You could be recruited by a top notch computer industry, for example, and skip right over your undergraduate education.

 

You may vision yourself making a cure for something, but after an MBA you may end up marketing shoes. The pay will be excellent, but you can lose connection to your first love in the process. If your bio-chemical company pays tuition, it become a relationship that creates a continuity up the ladder that combines all that work in three areas of expertise.

 

When I was young I went up to MS and put off the PhD. I wanted to get in the trenches and do some science and get paid well for it. The goal was to work 3-5 years and then go for the MBA. Almost all companies will pay for continuing eduction and some will allow a leave of absence. When you return you have an elevator up the company ladder. I took off in my own direction at the time it was ripe for the MBA and decided to do theoretical science. I wanted to stay in science instead of doing budgets.

 

Hi Pioneer,

Thank you very much for your detailed suggestion. Your elaboration is going to be very helpful for me in defining specific goal for my future. Can I take liberty to ask you a query related to your professional achievements. I am excited ! Kindly let me know how did you take your career after MS. Did you go for a MBA ?

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Dear All,

I am really happy reading this blog. You people are really very interactive and provide good suggestions.

 

At present, I am in similar type of trouble. I am from Bangladesh and from middle class family. I have completed B.Sc and M.Sc (one year) in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. I appeared GRE and got 1380. But unfortunately I was not accepted by any of the good quality graduate schools for PhD (it is true I have not applied to poor schools). Mean while I was accepted by the top Business school of our country for MBA and I have completed one fourth of it.

 

After considering all I am feeling I should not try for PhD anymore of US graduate schools. I am planning to complete MBA and then join to any of the top biotech companies present in Bangladesh (e.g: GSK, Novarties) and continue my job for two or three years. Then I want to come to USA for a Professional Science Masters degree in Biotechnology (PSM-Biotech). If it is reimbursed by the employer then I have to work for them for a certain period then I want to start my own business. If it is not then I can start my business right then.

 

So the path is:

B.Sc-->M.Sc-->MBA-->Job in Biotech at Management post(2/3 years) --->PSM from USA--->Own business

 

How is it? Your kind suggestion can help me to choose a better life.

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