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Seriously considering going back for a PhD... (Update: and now it's in motion)

post #1 of 78
Thread Starter 

Good/bad idea? I love school, research, etc., and my opportunity costs are relatively low right now (well, sort of, or manageable) one of a couple specific biz fields or econ. (Originally posted in 2010)

 

*************March 2012 UPDATE*******

Can't believe it's been over 1.5 years since I've made this thread. Also can't believe how stupid I was and how little I knew about the academia, but we all have to start somewhere.

It has been a long road, but I'm happy to report that I will be starting in a PhD program sometime this fall. I have worked hard for the last year to make myself into a great candidate, and it has paid off very well for me - I've received multiple offers, including several from programs with fantastic reputation.

I'm nearing the end of the decision-making process and will be choosing which school I will be going to pretty soon. I feel fortunate because I would be happy attending any one of the programs I've been admitted to, so there are plenty of reasons to be excited. At this point I'm finished with the corporate thing - I have done everything from running my own businesses to working in large and small companies, and at this point I need an intellectual challenge that only academia and research can provide. I'm walking away at a high point of my career, and I'm absolutely sure that it's the right choice. It will be interesting to go back to living like a poor grad student (well, kind of) but I can manage, and I doubt that I will have much time to waste on frivolous things anyway.


Edited by Flambeur - 3/29/12 at 3:36pm
post #2 of 78
Big commitment, but kudos to you for seriously considering it.

I know a few people who have just been spat out the end of their PhD's - it dominated their lives for years but the opportunities it will now open up to them will make it well worth it.

I like the economics tilt.
post #3 of 78
In what field?
post #4 of 78
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwilkinson View Post
In what field?

biz or econ
post #5 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flambeur View Post
biz or econ
If you can get into a good school .. with good funding .. go for it.
post #6 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by imschatz View Post
If you can get into a good school .. with good funding .. go for it.
+1 on the funding factor. That needs to be carefully taken into account.
post #7 of 78
Thread Starter 
Explain funding to me. As far as I know, all of the programs in the fields that I am looking at are tuition waiver + fellowship + stipend.
post #8 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flambeur View Post
Explain funding to me. As far as I know, all of the programs in the fields that I am looking at are tuition waiver + fellowship + stipend.
That sounds right to me - not sure if there are better scenarios than that out their in the fields you are pursuing... Anybody else????
post #9 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flambeur View Post
Explain funding to me. As far as I know, all of the programs in the fields that I am looking at are tuition waiver + fellowship + stipend.
Ya .. that'd be a pretty good deal. You should definitely expect tuition waiver, health insurance (if you live in the US) + a stipend big enough to live off of. It might not be great living .. but enough to afford an apartment in student ghetto (or room with another student) and enough to feed yourself.
post #10 of 78
HWta school + GPA cause if it aint Big1 or law or finance Id ont care and ur an idiuot
post #11 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flambeur View Post
Explain funding to me. As far as I know, all of the programs in the fields that I am looking at are tuition waiver + fellowship + stipend.
A thing I'd add .. check with students at the school's you get accepted too. Lots of times they have little "systems" to earn extra money. For example: One of my proff's went to UC Irvine. What they'd do, is once they were finished their courses is they'd be allowed to teach. They'd all sign up to teach a class, then sign up to be each others TA's. So they'd get paid to teach and to TA in one semester. An extra ~$10k on top of their living stipend in a semester sure makes grad school more comfortable.
post #12 of 78
What do you want to do for a career once you've got the PhD? It probably makes more sense to figure that out first before deciding if you need the doctorate.

As a current PhD student, my vote for you is "no".
post #13 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flambeur View Post
Good/bad idea? I love school, research, etc., and my opportunity costs are relatively low right now (well, sort of, or manageable)

one of a couple specific biz fields or econ.
Good idea, IMO, given your love for research and zeal for learning. I'd suggest the following:

- Go to the school that provides an accomplished faculty who are doing research in your areas of interest.

- Make sure that the school will provide you with full multi-year (3-4 years) funding (i.e., tuition, competitive stipend, and insurance). More funding may be available via grants ranging from internal grants for travel and research to federally funded grants.

- Make sure that faculty work with graduate students and share authorship with them on collaborate projects.

- As someone else posted, talk to current graduate students to hear what they say about the program, their quality of graduate student life, and the opportunities made available to them.

- Look at where recent graduates have been placed and the average completion rate for the program.

Take your time and find a school that seems to be the best fit for your interest and ambitions. Good luck!
post #14 of 78
JayJay's note makes a lot of sense. Programs in which everyone competes every year for fellowships are notoriously miserable.

Why are you interested in a PhD? Are you interested in an academic career?
post #15 of 78
Best of luck, and maybe we can commiserate. I just enrolled in Clemson's Educational Leadership PhD. I have a BA in English and MEd in Counseling, and am looking forward to being back in academia.

I have the feeling--and you probably should, too--that it's going to be like going through the BA/BS again, but with much more focus, much less fun on the side, and a heck of a lot of stress.
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